Creating a Routine for Your Mental Health
Whether you have depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, or any other mental health issues, it can feel like you have no control over the world. It’s been particularly true during the pandemic over the past two years. Research from the NHIS shows that 41.1% of American adults reported anxiety symptoms in January 2021, after a year of pandemic lockdowns.
There are many ways to help improve your mental health, from meditation to seeking therapy. However, a great place to start is simply developing a daily routine. Whether it’s a plan for the whole day or just for the morning to get the day started, a routine can give you some control in your life.
I decided to look at seven tips to help develop your routine and make the most of it.
When starting your mental health routine, don’t rush to do too much all at once. Start with an easy task to start the day: wake up at the same time, make your bed in the morning, or have a cup of water when you first wake up. Even committing to little things can help you integrate healthier habits into your daily life.
One of the essential parts of creating a routine is being consistent. Whether it’s one task or ten, being consistent turns a routine into a habit that you don’t have to think of in the morning, and you just do it.
Another critical thing to remember in creating your routine is to plan. Sitting down and planning your day, from your morning routine to work meetings, gives you more feeling of control. Plus, it can help you feel less anxious for the day ahead since you already have an idea of what’s to come.
Add Things You Enjoy
Make sure you add things you enjoy to your daily routine. Plan a ten-minute walk at some point in the day. Do you wish you could read more? Add thirty minutes at the start or end of your day where you turn off your phone and read a good book. Add thirty minutes at the beginning or end of your day when you turn off your phone and read a good book.
Be present with your routine. Your routine is supposed to ground you in something, whether it’s the day ahead, something you enjoy, or just to go to bed. Turn off your phone. Take a moment to yourself. Don’t forget to focus on what you’re doing and what you’re grateful for as you go about your routine. Make it a space for positivity.
Celebrate the successes. You feel proud when you complete your routine. Mental health routine isn’t just to give you a sense of control but to make you feel like you achieved something. Did you make your bed this morning? Go!
Be Gentle with Yourself
Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day. A routine isn’t something to make you feel guilty, or like you're failing if you don’t do it every day. It’s there to help you make the most of your day, to make you feel centered and ready. If something continues not to feel right or is a struggle to accomplish, feel free to adapt the routine to suit your needs.
Whatever you decide for your routine, I hope it helps bring a semblance of control and joy to your life every day. The pandemic may be ending, but a routine can help you regulate your mental health no matter what life throws at you.
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