We are creatures of habit and in recent years, there has been a considerable amount of psychological research on the important role that routines play in our lives. We all follow routines to some extent and they have far-reaching effects on our mental and physical well being.
Habits such as going for a run every morning or flossing your teeth every night will improve your physical health, for sure. But routine is also good for our mental health: by following routines, we have fewer decisions to make. Creating a natural rhythm to your day reduces stress and anxiety and frees up mental space for creativity and innovation.
However, there’s nothing innately good or innately bad about routines. Whether they have a positive or negative effect on you will depend on your character and personality. Some people find following a routine too strictly feels stifling and can lead to missed opportunities. If you’re reflecting on the influence on your everyday habits, here’s a rundown of the positive and negative aspects of routines.
Because routines are repetitive and predictable they help us to take control of our day, calming us and reducing stress and anxiety.
Set your alarm so that you have plenty of time for exercise and/or early morning tasks before you have to leave for work. Don't jump from one job to another but create a daily schedule and stick to it. This frees up mental space and you’ll waste less time and energy.
Sticking to a regular, predictable routine allows you to save your mental energies for making big decisions. Whether you’re planning to apply for a new job or move house, routines give you the brain space you need to focus on deciding what’s right for you.
Good sleep hygiene starts with your bedtime routine. Switch off all your screens at least an hour before bedtime and try to avoid stressful TV shows and news programmes late at night.
Try meditating for a few minutes or read something light. Some people find that taking a warm bath just before bedtime helps them to sleep: by raising your body temperature and then allowing it to drop back to normal, you are mimicking what your body does as you fall asleep. By getting to sleep on time, you will wake up energised, refreshed and ready to tackle whatever your day has in store.
With a hectic family schedule, it can be difficult for families to spend much time together. Creating a routine of eating dinner together every evening - and clearing up afterwards - is an excellent way to give you and your family time and space for chatting and catching up on the day’s events.
Once you have established a regular, predictable schedule, you’ll find you have more time for doing the things you really love. Whether gardening, reading, an exercise class, or just an evening walk with your partner, your favourite activities will also become part of your everyday routines.
Following regular habits can indeed help to reduce anxiety, but following strict routines isn’t good for everyone. Adhering too strictly to a routine can sometimes lead to a drop in creativity and becoming stuck in a rut.
When you’ve established a routine, things can crop up unexpectedly that will prevent you from following it. This can lead to reduced motivation and productivity than if you had been following a more flexible schedule.
When you turn down an invitation to something you’d like to do because you feel compelled to stay in and catch up with your favourite TV programmes, you know you’ve got into a rut. Sticking to a routine too rigidly can lead to missed opportunities.
Many of our habits and routines are not good for us. For some people, it’s a cigarette break, for others, chocolates or cake mid-afternoon, or a beer or glass of wine after work - or maybe all three! If you’re trying to cut back, breaking the old habit is the hardest part. It can take up to three weeks to rewire the brain to accept a new routine, so don't give up too quickly.
Most of us benefit from routine in our lives. If you feel more routine would be helpful to you, take a pen and paper and note down your daily activities over a week, and see what you can reduce or cut out.
Then work out a new routine that will fit in with your lifestyle and personality. It’s no good setting yourself the goal of getting up with the lark to go for a run if you’re a night owl, as it probably won’t be something you can persist with for very long.
Once you’ve created your new routine, it should be like second nature after just a few weeks. But if something doesn’t work for you, don't be afraid to make changes.
When we’re stuck in a bit of a rut, the days and nights slip past so quickly that we barely notice them. But life is not a rehearsal!
As nice as it is for a person to celebrate New Year, it's not so nice for a dog, especially when the loud fireworks go off the whole night. This is really frightening for many dogs. Read our 7 tips on how you can help your dog with his fear of fireworks.
Have you considered yoga? There are many advantages to practicing yoga. It is a holistic practice benefitting you physically, emotionally & mentally.
If you're worried that the world is changing too fast, you're not alone: technology is constantly developing, and it can be challenging to keep up with all the changes. As a result, many people - not just the older generations - feel anxious that they might get left behind.
Do you suffer from a disorder known as "musturbation"? This term was first coined in the 1950s by psychotherapist Albert Ellis and described the way a negative inner voice rules our minds and bludgeons us with words such as "must", "should", and "ought".
For many people, 2020 has been one of the worst years they can remember. The COVID -19 pandemic and social unrest have changed our lives in ways we would not have believed possible a year ago. And when January 2021 comes around, we're still likely to be facing many challenges. Can 2021 be a better year?Read the complete article
Feel like everyone takes you for granted? Whether it's working late to prepare a presentation or cooking a special birthday meal for your partner, it's nice to be appreciated when you've made an extra effort. And if it seems as if people don't notice, you might feel as if no one values you.Read the complete article
Lynn Anderson told it very nicely in her song “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden”. Life isn’t all roses and everybody experiences something they would rather not once in their life.Read the complete article
According to figures from the World Health Organisation, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And it's not only adults who are diagnosed with this illness. Children as young as three or four years old can experience depression.
While you often hear people joking that they have OCD because they like to keep their house clean and tidy, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a distressing and debilitating mental health condition with a wide range of symptoms.
Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.