Healthy Routines Are Just What We Need

Honor your mental health as a part of your health. It's so important.
Healthy Routines Are Just What We Need

Work, taking care of children, adjusting to virtual life, cooking, getting enough sleep, paying bills, and keeping up with the ever-changing restrictions are just some of the things we do each day, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.


It may feel impossible to get through your to-do list and take care of yourself, but it is especially important to create space in your day to take care of you.

By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of our to-do lists and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard.

Here are some suggestions for creating healthy routines:

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CREATE THE ROUTINE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

We don’t all have the same schedules or responsibilities. All healthy routines should include eating a nutrition-rich diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep, but no two routines will be exactly the same.

START SMALL

Changing up your day-to-day routine all at once probably won’t end up with lasting results. Pick one small thing each week to work on. It could be adding something new and positive, or cutting out a bad habit. Small changes add up.

ADD TO YOUR EXISTING HABITS

You probably already have some habits worked into your routine, like drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. Try adding new healthy habits to existing ones. For instance, if you want to read more, you could set aside ten minutes to read while you have your coffee (instead of drinking it while browsing social media).

Fast Facts

  • When it comes to diet, sleep and exercise, having good, strong routines is linked to improved mental and physical health.1
  • People with more daily routines have lower levels of distress when facing problems with their health or negative life events.2 
  • It takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic (a habit), but for some people it can take as long as 8 1⁄2 months.3   Don’t give up!

PLAN AHEAD

When life gets hectic, you may be tempted to skip out on the new parts of your daily routine. By doing things like prepping meals ahead of time, picking out an outfit the night before work, you help set yourself up for success even when you’re hurried.

MAKE TIME FOR THINGS YOU ENJOY

Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, set aside time to do something you find and fun or relaxing—it will release chemical messengers in your body that are good for your physical and mental health.

REWARD YOURSELF FOR SMALL VICTORIES

Set goals and celebrate when you reach them. Have you added exercise to your weekly routine and worked out every day as planned for the last couple weeks? Treat yourself! Watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see or try out that new video game.

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP IF YOU MISS A DAY

Making life changes can be hard and you might forget to do something that is new to your routine every once in a while. You don’t have to be perfect, just try to do better the next day


Southwest Counseling Service and Sweetwater County Prevention want to remind you of the following resources:

Together WE can make it through this.

Southwest Counseling Service on-call services are available and operating 24 hours-7 days a week: (307) 352-6677

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Sources 

  • Haines, J., McDonald, J., O’Brien, A., Sherry, B., Bottino, C., Scmidt, M.E., Taveras, E.M. (2013) Healthy habits, happy homes: randomized trial to improve household routines among pre-school-aged children. JAMA Pediatrics, 167,1072-1090. 
  • Williams, J. (2000) Effects of activity limitation and routinization on mental health. The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 20,100S-105S. 
  • Lallly, P., Van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W., Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40, 998-1009.

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