Does Routine Help Mental Health? – Bath Mind

To-do lists, order, a routine to follow – the things that help keep me on top of my emotions. Stressing about what needs to be done, sleeping in, chaos and avoiding – the things I’m ALSO guilty of doing despite knowing the above.

The days where I wake up, get up, make a list of what needs doing and actually leave my flat are the days where I’ve found my mental health to (typically) be the most manageable. Before getting a job, I had over a month of free time to kill. Unsurprisingly, I had no routine whatsoever. I was sleeping away the morning and pondering about at 1 am. Just because I could.

I’ve known for quite some time that routine is what helps me manage the anxiety. But, I am human and I do fall off the wagon from time to time just like anybody else. During that month, I had days where I’d wake up at a reasonable time, make a to-do list for the day and get lots done – even if it was something as simple as doing a wash. Equally, I had days where not a lot got done. The difference in my state of mental well-being was honestly huge.

Since starting a new job where I’m working 8.30 am to 5 pm, 5 days a week, I’ve seen the best improvement in my mental health. Am I tired as hell? Yes. But I can finally get to sleep before 11 pm! Simply having a routine in which you can stick to really helps you feel a lot more “in control”, in a healthy way. It enables a sense of stability and truly lifts your mood.

An article published by Psychology Today stated that “…when we organise ourselves and know what to expect, it’s easier to actively work towards counteracting the thoughts and symptoms” of mental health conditions.

So, how do you start up a routine?

The example I’ve used here of course, is a job but having a sense of routine can be achieved through a variety of activities.

  • Plan your morning and/or your evening. Set up a routine e.g. an exercising regime, meditating, watching a programme of your choice, reading a chapter of your book.
  • Write a to-do list for the day. Include things that need to be done but don’t forget to include things you WANT to do e.g. leisurely activities.
  • Set yourself a difficult goal for the day when possible e.g. leaving the house. Now this can sound silly to some however, many of us (including myself on bad days) find leaving the house or other day-to-day tasks to be quite daunting.
  • Wake up early. A lie-in is amazing from time to time but setting aside days in the week where you get up before a certain time helps instil a sense of routine and increases productivity levels.

If you’re reading this and you find that you worry a lot about the future, I came across this the other day and it really helped a lot-

“You have exactly enough energy for just one day at a time, remember that”

If you have any queries or would simply like to get in touch, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Ciao for now x

Please check out my posts on Thought Catalog!

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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