The Importance of Routine for Mental Health

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December 28, 2018
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The Importance of Routine for Mental Health

Think of the most successful people you know: a business owner, a doctor, a community leader. Among them you’ll find many common threads, but one among them stands out: routine. People who establish and maintain routines are almost always healthier and more productive.

Routine does more than get work done. It is also a critical foundation for mental health, and today we’d like to talk about why.

What’s the Connection?

To understand why routine has such positive effects on mental health, it’s helpful to picture it as a shield. When depression or anxiety try to force their way in, routine keeps them out. Regular patterns keep out the irregular patterns of mental illness.

Take a morning routine, for instance. For many depressed people, mornings are the hardest part. Insomnia – a frequent pal of depression – can exacerbate the dread of facing the day. But a morning routine of healthy habits like stretching and meditation can bolster your confidence. Nighttime habits, like turning off your phone after a certain time, can complement this.

Even a small routine – showering, getting dressed – can make it easier to accomplish bigger things like exercise. It’s not a cure-all, but it sets the stage for serious, rejuvenating self-care.

How Do You Start?

Slowly, for one! Your average depressed person can’t just pop out of bed and hit the gym. Start with small things. Get out of bed and stretch. Take your meds. Once you master that, move up to making a healthy breakfast, or going for a walk, or meditating.

For other times of day, block out time on your work calendar. Devote time for exercise, or meditation, or a walk. Keep this time permanently blocked out so you can avoid calls or meetings.

Inevitably, you will fail at this routine for one reason or another. When this happens, you have to be kind to yourself: sticking to any routine is challenging, and you can start over again the next day.

Are you having difficulty establishing a routine? If you struggle with depression or anxiety, overcoming the initial hurdle can be very challenging. Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses these issues head-on, setting you up for sustainable success. If you or someone you know could benefit from therapy, contact Azevedo Family Psychology today. Together, we can create a life worth celebrating!

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