Summer is an exciting time filled with fun, late nights, and travel. With all of this craziness, there may not be any daily routine or structure. While that can be ok, and even good for us at times, we all seem to reach a point where we start craving some sort of routine that will give our life some sense of normalcy again. With summer schedules winding down, it’s a great time to start picking up where we left off and establish those much needed routines again.
Making meals and eating together as a family at night is something that should be part of a healthy routine. It will not only limit eating out, which is good for both your physical and financial wellness, it will also ensure you and your family have the much needed fuel you need to get through your day. If you have kids, you may get up in the morning, make breakfast and pack lunches for the day. You may choose to pack lunches the night before when you are making dinner. Children can be a part of this routine as well and should be encouraged to help.
Daily physical activity should also be a part of a healthy routine. If you aren’t currently exercising and want to try to fit it in, think about what time of day is best for you to exercise, i.e. when will you most likely do it? If you aren’t a morning person, don’t make yourself get up earlier to fit it in. Establishing a set time of day that you exercise is helpful, but we don’t always have that ability with varying schedules. If you can’t make a consistent time each day, try planning out your physical activity on a weekly basis. Put it in your calendar and treat it as a meeting. Evening walks after dinner with your family or lunch time walks with colleagues are also some ways to start establishing some good habits.
Screen time is one of those things that tends to become a habit, but isn’t always good for our health. Although a little screen time is fine, you may find yourself spending hours on the computer surfing the internet or watching TV. Screen time of any kind should be restricted for all of us. Setting rules in the house for regular screen time may help. We should all make sure to turn off our phones, computers, TV’s etc. at least one hour before bed. You’ll sleep better!
We typically all have bedtime routines with our children that help them to calm down and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Having our own bedtime routine can provide the same benefit to us as adults as well. Reading, journaling, making a list of to-do’s to plan out the next day, gentle yoga or light stretching, daily reflection or meditation, and prayer are all things you can do as part of your nighttime routine that will benefit your sleep. Going to bed around the same time each night and getting up around the same time each morning is also part of a healthy routine.
Following these daily routines can positively impact your physical and mental health. Although our lives may be filled with dozens of tasks already, routines can help us focus, increase our self-efficacy and keep us motivated to stay on track. Daily habits or routines allow us to free our mind up for all the other decisions we have to make during the day and give us a sense of control as well. Once habits are established you may even find you have more time and choose to add some additional tasks to your routine that will help you follow a more balanced and healthy life.