There is nothing more important for mental health than having routines.
Not having routines, at first, can feel exciting. It can feel like you’re “escaping the rat race” — leaving all the monotonous aspects of life behind. But that’s an illusion; those who have done lots of traveling know this well.
When I was going through a rough patch in life, I did a good amount of reading on this topic and took note of what worked for me, and I’d love to share them with you. There is plenty of science behind what makes good routines, but you need to experiment with what works for you.
- Prioritize morning routines Nightly routines are great and have their place in your life, but you should default to having morning routines. The most basic one is making your bed in the morning.
- Eat the same breakfast every day Your breakfast should be healthy and be high in protein. Try not to get distracted while eating breakfast and be as mindful as possible. Put away your devices and any music/noises while eating.
- Be religious with your vitamin intake Taking vitamins, at least for me, is more about the routine rather than their actual benefits. After taking my 4 vitamins in the morning, I feel a micro sense of accomplishment which helps with starting the day.
- Wake up at the exact same time every day I read this one (and #2) in 12 Rules for Life. The time you go to bed and how much sleep you get is secondary to what time you wake up. Pick a time and stick to it (even on the weekends).
- Prioritize consistency over benefits We’ve all had these jolts of motivation to meditate, do yoga, work out, read, journal, work on side projects, wake up at 4 am, etc. But that’s not sustainable if you haven’t eased into it. Maybe you can do it for 2 or 3 days, but you’re going to fall off. Start with straightforward routines and stick to them. You can add more things once your existing routines have been cemented.