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HOW TO GET BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS.

Happy August! August is a huge time for adjustment. Summer has come and gone and it's time to get back in a daily and weekly routine. Whether you're a parent, child, student or grandparent, the school year changes a lot! A routine is vital for your mental health and for your family if you have one!

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

There are a few different reasons why routines are important. The first being that it instills organization in your life. Having an organized life results in many positive benefits. Especially relating to anxiety. Organization is a great and effective way to cope with anxiety because you have an idea of what to expect. Utilizing this concept helps you control your environment, which as a result helps avert feelings of anxiety. Having and maintaining a routine also prevents stress when you schedule in time for stress preventative measures. Doing this allows you to create a relaxing environment. Having a routine improves your overall health. With a daily routine, your sleep improves which consequently improves other health aspects of your life. You also have the opportunity to make time during your day for the things that you enjoy. You can schedule in a 30 minute workout for 3 days of the week or a 20 minute massage on Thursday or a 30 minute break to go to the pool etc. You aren't the only person that benefits from having a routine. Children need a routine. Without one, they become unregulated and so do their behaviors, sleep, and hyperactivity. Children flourish the best when they stick to a structured routine. So, there are immense benefits to having a routine. If you don't have one, you need to make one! Maybe you know that routines are great but just don't know where to start. On that note..

HOW TO CREATE & IMPLEMENT A ROUTINE

Routines look different for everyone. What works for someone may not work for everyone, so it is important to figure out the routine that best fits your lifestyle. When crafting the right routine you need to think of what you want to be in it. There's only 24 hours a day and at least 8 hours should be spent sleeping. Maybe you also work 8 hours a day. This leaves you with 8 hours to work with. Obviously, you aren't going to be able to fit everything you want to do in every day. So sometimes, a weekly routine works better than a daily routine. After you figure out the non-negotiable routine items such as sleep and work, you need to figure out what you want to prioritize. It is also important to create a routine that will work for you. If you aren't a morning person, and know you will not function well if you wake up at 6am everyday, don't make yourself wake up at 6am! The key to maintaining a routine is making it realistic. You can always adjust it as needed. Another important thing to think about when creating a schedule is what you want to accomplish. Creating a routine is a great way to work towards a goal. So what does this look like? Here's a few examples;

Goal: Lose weight. Try scheduling in a 30 minute workout 4 days a week.

Goal: Wake up early. Gradually make your wake-up time earlier. Start at 7:30am for a week, then 7am for a week, then 6:30 for a week and so on.

Goal: Reduce stress. Schedule an hour of self care 3 days a week.

Goal: Organize your house. Schedule an hour or two of house work 3-4 times a week.

By focusing on your goals and priorities, you can create a functional routine that helps your daily life achieve organization. If you have larger goals, try breaking them down into smaller ones and work towards them on a weekly basis. If you need help staying accountable, create a daily planner and schedule out your day. Once you complete each task check them off. It's okay to not meet your routine every day, plans are never full-proof. Consider your routine a guideline rather than what your day must look like exactly.

There are many ways to use routines to your advantage. Make this school year a great one by creating and implementing an affective and organized routine. Once implementing a routine, watch your life become more organized, and your mental health too!

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