If there’s anything the body loves more than the refreshing taste of water, good food, sleep and sunlight, it’s routine, and the urge to follow patterns extends throughout every aspect of daily life.
A routine is a set of activities that are done regularly at a specific time of day or in a particular order, and the wonderful thing is that this can really apply to anything, such as waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, to meal times, exercise routines and work schedules.
While some may view routines as dull, restrictive or monotonous, the power of a routine has been shown to increase productivity, reduce stress and improve overall well-being; bringing numerous benefits to both physical and mental health.
This blog explores the many benefits of maintaining a routine and why this has the power to positively impact major aspects of life whenever and wherever it’s applied.
Routines for the right results
If you’re in need of some quick shots of inspiration to drive you to adopt a new routine or revisit an existing one, here are some of our favourite reminders:
Routines increase productivity
A set routine outlines exactly what needs to be done and the time available for the task to be completed. For anyone that struggles with the common problem of procrastination, a routine can equip you with a new wave of productivity and efficiency.
Assigning tasks to specific times within the day increases the likelihood of completing them efficiently, which is precisely what effective time management requires. In this way, routines also eliminate moments of wondering what to do next, or where to start, thus overcoming a major barrier in procrastination.
Routines improve sleep
As we mentioned at the beginning, the body has an innate ability to follow patterns and will do so in any setting or application, especially when it comes to sleep.
While modern life remains very much a go-go, following a sleep routine allows the body to thrive on consistency when it needs it the most. In this way, having a set bedtime and wake-up time can help regulate the sleep pattern.
By sticking to a consistent sleep routine, we can train our bodies to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day, which can lead to better-quality sleep and more restful nights.
Routines reduce stress
With as many as 76 per cent feeling more stressed than ever this year, the relationship between stress and physical and mental health has never been more strained, having a detrimental impact on how life and everything in it are perceived.
Above all, routines have a powerful ability to deliver structure and stability to a day. By having a routine, we can reduce stress by creating structure and predictability in our lives. We know what to expect each day, and this can help us feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Additionally, practising a routine is an excellent way to better prioritise and manage time, reducing the stress of feeling like having too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Routines optimise physical health
Working out is a great way to enjoy many of the body-positive benefits we’ve talked about so far, including better sleep, more focused energy and less stress, but applying a rounded routine to the need to exercise is the best way to bring all these benefits together.
Although it can be challenging to find the time and motivation to exercise, allocating specific times for physical activity within your daily routine can create a sense of commitment and familiarity to promote physical wellness. Routines help to place working out with better foundations during the busy day.
This also works with the body’s natural restorative rhythms, very much in the same way to sleep, in that it can anticipate when muscle strain is going to happen and prepare for the best outcome.
Routines restore mental health
The stability of our environment, whether affected by financial difficulties, dysfunctional home life, illness, or other factors, plays a significant role in our mental health. One of the defining features of a mental health decline is a lack of motivation and an inability to complete seemingly ordinary tasks.
By providing structure, a routine works to alleviate the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression, and can help your mental health to move forward and into a brighter frame of mind. A routine recaptures that strong sense of self-control and can provide a sense of fulfilment and happiness when engaging in activities, like spending time with loved ones, on a regular and set basis.
Routines encourage healthy habits
The daily schedule lists an abundance of daily habits, yet not all of them are going to be great. In reality, this might include things like too much screen time, forgetting to take out the rubbish or indulging in the odd cigarette from time to time.
If you are trying to break free from certain customs or want to establish new habits, creating a routine can set everything in motion and help you achieve your goals. Following a pattern weaves habits into the fabric of everyday life.
If you’re trying to cut down your screen time, for example, dedicate a space in the day that’s totally digital-free, or if you’re trying to eat more apples, why not have one every day with your breakfast? The benefits of a routine are widespread, and they’re surprisingly easy to implement; leading us to our next talking point:
How to create a good routine
Getting into a routine involves several steps, with variations depending on individual needs and preferences. When it comes to actually starting one, there are a few good tricks you should know about.
Identify your goals - Realise what you want to achieve and create a clear picture for you to determine the focus of your routine.
Determine your priorities - Once you’ve identified your goals, pinpoint the tasks or activities that are going to be the most critical in achieving those goals. Know exactly what area of your habits you’ll be addressing, and those that you’ll be addressing first.
Map out a schedule - Using your goals and priorities, plan a schedule that outlines the tasks or activities you’ll need to do each day while working around the other elements on your to-do list.
Be consistent - We know it’s a little cliché, but keeping consistency is key when it comes to routines. Stick to your allotted time the best you can and try not to deviate; this will make it easier to stick to the routine over time.
Go through changes - Nothing’s ever set in stone, and your new routine might need a little adjusting here and there as time goes on and you become more familiar with your new habit.
Don’t give up - Lastly, keep motivated and try to stick to your routine as much as possible. It’s really good to track new progress and to reward yourself when you cross new milestones.
In conclusion, practising a routine offers numerous benefits, such as increasing productivity, reducing stress, and creating a sense of accomplishment.
By setting clear priorities, creating a schedule, and staying consistent, you can establish healthy habits that will help you achieve success in all areas of your day.
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