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.
Narcissism is a term we often see these days. But what does it mean? It's used to describe a person who is full of themselves or overly vain. However, it's not really about self-love.
What can you do if your kid doesn't want to go back to school? Here are our hints and tips to help if your child is expressing a refusal to go to school.
It happens to everyone at times: we start doubting ourselves. We worry about the decisions and whether we can face future challenges that life has in store. And sometimes we feel that we just aren't good enough.
How to do and have less but enjoy life more? Have you ever stopped to consider the ways in which you can do less with your life and still enjoy it? This articles aims to take a closer look at how you can consume less, do less and work less. Read on for more information.
Do you feel you’re always criticising and judging everyone, yourself included? Do you feel bad about it afterwards? You’re certainly not alone! Read on to discover how you can judge less and start to accept things the way they are.
Learn how to recognise the signs of stress and avoid slipping into a burnout or a bore-out
Can we learn from our mistakes and develop a stronger, healthier emotional bondwith our kids? To help you identify your weak spots, we’ve rounded up some of the most common mistakes parents make.
We simply can’t avoid noticing the changes all around us. Autumn is here... Autumn is also called a transitional season. Slowly and steadily, it prepares us for the transition...Read the complete article
After 25 years in the Bach flower world, we asked ourselves, is now the right time for our own new name? Not only have we grown, but so have you, along with the confidence you have in us. That's why we want to connect ourselves to our own name. That name is Mariepure.
Forgiving someone isn't very easy, especially when you're hurt. Yet it is important to learn to forgive. Why and how? Read on and get to know.Read the complete article
Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.