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Whether you are adjusting, re-adjusting, or trying to maintain your routine currently, it is important that you have something to build from.

Routine is something we all have, we may have routines based on environments, circumstances, or other factors.

For instance, this month a lot of children were returning to school, therefore children, teachers and parents alike are returning to their ‘school routine’.
This means that they are consciously switching their actions and behaviours towards something specific.
How many of us have a work routine?
Leaving the house at a certain time, having certain things for lunch or feeling in a certain mood, is your Friday mood different to your Monday mood?

What about a holiday routine?
This may be the most noticeable routine as your complete behaviours switch to your environment.
This may mean getting up earlier than usual, eating foods you would not normally have for breakfast.
If you are in an all-inclusive hotel there is a high chance you will be eating food you may not normally eat daily, your fruit intake may go up, you may stay better hydrated (as after all, you’ve paid for it, so why wouldn’t you make the most of it?)
You may take some books with you to read, or just pop some headphones in and listen to music for hours on end.
Now ask yourself, how many of these behaviours do you do in your everyday life.

Do you make yourself a fruit-based breakfast every morning?
Do you go for a swim every day?
Do you spend time everyday to yourself, relaxing?
Chances are, the answers to all these things are no.
So then, why is this the case?
Well, the easiest answer is that it is not your normal daily routine.

What is stopping you from having this as your daily routine?
Okay, you may not live in a holiday destination but your daily routine can be what you make of it.
Sure, we all have responsibilities that may be put on hold whilst you’re relaxing on a beach, but ultimately routine comes from the regular occurrence of actions.

What happens then, if this foundation of a routine is removed?
All actions and thought processes pinned to this routine may disappear leading to unhealthy habits or poor decision making.

Think of it like building Jenga, you can stand with five bricks in your hands, but it does not matter how many well intentioned bricks you wish to lay, the foundation is the most important part.
If you do not build this strong enough, ultimately it will all come crashing down.

Routine is our foundation - Without it, it is difficult to build on anything at all.

Routines help to give us structure and efficiency. Over time this leads to momentum to be productive.

Research has found that people with routines are more likely to have a higher sense of purpose in life.

Routine can help people better manage stress and anxiety with the following benefits:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Form good daily habits
  • Take better care of your health
  • Help you feel more productive
  • Help you feel more focused

Routines can also provide the opportunity to prioritise and ensure time for things that matter most to you in life. Whether this be spending time with family or friends, staying healthy or doing hobbies you enjoy.

Find what works for you.

 

Here are some ways to improve your routine or to start a new, healthier one:

Have a healthy start to the day!

  • Try and get daylight into the room as soon as you can, this will wake you up and make you feel alert (science says so).
  • Ensure you have a breakfast that is going to fuel you for the day, this may prevent you from having mid-morning slumps and making bad choices later in the day. Think wholegrains, low sugar muesli, yoghurt and fruit. Or perhaps scrambled egg on wholegrain toast.

Create a Structure

  • This may be a daily to do list, planning your ‘workday’ or planning your food for the day.
  • Try and plan your meals and snacks into your day to improve your chances of making good choices that help to fuel you throughout.

Exercise

  • This is important in anyone’s routine to ensure you are getting the physical activity you need to keep you physically healthy, but also mentally.
    Physical activity can improve mood, energy levels and productivity, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
    This may be in the form of a daily walk, structured exercise or even doing the housework/gardening.

Sleep

  • Aiming to get as near to the recommended 7-9 hours’ sleep is vital to ensure you are functioning as well as possible in your day.
    Fatigue can lead to mood swings, poor mental health, reduced productivity, and motivation.
  • It is important to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, this will help you to set a regular bedtime schedule. Winding down is also a critical stage in preparing for bed, you can do so by reading a book or doing some relaxing stretching.

Find balance

  • It is important to remember that balance is key to a healthy life and to establish within your routine a healthy amount of time for you to be productive and happy in all areas of life.
    So make sure you have time to spend with your family and friends.
    Being surrounded by colleagues or business contacts may feel sociable, but it is important you have time to connect with people on a personal level.
    Also make sure you have time for yourself, whether this is relaxing in front of the TV or going for a walk to clear your thoughts.

 

Routines can be difficult to establish, so why not try initially attaching 1 or 2 of these new behaviours on to existing habits then build from there.
ie completing your new ‘to do list’ whilst having your morning coffee or breakfast.

Routines are personal to individuals, it is important that you build yours on what you need to be the healthiest, happiest version of you.

Here at EnterprisingYou, we provide fully-funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. Contact us on 0161 667 6900 or email to info@enterprising-you.co.uk for a diagnostic and eligibility check onto the programme.

About the author

Naomi Greene

Health and Wellbeing Adviser at People Plus

Originally from the midlands, Naomi has a rich fitness background from a young age. Previously worked at two football club foundations (including one Premier League) running health and wellbeing programmes and helped people from all walks of life as a Personal Trainer. She is passionate about helping people to improve their health and wellbeing starts with the mindset to make small but long-term sustainable changes.