For many of us, creating a routine that fits into our daily schedule can seem impossible. Between work, family time, and household chores, finding time to exercise, relax, or get a proper night’s rest can be difficult. However, creating a routine can provide immense benefits to one’s mental well-being. In fact, routines have been shown to decrease stress, which in turn, lessens the prominence of mental health disorders.
Creating healthy habits may seem like a daunting task but the good news is, it does not have to be! Here are four simple steps you can add into your daily routine to help manage your mental well-being and overall health:
1. Practice Self-care
When was the last time you went on a walk in your favourite park? Or read a few chapters of that book you’ve been wanting to read? Contrary to popular opinion, self-care is not just about using face masks and taking a bath (although it can be); self-care is about taking the time to enjoy the little things in life that bring joy. Whether that is sitting outside and enjoying the warm weather or doing a ten-step skin care routine.
Self-care also includes hygienic actives such as brushing your teeth, showering regularly, and making regular trips to the dentist and family doctor. Keeping up on hygiene and regular check-ups helps to maintain your health and can lower risk of illness. Self-care is all about loving your body!
2. Exercise Daily
Exercise is important to add to your daily routine as it can reduce anxiety, depression, and negative emotions. By completing 30 minutes of exercise a day, both your physical and mental well-being will increase. Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes, for instance just going on a 30 minute walk or doing a 30 minute yoga class will help aid in mental wellness. Start small at first by doing 10 or 15 minutes of exercise a day and increase the time as you go!
3. Create a Healthy Sleep Schedule
It is essential to get a proper night’s rest. This allows your body to reenergize for the next day. Sticking to a sleep schedule and taking the right steps to make sure you are getting enough sleep is important for both mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have shown that poor sleep can increase negative emotions to stressful situations and decrease positive emotions. To make sure you are starting your day well rested, limit caffeine consumption, and reduce blue light exposure before bedtime.
4. Find Time for Relaxation
Whether relaxation means reading a book, meditating, or breathing exercises, it’s important to take time out of your day to relax both your body and mind. Find an activity that allows you to take a break from stressful thoughts. This will allow your body to recuperate after a stressful day or week.
It is important to create a routine that you are able to complete and stick to. Do not to try overload your day, as this often just makes for a more stressful environment. Try adding one or two steps at first and once you have form that habit into your daily life, you can add more! Sticking to a routine that benefits your health will aid in mental wellness while also increasing your physical health.
Blog post by Jaelyn Kupilik, Volunteer.
Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. (2022). How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Mental Health. https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-mental-health
Hou, W. K., Lai, F. T., Ben-Ezra, M., & Goodwin, R. (2020). Regularizing daily routines for mental health during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Global Health, 10(2), 020315. https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.020315
National Institute of Mental Health. (2022). Caring for Your Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 8(2), 106. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/