There are countless blogs on positive routines and embedding good habits, but this isn’t something that comes naturally to some of us no matter how hard we try. Approximately 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia, how can we begin to build a routine if we can’t even get a good night's rest? In reality it would seem routine is much harder to attain then many would have us believe. It’s as if much of the advice is missing a crucial step. We can only build a routine once our lives have a stable enough foundation to start with.
So with that in mind we have written some building blocks for your foundation.
If You Can’t Wake-up With The Alarm
The first assumption is that you had a good night's rest and are able to wake-up with your alarm. This is all good and well, but statistically more than 10% of adults are likely to have problems with chronic insomnia in the US alone. Don’t to be too hard on yourself, there are ways that you can build routine even if you suffer from insomnia:
- Get up when your alarm goes off (even if you slept badly) and then take naps when needed throughout the day (were you aware there are 9 types of nap available? Read more)
This may be very hard if you work 9-5 in an office, but you might try talking it through with your manager and seeing if you can find a compromise - everyone benefits from an employee that is fully rested.
- If you are lucky enough to have more freedom in your day, then once the alarm sounds switch it off and go back to bed. (You can even go one step further and make yourself something comforting to drink beforehand.) Stay in bed, let your body relax and catch-up on sleep missed throughout the night.
- Your alarm might actually be part of the problem as it’s also the device that keeps you awake in bed when you should be sleeping. If you use your mobile as an alarm then put it out of the room. This will stop distraction at night and you’ll have to get up to turn it off in the morning.
- Another big factor is the day/night cycle. Every natural thing on earth follows some sort of day night cycle except humans. Try changing your curtains to some lighter fabric that can allow the light of day through, or go one better and just leave them open! We realise that this might not be helpful for people living in the city, but there are still options (just a bit more expensive) why not try a wake-up light alarm clock (read more) and also find some sounds of nature for your alarm that wake you up slowly.
Want To Exercise But Have No Motivation
The Covid world of 2020 means exercise is crucial to our wellbeing. As much as physical health is important, the secret ingredient is how much it helps our mental health, and boy is that needed more than ever. Even though we know it has such great benefits, actually doing any can seem like an elusive game of cat & mouse. You think about it daily but how can you move these thoughts into action? We have found that very small goals are a great motivator (and we mean tiny)
If you're stuck working at your desk all day, then grab a resistance band and put it next to your laptop, set a timer for the length you want to work on your current project and when the timer stops do a short set of exercises for 5 mins. Having the resistance band front of you is a positive visual reminder and will help that little extra to coax you into action. Once you start to enjoy your short sessions, and feel the benefits you’ll be much more motivated to make them longer and more regular.
Writing is a great creative way to deal with old feelings and connect with your inner self. But have you ever wondered about what you’re writing? Studies have shown that using your imagination to think of a positive future actually can help to increase happiness! (read more) Why not try listing 3 good things that happen each day, and if you feel able you could also write about them and try to build it into a regular habit. It would be interesting to see the effect on society if this was the norm instead of looking at screens.
How to Build Routine Within Work?
Considering we spend most of our lives at work and are ruled by it. It can feel nearly impossible to build any sort of routine other than going to and from our means of employment. Realising just how good or bad our jobs make us feel is an important step in bringing more positivity into our lives. Anthropologist David Graeber argues that "the psychological effect of spending our days on tasks we secretly believe don’t need to be performed is profoundly damaging, a scar across our collective soul." (source The Guardian) With this in mind it’s worth accepting that sometimes our lives aren’t in a place where we can easily afford the luxury of building positive routine or habits. Sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan and we don’t need to add extra stress.
Oxygen helps your mood
Too much carbon dioxide makes you lazy, if you’re stuck in a room all day without any plants or fresh air how are you meant to feel energized? If you find yourself eating lunch at your desk most days trying to finish work then maybe it’s time to start changing this to a more positive action. Try to find a park or some green space that’s near and eat lunch outside, you could take it one step further and try some stretches whilst you’re there, encouraging blood flow back to stiff limbs will help to waken and energise you for the rest of the afternoon.
A routine can be a great help, but don't worry too much about it if you can't figure one out. If you feel like you're having to force everything then maybe it just isn't for you and that's ok 🙏🏻🙏🏿