It’s very easy to lose your routine whether you’re stressed and anxious or not, but routine is actually extremely beneficial to health. Having a routine and checking off your ‘to-do’ list gives a huge sense of achievement, even if it’s something as small as washing your hair or doing the dishes. Being out of routine – to me – leaves me feeling uncertain and out of control and like there is more room for things to go wrong leading to my higher levels of anxiety. Reduced stress and anxiety equals a happier and easier life! It doesn’t have to be planned to every minute of the day, or even written down, it can be 5 tasks you want to do within the day, and put as a mental note to yourself. Here are my favourite ways to feel organised and in a routine.
- Plan what you want to eat for the week
Having a structured meal plan makes life so much easier for me. I hate getting home from work and thinking, what is even in the fridge and what can I make from it. Then it leads to a stressful trip to the local supermarket after work, with other people rushing around, who are probably feeling the exact same. I like to make a list and meal plan with my other half on a Saturday night, down to the ingredients we need, then go shopping. Then I don’t have to think about it for another 7 days. My evenings then have more room to do what I really want to do!
- Try and fit in at least 7 hours of sleep a night
According to research, an adult realistically needs between 6-9 hours’ sleep to function well. This isn’t always achievable! But to help, I use my iPhone to plan a sleep schedule, when I should start winding down and reduce my screen time, to how many hours sleep I’ll (hopefully) be getting. I do tend to let this go a bit at the weekend, allowing myself to stay up a little later, and sleep in a little longer. I use an alarm that awakes you gently, allowing you to feel rested and awoken more naturally, than rudely awoken by a loud beep!
- The routine before going to bed
This one is really important to me! I really like my sleep (it’s probably why I’ve written two points about it). I find after the evening’s events, whether that be just eating dinner and watching TV, or seeing my friends or going to the gym, that having a shower, brushing my teeth, doing my skin-care routine and having a read of a book or listening to some relaxing music before bed makes me feel 100% more relaxed than just jumping into bed straight after doing something, allowing me to fall asleep faster and have a more satisfying rest.
- Planning for work
This isn’t possible for every job of course. But for my job, I find keeping a work diary helps me. I plan everything pretty much for the month, so I know what is scheduled for every day possible. Before I leave work every day – I write down the things I need to do the following working day. That way I am not thinking about it and trying to remember it at 3am! When tasks are completed, I cross them out, which makes me feel accomplished. Organising emails, folders or even just my stationery helps me feel less stressed at work. Any little thing helps!
- Make time to keep your space organised
I always was told “a messy space leads to a messy mind”. I do believe that statement to be true. I tend to ‘reset the house’ before I go to bed so the house is clean for the morning. I always give myself 10-15 minutes to do this, even if it’s just organising the cushions on the sofa or putting last night’s dishes away.
Even though I would consider myself to be pretty organised and in a good routine, sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day… and that’s okay! I’d say one of the worst things you can do is pressure yourself. Nothing has to be “perfect”. These are just the ones I find the most useful. Try a few things that could be possible for you and look back and see if you notice a difference in stress and anxiety levels!