Tips for establishing a routine
Get into the habit
Routines can improve health, wellness, and happiness by way of structure and organization - specifically, it can aid:
- Mental health: A routine brings a level of structure to your busy life which can help keep your stress and anxiety levels down. When you have high-stress levels, it can lead to burnout and health issues like heart disease.
- Productivity: With routine, comes better organization and time management, which means you’re able to be more productive.
- Sleep: Lack of routine often results in a lack of sleep, which can lead to headaches or migraines.
- Overall health: Believe it or not, a routine (or lack of one) not only impacts the quality of your sleep, but also your overall well-being: mental function, emotional and physical well-being, as well as your energy levels.
Routines often have a bad rep of being boring and mundane but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that - they can be fun too. From morning routines, to daily things to do, to nighttime rituals, read on for tips on how to establish routines that you can stick to.
If you’re among the many who find it hard to get out of bed, we definitely feel your pain but establishing a routine in the mornings can help you avoid the dread of when it comes time to rise and shine. Starting the day off on the right note helps set you up for a productive day.
Try waking up a few minutes earlier to give yourself time to meditate or simply slowly ease into the day.
A routine is good anytime but more so this year with many of us working from home. It can be easy for work and personal life to blur together, and a routine will provide that much-needed separation.
- Make a to-do list: this one is not that ground-breaking and is probably on the top of every productivity list but a to-do list really will help you organize your day. Break tasks out into manageable chunks so they’re realistic and feasible. Include things that you should be doing daily like working out or going for a walk so that you get into the habit of doing them.
- Develop a schedule: This one will be especially helpful for those working from home. Put things such as lunch or coffee breaks into your schedule so you don’t get into the habit of skipping meals. Breaks also help boost your concentration and improve your mental health.
- Plan your day strategically: Everyone is different but try to organize your day so that you knock out your tasks that require more brainpower or creativity in the morning and then the afternoon, where your energy dips a bit, is when you complete some of the more mundane tasks like responding to emails, running errands, or making appointments.
Evening routine (Nighttime rituals)
A routine helps signals to the brain that it’s time to prepare for sleep.
- Prep for the next day: Get your outfit, lunch, breakfast, gym bag ready so you don’t have to scramble or worry about it in the morning.
- Wind down your day: The brain prepares for sleep about two hours before our actual bedtime so start prepping an hour or two before you’re going actually going to go to sleep by doing something you enjoy or find relaxing like reading or watching TV.
- However, avoid too much screen time right before bed. Try not to scroll on Instagram until you pass out. The blue light from devices like your phone or an iPad negatively impact sleep quality. Blue light exposure before bed can disrupt the melatonin rhythm (what helps us fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed).
- Indulge in some self-care: This can be as simple as doing your elaborate skincare routine or using gua sha. Whatever self-care looks like to you, incorporate it into your nightly rituals.
- Take a warm bath: It’s easier to fall asleep when your body temperature is cooler. A good hack to trigger a drop in your body temperature is to raise it a few hours earlier by taking a warm bath. When your body senses the increase in core temp, it’ll respond by cooling it down, just in time for bed.
- Go to bed at the same time each time: When you go to sleep isn’t as important as sufficient and consistent sleep - yes, unfortunately, that means the same time on the weekends as well. Sleeping in on the weekends can cause insomnia as it disrupts your consistency and may lead to insomnia.
Lastly, routines are meant to be habits, which means you should do them consistently, so try your best to stick with it! It’s ok to be flexible from time to time and remember to not be so hard on yourself. Some people need a few weeks or even a couple of months for their bodies to truly cement a routine.