There’s so much in life that’s out of our control, especially considering recent events like the global pandemic. And not being in control can create high levels of stress and anxiety.
That’s why I believe it’s essential to have a daily routine – a basic structure of activities or tasks you will complete throughout the day – to help you feel in control of your daily life and reduce uncertainty.
Below are three key reasons why you need a daily routine, as well as tips for how you can create a daily routine of your own:
1. A daily routine is good for your health & stress levels
We often become stressed if we have multiple decisions to make throughout the day, even if it’s as simple as what we’re going to eat or wear. The “fear of the unknown” can be crippling and impact our mental health.
When you’re prepared and have a set plan for how you’ll attack the day (thanks to your daily routine), you ease your stress levels. And less stress can actually decrease your risk of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
2. You’re more productive throughout the day
A daily routine means that you know exactly what to expect from your day. You can then better focus on tasks that you need to complete rather than trying to decide what to do next.
A daily routine also helps with your sleep, impacting your ability to be productive the next day. By going to bed around the same time every day, you improve your quality of sleep each night since your body is programmed to rest for a set number of hours.
3. You develop positive habits
When you continue to perform the same routine every day, you turn tasks and activities into habits — habits that can have long-term benefits.
For example, take exercise. Maybe you decide to get up each morning and dedicate 30 minutes to ride your bike. At first, it will be tough to stick to this plan. But as you continue to exercise, the activity will become a set part of your lifestyle (aka a subconscious habit). Regular exercise then helps you feel better physically and mentally.
By creating positive habits like this, you’re also less worried about what you need to accomplish each day since activities and tasks are already built into your day to day.
Tip: Create a healthy morning routine, afternoon routine, and night routine
For my own daily routine, I find it helpful to follow the same basic structure each day in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night (although I may change it up from time to time to avoid monotony).
Your routine doesn’t have to be rigid. Instead, decide on a general, overall plan for how you’ll conduct your day and add predictability.
For example, set blocks of times for different activities such as when you will wake up each morning, when you will eat, when you will exercise (e.g. workout mid-afternoon), and when you will go to bed.
Also build in “time to relax” such as spending time on side projects or chatting with friends. I also recommend adding healthy activities into your routine such as a skincare night routine before going to bed.
Here are a few ideas to help you create your own routine:
- Get up at the same time each morning
- Eat at regular intervals
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes
- Make time for activities you enjoy in the evening
- Complete a morning and nightly skincare routine
- Go to bed before midnight
Tip: Your routine is supposed to be a guideline. If you miss an item in your routine from time to time, don’t stress about it! A routine is supposed to ease your anxiety, not make things worse.
Tip: Develop a daily routine that works for you
Creating and sticking with a daily routine takes practice and you should develop one that works for you. But the results are worth it. You’ll feel more energized and in control of your day, no matter what is happening in the world around you.