The Mental Health Benefits of Routine
Mental health is more than the absence of mental health concerns. It includes our psychological, emotional, and social well-being and is essential to our overall health and quality of life. When you create a solid routine and stick to it, it's easier to make healthy choices. And, you don't need to spend a lot of time and energy deciding what to do either. Because we all have individual needs, you must first know yourself well enough to recognise what works for you. Structure and organisation aren’t as restricting as they seem — rather, they can be quite liberating, particularly if battling a mental health concern. Studies have shown that daily routines have far-reaching mental health benefits when managing mental health concerns.
At every stage of life — from childhood to adolescence to adulthood — routines help us with change, create healthy habits, improve interpersonal relationships, and cope with stress.
People who don’t follow any type of routine can suffer from:
- Poor sleep.
- Poor eating habits.
- Poor physical condition.
- Ineffective use of time.
Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health concern, handle your emotions better, or simply feel more positive and energetic, here are some self-care practices you can adopt — starting today!
Solid routines promote healthy habits
Stress reduction is one of the psychological benefits of routine. Stress frequency or intensity can be good or bad. Short-term or acute stress doesn’t take as heavy a toll on your body as long-term or chronic stress. Adverse health effects, such as insomnia, headaches, weight gain, soreness, and high blood pressure can occur when you repeatedly face stressors. Mental routines create predictable scenarios through habits. Knowing your triggers, practising relaxation techniques like meditation, prioritising and managing tasks, and getting support are ways to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
Poor sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and lead to mood problems. Sleep can help the body repair and restore itself, making you feel better physically and mentally. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night by taking a break from the stimulation of screens, putting aside work, calming the mind, and sticking to a regular sleep-wake routine, even on weekends. Need a little help with your sleep and stress goals? Our range is scientifically formulated to give you the breakthrough support you need.
Poor eating habits can affect your thoughts and feelings and weaken the immune system. Not everyone will respond to certain foods similarly, depending on genetics and other health factors. One place to start is by replacing “bad fats” with “good fats” (known as omega-3s), which supports brain health. Drink plenty of water and limit caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks or coffee. Also, set aside time for shopping and meal prep.
Poor physical condition can significantly affect your mental and emotional health; a healthy body drives a healthy mind. Exercise routines don’t have to be long or painful. Just 30 minutes of activity or three 10-minute sessions can be as effective. Try rhythmic exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, or weight training and add a mindfulness element to your workouts by focusing on the rhythm of your breathing.
Ineffective use of time means you don’t make the most of your time and often leave things unfinished. Routines can be helpful in times of unpredictability, uncertainty, and stress and encourage better time management. Maximise your most productive hours for challenging tasks and your least productive hours for more mundane tasks.
For parents, establish healthy family routines to help your kids adapt to new realities.
Routines and mental health
It’s important to note that while routines are highly beneficial, they aren’t a cure-all for mental health concerns. In addition to creating a routine, individuals should explore other treatment options as well:
Helplines: With access to a wealth of information and resources, helplines support those with mental health concerns or their loved ones and can connect individuals to treatment providers.
Educational resources: Educational resources can help patients and loved ones understand mental health and provide emotional support.
Support groups: Support groups are conducted in a safe and confidential environment and can foster interpersonal relationships, fight stigma, and give hope. While support groups can be especially helpful for those struggling with traumatic stress and substance abuse, they can also help individuals diagnosed with more serious mental health issues.
Therapy: Working with a mental health professional can help individuals learn valuable coping mechanisms, manage symptoms, and build resilience. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is one of the more effective forms of psychotherapy and can help patients take control of their emotional health by changing patterns of thoughts and behaviours.
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