By: Katie Hevesi
It almost seems ironic to me that I am writing about routines.
Just a month ago I realized that my routine was not working for me, on any level. I was working full-time in a psychiatric hospital and doing the same routine as my co-workers. I had been doing it for about 6 months and it hit me hard that that routine was NOT for me.
So fast-forward to now and I am in the process of developing a new routine, and I have a very different outlook on routines now. My life looks significantly different than it did just a month ago. I have changed my routine for work, eating, exercising, and spending time with family. And although it is still a work in progress, here is the one thing that I have learned from this season.
Healthy, individualized routines PROTECT us.
I saw before my eyes a routine that honestly produced a lot of harm in my life. A routine that let depression and anxiety creep in. A routine that encouraged unhealthy eating and exercising habits. But what I realized most importantly, that contributed to everything else negative, was that this routine was pulling me away from the people I needed the most to encourage me. I seldom spent sufficient time with my husband and mom. I missed out on friend time, sister dates, and so much more due to living a routine that was never supposed to be for me.
When I made the decision to reconstruct my routine and go part-time, I am not going to lie, I felt guilty. I had this thought in the back of my mind that somehow not being able to keep up with this routine meant I was weak and inadequate.
It’s taken me the past two weeks to realize that being bold enough to proclaim it and actively make changes to a routine that was not for me was one of the strongest things I could have done. I do realize that not everyone has the ability to work less, but we all still have the ability to make changes!
I have seen people whose routines totally work for them and others that have to keep adjusting. Our overall well-being is SO much more important than anything else. If we cannot give ourselves what we need, we cannot possibly give enough to other areas of our lives such as work and relationships.
For the past two weeks I have been playing around with routine ideas that allow me to keep anxiety and depression at bay, make exercising and eating healthy consistent, and making a point to spend quality time with those I love.
One of my favorite things that I encourage others to do is to pick a day out of the week that you can start slow. For me that day is Monday. I am going to make a point to start every Monday off slow. For you it may be Friday or Sunday, it does not matter, you just need to pin point a day. I start my day with a cup of coffee on the couch and a book. I actually think that watching TV during this time is totally acceptable. What I do make sure of is to not have my phone or computer during this time. There is nothing slow about high-speed internet and 100x 15 second Insta-stories.
Another example is to implement X number of days per week you will workout, and meal planning for the week. Knowing that I am going to workout on my days off helps me stay on track with my fitness goals, and also encourages healthy eating and increases endorphins. All the good things!
The last thing I’ll share is that when it comes to routine, you have to give yourself endless grace. Days and weeks do not always go as planned, that is just a fact of life. If you miss something in your routine, it is more than ok. Routines are in place to serve you, not to restrict or suppress you. Grace, my friend, grace.
I want to challenge you all to reevaluate your own routines. Does it really work for you? Are you trying to take on someone else’s routine as your own? Be honest with yourself, because if your routine is not working, you are not being the best you and living your best life. Routines serve so many great purposes such as vessels to reach goals but as it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, I think it is so important to understand that routines serve as a hedge of protection in the arena of mental health and self-care.
A routine that hinders your best you, is a not a routine that serves you and is a wasted one.