Routines play a very important part in keeping my mental health in check. Without them, it is easy to become overwhelmed and have mental health challenges. Without them, my stress levels rise, and my life becomes more chaotic.
Researchers have found that routine can have far-reaching psychological benefits, including alleviating bipolar disorder, ADHD, and insomnia. Here’s how.
Our bodies function better when they have a natural rhythm to follow. If we eat, sleep and exercise at the same time each day, it not only improves productivity but improves our mental health. Why? Our mind loves patterns and routines. In fact, it relies on them to quickly process all the information that it collects in a day. Our brain recognises the patterns and uses them to regulate our daily processes. It is the brains way of clearing mind clutter. Help your brain out. Develop a routine.
Having a routine gives your life structure. If you are in the middle of a mental health crisis that structure can help you feel that life is more manageable. Having the structure on an everyday basis can give you the calm and time to focus on the things that improve your mental health. And being able to tackle these everyday tasks in a structured and routine way, knowing you can get them done, builds confidence. It might be something that sounds simple. Like, stacking the dishwasher each night. If you have ever suffered depression you know there are some days that stacking the dishwasher seems like climbing a mountain. By building it into your daily routine, even on the hard days, you are more likely to get it done. Fuelling a sense of accomplishment and helping to improve your mental health.
Good sleep patterns are essential for good mental health. When your mind is racing, or you are feeling anxious it is essential to have enough sleep. If you are depressed it is important that you don’t oversleep. Schedules and routines can help here. Waking up and going to bed at the same time helps your body to develop a rhythm that induces sleep and wake cycles. And having a routine before going to bed can lead a better night’s sleep – deeper and more settled.
A huge bonus of having routines: you have more time to do what makes you fulfilled. To follow your passion. Make your passion part of your routine then too. If you like to paint and it helps to settle your unquiet mind, put painting on your schedule and make it a habit.
No one needs to be a slave to their routine. But there is a lot of research to suggest that having routines and schedules improves your mental health, productivity and enjoyment of life. For me all those things are true. Design your own routines. One’s that work for you and give it a go.
Good mental health to all,