The word “routine” may imply words like tedious or commonplace. During the pandemic’s disruptions to everyday life, people may have become bored or restricted by their routines. However, routines can be quite useful. They can improve cognitive performance, enhance health, provide meaningful tasks, and improve your social interactions.
Humans are creatures of habit. Once we establish a routine, it becomes easier to complete tasks without having to think about them too much. This is because routines help “offload” some cognitive load our brain has to deal with daily. For example, if you have a set morning routine, you don’t have to waste time and energy figuring out what you need to do next – you can just follow the steps you’ve already established. This can free up your brain power to deal with more challenging tasks during the day.
Routines can also help to boost our physical health. For example, if you have a routine of going for a morning walk, you’re more likely to stick to it. And the benefits of regular exercise are well-established – it can help to improve mental health, increase lifespan and protect against conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Of course, it is always a good idea to combine various approaches to achieve the best results. There are many ways to improve your health – click this link to find out more.
Finally, routines can provide opportunities for social interaction and connection. If you have a regular coffee date with a friend, for example, it’s something to look forward to and can help to reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Small steps to build routines
If you believe your daily routines could use some tweaking, consider some small steps that you can take to make changes. For example:
- Use a day-timer or a smartphone app to plan your tasks and include the activities you want to do in your schedule.
- Set a regular time for going to bed and waking up, and stick to it as much as possible.
- Choose one or two health-promoting activities (like exercise, eating breakfast, or taking vitamins) and make them part of your daily routine.
- Build in some “me” time each day to do something you enjoy without distractions.
- Set aside time each week to connect with friends and loved ones, either in person or by phone, text, or social media.
Whether you’re trying to establish new routines or stick to existing ones, remember that it takes time and effort to change old habits. Be patient with yourself and give yourself credit for making the effort. Over time, these small changes can make a big difference to your overall well-being.
So, next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut, remember that routines can be powerful tools that can help improve your cognitive function, physical health, and social life.
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