The Power of Routines
Routines are a sequence of actions performed on a regular basis. On an individual scale, these habits and rituals may seem trivial, but the steady cumulation of their small positive effects can have lasting impacts on the way we live our lives. The power of routine is achieved through repetition and consistency.
Mindfulness and wellness routines have countless positive benefits for your mind, body, and soul. Building routines that involve healthy and productive habits can provide a straightforward framework to consistently work towards your goals, proving to be far more effective than goal-setting and sheer willpower alone.
Morning and evening routines are a great way to get started with habit and routine-building as sleep is an indispensable part of our daily schedule. The philosophy of stoicism coined morning and evening routines, with the morning being dedicated to preparation and the evening for reflection. With this structure, each and every day is given valuable intentions and evaluations. We will be drawing on stoic principles for routine ideas regarding mindfulness.
Mornings are essential in setting the stage for the rest of the day, with profound effects on mood, energy levels, and productivity. Through a mindful morning routine, you can start each day off with positivity and purpose.
Morning is the perfect time to think about what needs to be accomplished during the day. Whether it be putting together a schedule or making a to-do list, planning allows us to align with our daily goals, allowing for confident and decisive action to follow. On a mindfulness level, this is also a great time to set intentions for the day. Intentions allow us to live with accountability and purpose, granting a sense of importance to our mindset throughout the day.
It is so beneficial to start your day off with positivity, and expressing gratitude is a surefire way to achieve this. There are so many privileges and things in our lives that we can give thanks to—reflecting on these blessings increase happiness and boasts many other mental and physical health benefits. An easy way to integrate this into your morning routine would be to write down 3 things that you are grateful for. Expressing gratitude throughout the day also has overwhelmingly positive social effects.
Evening routines are key in preparing for a good night of rest. A mindful evening routine can increase the quality of your sleep and sets you up for success in your morning routine the following morning.
Each new day is an opportunity for growth and improvement. Self-reflection of the day passed allows you to identify what went well and what you can continue to work on moving forward. These insights can then be effectively applied to guide your morning planning. A simple reflection ritual would be to answer these questions prior to going to bed each evening:
- What did I do badly?
- What did I do well?
- How can I be better tomorrow and what tasks were left undone?
Relax and calm your mind
Sleep is a time to rest not only your body but also your mind, so it is beneficial that you prepare and calm your mind for rest the same way you get ready to go to bed. Immediately prior to sleeping, take approximately 30 minutes to free yourself of stimulus or distractions such as electronic devices. Some relaxing activities that you can enjoy during this time include reading, listening to calming music, or meditation.
In addition to day-to-day routines, wellness is another area in which routines can be effectively applied to. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we often forget to prioritize taking time to nourish our body, mind, and soul. Your wellness is worth investing in—taking care of yourself has positive benefits that will also reflect in all other aspects of your life.
Meditation is a great way to achieve tranquillity and gain mental clarity. By focusing your attention and observing your thoughts, you are able to improve upon self-awareness. Depending on the purpose and intent, meditation can be applied at many points throughout the day. Some ideas include morning meditation to align with the day’s intention, focus meditation before beginning work or studies, and meditating prior to sleep to calm your mind. If you’re just starting out, there are plenty of guided meditation videos available online that can walk you through the complete meditation process.
Learning is a highly enriching and rewarding activity, allowing you to discover yourself and the world with no limits. Spending time to learn about topics that interest you or practicing a hobby is a great way to spend downtime and engage your mind in a fun way. There are countless ways to learn: You can read a book, listen to podcasts, browse the news, take a class, practice a hobby, and so much more. No matter the learning format, you can consider blocking of time on a weekly basis dedicated to learning something new. Think of it as an investment into yourself!
Spending time to take care of your body is the perfect way to decompress after a long week. Whether it's soaking in a bath or indulging in your daily skincare routine, your body will thank you for the love and pampering. This is a great time to enjoy a moment of peace, as you can let your thoughts wander as you go through a relaxing self-care ritual. You can consider creating a short daily self-care routine or allocate a longer block of time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Exercise boasts not only health benefits, but can be greatly beneficial to energy levels, mental wellbeing, and focus. The average adult is recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week—this can be attained through a routine of several workouts per week. If this is not possible, you can consider implementing shorter blocks of exercise into your routine, such as going for walks during your breaks or following along with home video workouts.