Sunday, June 9, 2013

What Routine Can Do for Your Health

While you're sitting at home, it can be easy to ask yourself, "What am I missing out on?" The mind has a habit of making ordinary activities feel not good enough sometimes. It can be tempting to constantly search for the latest and greatest thing out there. "What is everyone else doing, and what are the consequences of missing out on that?"

The truth is, the "latest and greatest" has no real end in sight. There is always something new that people are talking about, passing on, and seeking. Regular 'ole routine, however, has something great and healthy going for it too. The habits you've developed for a typical day can offer you steady comfort, grounding, and rhythm. Your routine can help support you through high days, low days, times of transition, and times of uncertainty.

Which routines are your favorite? Habitual activities allow you a moment to reflect and experience peacefulness. For example, maybe you enjoy doing laundry around the same time each week. While you're methodically getting clothes out of the dryer, folding them, stacking them, and putting them away you might enjoy listening to music or watching a T.V. program. What does laundry have to do with health?

The time you spend on something as familiar as laundry presses the brakes on the usual high-paced traffic of the day or the week. While you're folding away, you can think about whatever you want. If you want to temporarily ignore worrisome thoughts of workplace drama, unattended errands, or upcoming deadlines, you have the freedom to do that! If you'd rather simmer your thoughts/worries on low during your routine, you can do that too. Routines give you the opportunity to interact with thoughts less intensely, and they may even help you gain new perspective on a situation you're experiencing.

Routine doesn't have to be hum drum and boring. It can be reliable and medicinal in its own way. In a way, everyday routines are healthy "me" times. Your time is your own, and you get a chance to hang out with yourself.

Routines aren't always about chores like laundry either. Maybe you go outside and pick up mail at a certain time each day. You walk to the bus station and wait for the bus. You return library books and grab a few more. You enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a cup of tea at night. You catch a favorite show on the television. You listen to a quirky radio program on your way to work. It can be anything!

This week, notice which of your routines give you a chance to enjoy spending time alone. Have fun with your routine, and let it support your health in the natural way that it can.

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