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Little Changes to Routine make a Big Difference to Stress

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As much as many of us may like to ignore it, we are slowly approaching the end of the semester. Assignments and papers are beginning to pile up, stress levels are ever increasing, and it is easy to become overwhelmed by everything there is to do. It is during times like this where it is crucial to value your mental well-being; we must allow our minds and bodies to find moments of rest in order for us to achieve success. Sometimes the simplest way to improve your mental health is through the implementation of routine.

When the word “routine” first comes to mind, I can’t help but think about those warm summer evenings in mid-August when my mom would tell elementary school-aged me that I had to practice going to bed early to prepare for back to school. She would tell me that it was necessary to readjust to a normal routine to be the best I could be for the months of school. I know this is a silly example, but there is some truth behind it. Developing healthy routines helps us to practice good habits and to break bad habits. Routine creates structure for our lives and makes us more efficient. Establishing routine requires discipline and grace; we must push ourselves to make healthy choices for our well-being, but we must also know that it is okay to not get things perfect right away! Even implementing just one or two healthy habits into your daily routine is better than doing nothing at all. Small steps can truly make a difference!

Here are some ways that you can give your days a bit of structure and improve your wellbeing: 

1. Getting enough sleep
As everyone knows, getting enough sleep is crucial for our well-being.
Sleeping at the same time every night helps our body to get into a flow of consistency, allowing for an optimal sleep quality. For additional information and tips about sleep, check out this blog post:
Top Tips About Sleep and Why it’s So Important | Ambrose University

2. Taking breaks from social media
While there are benefits to apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, overuse of these apps tend to have a negative effect on us. Social media can interrupt our daily routines by being a form of distraction. Excess use of social media serves as a form of procrastination, preventing us from accomplishing our goals and tasks. It is easy to lose track of time by scrolling through your TikTok or Instagram feed. In order to keep on top of your social media use, you can set screen time limits on your phone. Many smartphone devices come equipped with this option in their settings, but you can always search the app store to find a screen time app. Another way to set boundaries with your social media usage is to set specific times of the day where you allow yourself to scroll through your phone; by setting aside a specific time to spend on social media, you free up the rest of your time to focus on other tasks.

3. Bedtime Preparations
Doing small things such as packing your lunch and/or choosing your outfit the night before is a step you can take to streamline the following morning. By making these choices in advance, you avoid the unnecessary stress and frenzy that is associated with getting ready in the morning. Preparing for the day the night before allows you to have a more relaxed morning, setting the right tone for the day. Additionally, incorporating preparation into your night routine can serve as a way of winding down from your busy day. 

Other things that you can add to your routine include: working out, eating multiple meals a day, self-care, doing devotions (spending time with God), practice hobbies, and tidying up/refreshing your space.

Friday, March 25, 2022