Work, taking care of children, adjusting to virtual life, cooking, getting enough sleep, paying bills, and keeping up the ever-changing restrictions are just some of the things we do each day, and is it 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:
Create a 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.
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).
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 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 of 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 wants to remind you of emergency numbers if you need it.
Southwest Counseling Service is practicing social distancing and has precautions in place, but remains OPEN during this time.
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
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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