Why is it good to have a routine?
When it comes to our lives, everyone has their own preferences on how to do things. What we do, where we carry things out, and how we do them comes from our lived experiences and individual opinions. However, when things go wrong or we need some stability to ground ourselves and perhaps take a moment to focus on our lives, having a routine is commonly spoken about as being vital. I think it’s interesting to understand just why this little piece of advice is so crucial, and how it can have a huge impact on the way we all go about our lives and ultimately how we feel about ourselves.
In a world of uncertainty, there are ways that we can ensure that some kind of normality is at least attempted to be adhered to. In recent months, especially, having a routine has been key to many people being able to have a good day. The global pandemic has impacted on a huge amount of people either directly or indirectly, but for many it has changed the way they work, and how they fill their time. When such restrictions and changes occur, it is always important to remember the things that can be controlled in our lives when we may be surrounded by many things that can’t be. This is where having a routine becomes very important.
When people don’t have anything to get up for, like a job for example, staying in bed all the time can become an easy way of passing the time, amongst other things. Every once in a while it could be seen as being a part of relaxing and getting some much earned rest, but it can also easily become a coping mechanism and a way of hiding away from the world. It is also not a very productive way to use our time, so this is where having a routine can be a big help. Research has consistently shown that having a routine can have an important role in our mental health, for example it can help better manage stress and anxiety.
A routine is defined as being a usual or fixed way of doing things, and routines are different for everyone as they are dependent on individual ways of life. However, they all have one thing in common – they allow for time to be filled and have purpose given to it. It may not always be immediately apparent what that purpose is, but doing something always has some purpose no matter how small it is. The feeling of achieving something, even if it is just getting out of bed and getting dressed, shouldn’t be underestimated or forgotten about.
The benefits of having a routine include feeling more productive and more focused, but it can also lower stress levels. Having a routine can allow for people to take better care of themselves as it can help them form good daily habits and in turn to take better care of their health. An interesting example of this is that by having a routine, the tasks that need to be undertaken can be completed, which then allows for more time to be used for healthy behaviours such as taking exercise. Such free time could also be consumed by completing enjoyable activities and hobbies – some things which can often be neglected, but have a positive impact on our mental health.
It’s fascinating that one small aspect of our lives has the potential to impact upon what we do and how we feel in ourselves in such a big way. I think it’s important to understand that when life can change, the way we deal with that change can make a huge difference. In a world of uncertainty, we always have the ability to create some kind of certainty for ourselves which can make such a difference in how we cope with whatever we encounter.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons) Cert HE
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