Ready … Set .. Routines!

My daily horoscope often reminds me:

“Small, everyday rituals are the heartbeat of your life. Consistency here will provide you with the stability you need to do your work in the larger world.”

This certainly holds truth, at least in my experience. Naturally there is comfort in what is known, such as knowing you are going to start and end your days the same way. What does this kind of stability, as we begin and close out our days, open up for us? For me, it offers a release of stress & anxiety and often it affords me with a better sleep. Routines are healthy for creates of habit, as we humans are. Today I’m going to dive into more of the benefits behind having routines and share with you my own!

Why Routines?

The benefits of routines range from mental health to physical health, from emotional stability to time management. One of the personal benefits I find is that my routine allows me to intentionally incorporate time into my day for skills or goals I want to work towards.

I’ll talk more about how this looks for me personally in a bit, but for you this could mean cutting out time to work on that stack of books you keep saying you’ll read. Or to pick up the habit of journaling or meditating or having a daily smoothie. Whatever goal or skill you’d like to work towards, routines are a great place to start implementing.

Not to mention, another benefit of routines is it easily helps you track how on top of things you are. In this way you can self monitor your progress, and for me, knowing I’m on top of my daily routine is a confidence booster! Routines can also help you swap bad habits to instill better ones. My best swap was reading instead of scrolling on my phone before bed, it’s been a game changer!

As I mentioned, there’s a variety of health benefits that can come with having a routine. I’d say the most inherent benefit is stress and anxiety reduction. My morning routine gives me a set way to start each day, so I never wake up scrambling straight to the computer for emails or wondering what I should get working on first. Instead I start my days with calm, allowing myself to wake up and welcome the day, then starting my work day with a more focused mind. My nightly routine is great for winding down the day stress-free and providing a good night’s sleep. I don’t doubt you will find stress relief when implementing your routines too.

Depending on the nature of your routine, there may also be physical health benefits. Perhaps your routine involves exercise like stretching, yoga, or a morning walk. Or your nightly routine focuses on flossing or skin care. These habits can have lasting benefits if routines are maintained!

There are also the quiet benefits that come with routines, such as feeling more efficient and improving time management skills. Not to mention, the preparedness that comes with each day once you have a routine.

My Routines

I began developing my morning routine as a 2018 New Years goal. I’ve since established a steady, reliable routine to kick off my mornings. It starts out simple; make the bed, brush my teeth, take my pills. Making your bed in the morning can jump start that feeling of productivity by quickly checking a to-do off your list, and it encourages you not to get back into bed! When brushing my teeth, in the mornings especially, I make a point to scrub or scrape my tongue. Another pro tip: I personally like to brush my teeth before taking my pills or even before my first sip of water, just to avoid swallowing a bunch of bad breath germs (I don’t know/think this is bad for you, the idea of it is just gross to me!).

After the ‘house-keeping’ portion of my routine, I make a point to read the news. The New York Times Morning Briefing and The Skimm come straight to my inbox, the Skimm Monday-Friday and the NYT Briefing Sunday-Friday. After catching up on what’s going on in the world, I read my horoscope and practice my Spanish. For my horoscope, I use the CO-Star Astrology app. … If you’re wondering more about why I like to read my horoscope daily, listen to this podcast episode where we talk about exactly that! My Spanish practice takes place on the Duolingo app. One of my favorite features of the app is it tracks the days you practice, so you can start up a streak. I find this motivating to keep at it, just because I don’t want to loose my streak! (my highest was 214 days)

As far as the morning routine, things are pretty set and well established. For me it’s the perfect way to get my brain moving at the start of the day. My night time routine is something that I’m really just dedicating myself to in 2021. My nightly routine starts in a similar way to my morning, I brush my teeth and drink some water (the ‘house-keeping’ portion).

I’ve made a very important swap in 2021, my bad habit of scrolling on my phone before bed for reading before bed. Screen time is something I’m trying to decrease in general, and looking at a screen right before bed isn’t great for helping your brain wind down for the night. The final part of my routine is writing in my daily journal before lights out.

I hope this post has you considering the types of routines that could benefit your life! With routines, consistency is key. Making your routines a habit is the hardest part, but remind yourself of the benefits and hopefully you’ll keep coming back to implement! Once they become a habit, it’s second nature to keep up with them. Ready … set .. routine! Good luck!