Routines. Everyone has them.
My latest life-project has been to set up better routines for myself. Little changes to make me healthier and happier, physically and mentally. As I’ve grown out of my teen years, and especially when I began living on my own, I started to realize the true importance of taking care of yourself, again, both physically and mentally.
One thing you should know about me is that I’ve suffered with depression and general anxiety disorder with panic attacks since I was in high school. I dealt with them horribly in high school and it wasn’t until my first year away from home in university that I realized what I was dealing with wasn’t normal teenage angst and that there was resources I could, and should, use. My biggest piece of advice to anyone in university, whether at home or away from home, is utilize the mental health services available to you. These services are FREE for students. I can honestly say with all certainty that these services saved me from dropping out of university, if not a worse fate.
That being said, routines have always been a way for me to overcome my depression in particular. If I have a routine and a set of things that have to be done in a certain way, then I have to get out of bed in the morning, I have to take care of myself. As I’m starting a new phase of my life now and am dealing with a lot of loneliness, I have found my depression creeping back into my life. Routines are what have been keeping me together and getting me out of bed in the morning.
One of the most useful tools I’ve found to maintaining and building new routines is HabitRPG. This is a website and app combo that make creating new habits fun! I am a huge nerd, so it has become really important to me to make sure I get my tasks and to-dos done before the end of the day (if you don’t complete them by midnight, your character loses HP!). I highly suggest this tool to help you set-up, get used to, and adjust your routines.
My most important routine is before I go to bed. I’m one of those people that needs to get away from all electronics and really wind down before I go to sleep. About half an hour before I go to bed I brew up a cup of Sleepytime Tea. I go sit out on the balcony and I drink the tea while really focusing on my breathing. I’m beginning to learn to actively and consciously breathe and meditate to help deal with my anxiety and to avoid panic attacks. I usually spend about 20 minutes out there just looking out over the city and relaxing. Then comes the more tedious parts of the routine, washing my face, moisturising, and brushing my teeth. Only after that can I go to sleep content.
What kind of routines do you guys have? Do you find them easy to keep or do you struggle with them? I’d love to hear from you!