Add routine to your lifestyle

By Shivali Shukla, Assistant Special Sections Editor

I’ve never been one to live on a schedule. I have always resisted the idea of living on a routine because I thought it would take away my spontaneity and freedom of choice. What I’ve found, however, is refusing to establish a routine can be more physically and mentally draining than adhering to one. There are a lot of benefits to having a routine in your daily life, and though it may take some time to get used to, forming healthy habits can improve your livelihood in the long term. And what better time to start a new routine than when you move into your new place?

According to Northwestern Medicine, there are numerous health benefits to living by a routine. Routines decrease stress levels, offer more time for nutritious meals and exercise, encourage better sleep and improve time management skills, among other things. Sticking to a routine can even improve self-esteem and increase motivation, thus allowing you to accomplish more throughout your day.

Your routine doesn’t have to be fancy or extremely detailed. It could be generic: exercise, eat, shower, work, eat, watch TV, sleep. It could even just be one simple thing you do every single day. Maybe you want to add a jog into your schedule sometime around 3 p.m. every day, choose a specific day and time to meal prep each week or add some downtime at the end of each weekday to relax and settle down with a movie. 

A routine could also involve making sure you read or watch the news regularly. It doesn’t have to be a long, detailed schedule of what you’ll do every minute of every day. People tend to equate routines and schedules with neuroticism and high-strung, detail-oriented personality types. In many cases, however, routines actually emphasize the contrary. They demonstrate clear thought and effective communication, and they don’t have to deprive you of your spontaneity.

An underrated benefit of establishing and adhering to a routine is learning to let your decisions dictate your day-to-day activities rather than your fears and emotions. You learn to stick to the choices you make for yourself. When you let your feelings guide your actions and feed your impulsivity, you can start to feel like you’re losing control over your life. Creating a routine can counteract those feelings of helplessness and remind you that you are in control of your life, day in and day out.

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Whether you’re living on or off campus, routine living can improve your well-being in many ways. It could lead to a happier lifestyle and a greater sense of safety and satisfaction throughout your day. People love crossing things off lists, so even if you hate routines, making one thing a regular occurrence each day can serve as a satisfactory check mark on your mental to-do list. For me, adding some routine things to my day felt like a hassle at first, but I’ve started to crave those activities. 

It’s important to stay organized and find balance in your life, especially in the stressful environment college can become, and establishing a routine wherever you live is a step in the right direction.

Shivali is a senior in AHS.

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