These are indeed stressful and unpredictable times. Visiting friends and family is out. We can’t go out to catch a movie or enjoy a nice meal. Aside from the occasional trip to the grocery, we’re pretty much homebound. One thing that can bring a semblance of sanity is creating and sticking to a routine.
Benefits of Creating a Routine
Routines don’t have to be, well, routine. They can be fun. In fact, creating and sticking to routines offers health benefits that include:
- Reduced stress levels. No routines can leave you overwhelmed with worry about when you can get everything you need done. Creating a routine makes it easier to accomplish your tasks and leaves more time for you to relax, which reduces stress.
- Better sleep. When you’re not staying awake worrying about what didn’t accomplish, you sleep better, which makes you feel more refreshed.
- Better health. Setting aside time for exercise, eating breakfast, and taking breaks makes you feel better, which improves your overall health and well-being.
- Creating structure. By creating a framework for how you live and conduct your life, you become comfortable with what you have to do each day. More doing, less planning.
- Prioritization. Creating routine forces you to determine to prioritize what’s important to you, which makes it easier for you to accomplish your goals. If you want to be healthier, for example, adding exercise to your routine makes it happen.
- Reducing procrastination. When tasks are incorporated into a routine, there’s a better chance that they’ll get done. Whether it’s yoga or cleaning your house, once you work those tasks into a routine, you stand a better chance of accomplishing what you want or need to do.
- Saving time. By following a routine, you free up valuable time that would otherwise be spent catching up. That leaves more time for you to do what makes you happy.
How to Create a Daily Routine
In order to create a routine, you have to know what you’re spending your time doing every day. Here are some things you can do to help create and maintain a daily routine:
- Record what you do on a typical day. Write it down. At the end of the day you’ll have a list showing exactly what you did that day. This may take a few days to accomplish as some days are less common than others.
- Reduce or remove unwanted activities. Look at your list and determine which activities you want to do more or less of. Cross the ones that aren’t beneficial to you off the list. Move on.
- Turn your day into a schedule. Allot times for the activities you want to accomplish and put them on your schedule or calendar. Knowing how long each activity will take can help you make a realistic schedule. Don’t worry about the order in which you do the activities but try your best to get them done.
- Make enough time for sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep to remain alert and high functioning. Going to bed the same time every night and waking up at the same time will give you the energy to accomplish all the tasks on your list.
- Make time for breaks. This is important. Always schedule at least one 30-60-minute break during your day to eat lunch, go for a walk, or anything else that energizes you. Also build in some time for interruptions, which are common, especially if you’re at home dealing with kids during these stressful times.
- Give your new routine a test drive. Do your best to follow it to a tee and, if you don’t, write down what, if anything, you did differently.
- Make changes based on your experience. What went as expected? What took longer than you thought? Was your schedule realistic? Creating a successful routine can take some time but knowing what worked and what didn’t is a crucial step.
- Repeat until you’ve got a routine that works. Maintaining your routine regularly will make it easier to make adjustments that will help you stay on track.
Make Healthy Happen
Use Baptist Health’s COVID-19 Symptom Checker to Get the Answers You Need When You Need Them
Need More Information About What You Can Do to Reduce Stress?
Creating a routine will help reduce stress for you and your family, but if you need more information about how to stay calmer during these unpredictable times, read our blog on Coping with Coronavirus Stress.