The Power of Daily Routines

By Jonathan Dugas
Father helping son put on shoes during daily routine - Vitality

Life is full of ups and downs, with good times and not-so-good times.  We all experience challenging times related to work, family, or other things in our lives. While there’s no magic solution to help you through these difficult periods, leaning on your daily routines can help.

Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate the power of routines is with children. Especially for babies and toddlers, routines can be a powerful tool to reduce anxiety. At those tender ages, it’s almost impossible for kids to have any concept of time and how the ins and outs of daily life work. Knowing that a sequence of events occurs around the same time of day eases their minds and helps them feel safe knowing that, for example, bath time is followed by getting in pajamas, which is followed by storytime, and then it’s lights out.

Even though as adults we do understand time and how life works, navigating our busy lives can still be hard! We have what can seem like a million decisions to make every day and making even those small decisions is still work for our brains. If we can reduce the number of these decisions, both small and large, it can give us more “head space” to focus on the things that really matter.

Enter routines. Routines can help us automate parts of our day so we don’t have to stop and think about what comes next, which helps to ease stress and anxiety. Are we really so different than kids in this way? No!

At Vitality, we love to help people make healthy changes to their lives, and routines play an important role in doing so. Consider a bedtime routine, try planning out your meals, get into an exercise routine and add some structure to your workday.  While you don’t need to have routines for every aspect of your day, settling into predictable patterns can help you focus your energy on the important decisions in life.

With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active.  With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.

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