OPINION | How my routines have helped me improve my mental and physical wellbeing 

Falling out of routines causes bad habits to reemerge that affect your health and feelings daily. I recently found myself struggling mentally, and I didn’t have a routine to keep me in check and to make sure I was getting everything done. As soon as I established goals for myself and created a daily routine, I started improving my mood, motivation and overall wellbeing.  

Last fall, I found myself lacking the motivation to go to class, complete homework, stay on top of my jobs, talk to family and hang out with friends. After class, all I wanted to do was go back to my room and sleep or watch TV. I slacked off because I didn’t care about any consequences. 

I soon realized that something needed to change. I had never been like this before; I had always been motivated and active. I let my goals, routines and positivity disappear. Now I have flipped my mindset around to a place where I am motivated to improve my wellbeing. This is how I created my routine:  

1. Goal Setting  

I began this semester by setting goals for myself. They can be about anything and everything that you want to improve or accomplish. There are no right or wrong goals to aspire toward.  

I focused my goals on improving my faith by completing devotions each day, working on my mental health by journaling, maintaining healthy relationships between friends and family, staying focused in school, eating healthy, drinking enough water and going to the gym.  

There is no limit to how many or how few goals you have. The importance behind creating goals is to establish the foundation to improve yourself in the future. Writing out my goals and pinning them up on my wall reminds me of what I want to accomplish and holds me accountable because I reflect on my goals each day.  

2. Daily Routine 

I can make to-do lists every day, but how do I follow the list to get everything done? I created a daily schedule for myself that includes when I have class, when I should do homework, work on my job, go to the gym, read my devotionals, and journal/reflect on my day.  

I laid out a piece of paper with sections for each day of the week and color-coded the different areas of tasks to be completed. This sounds like a lot of work, but the purpose is to create a schedule that works best for you and design it to how you will actually get everything done.  

It can be difficult to stick to a schedule because work can change, or you might have to meet with classmates at the time you had planned to go to the gym. The idea is not meant to force you into the exact same times each day, but to stay consistent enough that you get yourself into a healthy routine. For instance, I want to go to the gym every night. I might not go at the same time each night, but I will try to go at the time that works best for me that day.  

3. Night Routine 

You may not think about it, but having a solid nightly routine can help you improve your wellbeing. My routine makes getting ready for bed much easier and helps to end the day on a good note.  

I always have a routine for getting ready for bed: taking a shower, washing my face, brushing my teeth and so on. After finishing that routine, I journal and reflect on my day. It helps me remember everything I accomplished for the day and take note of what needs to get done tomorrow. 

4. Have time for yourself 

The last key point that has helped me improve my wellbeing is to make time for myself. Having this time means you can take a break from your job, all the homework deadlines coming up or anything that might cause stress. This is the time to de-stress.  

It could be as simple as taking an hour to read a few chapters of your favorite book or even having a self-care night. Take a shower, use a face mask, drink some wine. Maybe you enjoy cleaning, and you like to clean by yourself and organize your room. That’s a great way to spend time to yourself.  

It might take a bit of work to build a routine and be able to stick to the schedule, but progress will show quickly, and you will see great improvements in yourself. You can take that from me. I haven’t been on my routine for very long, but I can already see my mood improving and I’m becoming healthier. After all, that’s the goal here: See the improvements you want to see.  

Photo from entreprenuer.com