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The Healthy Habit of Routine

RoutineRoutines may not sound exciting, but having some established daily rituals can be one of the best steps to take for your own physical well being, as well as your mental health. Routine provides a sense of structure and familiarity. It gives your life structure so you wake up with a sense of ownership, order, and organization in your life. In an unpredictable world, routines help us feel more stable, competent and in control.

Research suggests that routines keep us happier. When we consciously decide what we want to do with every day of our lives, we generally want to do what makes us happy or what gives us the most utility.

Routines, of course, keep us healthier because they make us consciously eat better, exercise more frequently, sleep more soundly. For example, if you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, you’ll find you no longer need an alarm clock. Your body just gets to know what to expect and wakes up at the appropriate time.

We often hear children say things like, “But we always get ice cream when we go for a walk!” This is because routines are extremely good for children. Routines help kids feel safe and secure because they know that certain things happen at certain times. When they know what’s expected, children are generally more cooperative. Through repetition routines build independence from a very young age.

Routines like sending birthday cards, wishing each other best wishes, saying you’re sorry when someone is facing a crisis – these all help cement relationships with families and friends.

Here are the many ways a routine can give you a healthy start this New Year!

Sleep Routine Your daily routine influences your quality of rest. Better sleep leaves you refreshed. Set a sleep schedule with specific bedtime habits. You’ll increase your mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being and energy levels.

Facing the day Set a morning routine once you get out of bed. Stretch. Take a few deep breaths. Draw the curtains and let in the light. Have a drink of warm lemon water to gently cleanse your palate and wake up your digestion. Head for the shower.

Exercising Set a time and stick with it. If the mind knows there will be exercise each day at the same time, there will be no internal argument about exercising.

Healthy breakfast Your morning sets the tone for the day. Whether it is porridge, a smoothie, whole grain muffins – pick what you like and stick with it.

Daily meditation This might be traditional meditation or just 5 or 10 minutes to take a quiet break outside and breathe deeply. Make it part of your lunch routine.

Bedtime routine Create a bedtime routine where you do the same activities in the same order each evening: turn off the back door light, put away electronic devices, wash your face, brush and floss your teeth, take any required medications, read before you fall asleep, etc.