Routine Reset: 12 Mentally Thriving Habits We are constantly pulled in a million directions by the demands of our daily lives. We often feel guilty for prioritizing our mental health because of work, relationships, and the...
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We are constantly pulled in a million directions by the demands of our daily lives. We often feel guilty for prioritizing our mental health because of work, relationships, and the endless to-do list. In the same way plants need consistent care to grow, we also need structure and nurturing habits to thrive in life.
This is where the power of a routine reset comes into play. We’re not talking about rigid schedules or robotic discipline but about nurturing our mind, body, and spirit every day. In other words, it’s a place to cultivate habits that build resilience and joy while balancing the daily hustle.
Why Reset Your Routine?
Life will inevitably throw you curveballs. Occasionally, our routines become outdated, exhausting, or no longer fit our needs. We can, therefore, accomplish the following through a routine reset:
- Combat stress and anxiety. A significant stressor is uncertainty, which can be reduced through predictability. Having a consistent routine provides a sense of stability and control.
- Boost productivity and focus. When you eliminate decision fatigue, your mental energy is freed up to work on more important tasks.
- Improve sleep quality. A regular sleep-wake schedule allows your body to regulate its natural rhythms, resulting in a deeper, more restful sleep.
- Increase self-awareness. By paying attention to how your routine affects your mood and energy level, you can determine what works and what needs to be changed.
- Prioritize self-care. When you create intentional routines, you create time for activities that nourish your soul, whether you’re meditating, creating, or simply spending time in nature.
Routines improve your health in a wide range of ways due to their structure and organization.
Building Your Mental Wellness Toolkit
With that said, let’s start crafting your personalized routine reset using the following suggestions.
1. Start small, celebrate big.
Be careful not to overwhelm yourself with a complete renovation. In the words of Confucius, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Start by making one or two small changes. Examples are a 10-minute meditation in the morning or an hour free of screens before bed. Slowly add more habits that resonate with you after mastering these.
Keep in mind that consistency is key. Celebrate your small victories and be gentle with yourself if you stumble. Ultimately, incremental accomplishments are a building block for motivation and progress, resulting in more significant accomplishments in the future.
2. Listen to your body.
Each of us is wired differently. Some people thrive early in the morning, whereas others flourish at night. So, make a routine that complements your natural rhythm and complements your energy level.
Suppose, for example, that you’re a night ow. Do not force yourself to work out at 5 AM or do an essential task at 8 AM.
In short, get in touch with your body’s whispers and schedule your day to reflect your natural flow.
3. Incorporate relaxation into your schedule.
You will inevitably feel overwhelmed or stressed out from time to time. Although you cannot control the strain, you can control how you react. Specifically, relaxation techniques can help you reduce stress daily.
You can achieve a state of calm, reduce stress, and improve your mood by practicing meditation. Music can even be used to guide people through meditation sessions.
What if you don’t like meditation? No worries. Reading, taking a bubble bath, or deep breathing are also common relaxation techniques. It doesn’t matter how you choose to relax; try to incorporate it into your daily schedule.
4. Embrace movement.
There’s no denying it. A good workout can boost your mood and relieve stress. What’s important, though, is finding an activity that you enjoy, such as:
- Dancing in your living room
- Swimming laps after work.
- Taking a brisk walk during your lunch break.
- Hiking with your friends or family on the weekends.
- Playing basketball with your kids.
- Gardening in your backyard.
- Stretching at your desk every hour when at work.
- Practicing mindfulness.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to work out vigorously to maintain mental health. Even better? A daily exercise routine of 11 minutes can help people live longer and prevent heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
5. Get restful sleep.
For physical health, sleep is a necessity. Additionally, it contributes to mental health.
According to a 2021 study, people who sleep less than 6 hours per night are 2.5 times more likely to report frequent mental distress than those who sleep more.
Your sleep quality matters as well. Mental health symptoms can be exacerbated by interrupted sleep.
Here are some habits you can adopt to ensure you get enough quality sleep:
- Maintain a regular wake-up and sleep time.
- Create a quiet, relaxing, clutter-free bedroom.
- Keep your bedroom’s temperature around 65°F (18.3°C).
- Avoid screens an hour before bed.
- After 3 p.m., don’t drink caffeine.
If you have a sleep disorder, developing healthy sleep habits on your own can be more difficult. Sleep specialists can provide helpful information about evidence-based treatments if you feel a sleep disorder might cause your sleeping problems.
6. Nourish your mind and soul.
Even if you believe that you’re crunched for time, always Make time for activities that bring you joy and spark your creativity. Some ideas would be:
- Reading more books.
- Writing in a journal.
- Playing or learning music.
- Diffusing essential oils.
- Decluttering your desk.
- Taking time to sit in silence and savor the present.
For mental well-being, it is essential to nurture your inner world.
7. Connect with others.
Social interaction is crucial to maintaining a healthy mental state. Get together with loved ones, join a club or an online community, or simply chat with your favorite barista.
It has been suggested that people in long-term relationships live longer than those who are single. Additionally, studies indicate that emotional connections and intimacy can improve cardiovascular health, enhance immune function, and reduce depression symptoms.
8. Prioritize your to-do list.
When and how often you do this can vary. For example, some people prefer to map out their entire week on a Sunday afternoon. Others choose to priotize their to-do lists every morning.
Regardless, these tips will help you prioritize your tasks:
Identify the most important tasks.
- Consider urgency. Are there any tasks with deadlines or immediate consequences if they aren’t completed?
- Assess importance. Which of your tasks will make the biggest difference in helping you reach your goals?
- Evaluate effort. What tasks will require the most energy or time?
Use a prioritization framework.
- The Eisenhower Matrix. Divide tasks into four quadrants according to their urgency and importance.
- The ABCDE Method. Based on the priority level of each task, assign a letter grade.
- The 1-3-5 Rule. Each day, choose one big task, three medium tasks, and five small tasks.
Create a visual system.
- Use different colors or symbols. Tasks that are high on the priority list should be highlighted visually.
- Break down large tasks. Organize them into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Set time blocks. Each task should be assigned a specific amount of time.
Consider your energy levels:
- Schedule high-effort tasks. When you are most energetic and focused, take on these tasks.
- Batch similar tasks. Reduce mental switching costs by grouping similar activities together.
- Focus on one task at a time. It is essential to resist the temptation to multitask, which can lead to decreased productivity.
- Remove distractions. Ensure there are few interruptions and that your work environment is focused.
Finally, you should regularly reassess your priorities. To-do lists should be adjusted based on changing circumstances.
9. Embrace nature.
Enjoy the natural beauty of the world around you. Observe the stars, take a walk in the park, or sit by a babbling brook. In addition to reducing stress, spending time in nature calms the nervous system.
How much time should you spend outside? Researchers found that spending 120 minutes outdoors a week can benefit your health. Also, people who spend 120 minutes in nature every week tend to report higher psychological well-being and good health.
10. Keep track of your social media usage.
It might sound hyperbolic. But we cannot live without our phones. Most rely on them to stay connected to the outside world through calls, texts, and social media.
Here’s the thing, though. Our mental health can be negatively impacted by the hours we spend scrolling through social media, comparing ourselves to perfection posted by others. It has been shown that constant social media use contributes to anxiety and depression symptoms, feelings of inadequacy, and sleep problems.
However, there are ways to use social media without harming your mental health. Here are some tips for making social media work for you:
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social media.
- You shouldn’t use social media to start or end your day.
- Spend the time you would have spent on social media doing something you enjoy.
11. Practice gratitude.
Develop an attitude of gratitude. You should take a moment each day to think about what you’re grateful for- a delicious cup of coffee or a supportive friend. As a result of gratitude, our focus shifts from the negative to the positive, boosting our mood and resilience.
12. Seek help when needed.
Feel free to seek professional help if you’re having mental health problems. Your journey to well-being can be enhanced with the guidance and support of a therapist.
Sample Routines for Inspiration
Need some inspiration to get started? Here are some sample routines you can explore.
- The Morning Energizer. Spend 10 minutes in meditation before you begin your day, followed by 20 minutes of light exercise like yoga or brisk walking. A healthy breakfast can be enjoyed while reading a book or listening to uplifting music.
- The Creative Catalyst. In the afternoon, dedicate 30 minutes to a creative activity such as painting, writing, or playing music. In addition to being a powerful outlet for stress, this can also be a source of inspiration and joy.
- The Evening Unwinder. After taking a warm bath or shower, open a book or journal for 15 minutes before going to bed. To prepare yourself for a restful sleep, stretch gently or breathe deeply.
It’s important to remember that your routine is ever-changing. As your needs change, they should change with you.
What are mentally thriving habits?
Developing mentally thriving habits helps you feel better emotionally, function better cognitively, and be healthier mentally. In the face of challenges, they boost your mood, manage stress, and increase your resilience.
Why are routines important for mental health?
In addition to providing structure and predictability, routines can also calm the mind. In addition to helping you feel more accomplished, they also help you make the most of your time and energy.
How can I stick to new habits?
In order to increase your chances of success, here are some tips to help you start a new habit:
- Start small. Be careful not to change too much too soon. Put one or two small habits into place that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
- Set realistic goals. Be aware that you won’t become a gym rat overnight if you’re a couch potato. Ensure your goals are attainable and you can build on them over time.
- Find an accountability partner. Staying motivated can be easier if you have someone to check in with.
- Track your progress. You can see how far you have come and remain motivated by tracking your progress.
- Celebrate your wins, no matter how small. You will remain motivated and positive if you do this.
What if I fall off track?
We all make mistakes. When you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Get back on track as soon as you can. It is important to remember that progress is not always linear. The journey will be filled with ups and downs.
Image Credit: Shyamap Bhattacharyya; Pexels