Health Benefits of Having a Routine
By providing structure and organization, routines can improve your health in various ways.
"As clinicians, we want you to find ways to make routines that support better health," explains Cheryl Beutell, APRN, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Northwestern Medicine. "If you eat healthy and take care of yourself, you may find some peace of mind."
A routine is how you build habits.— Cheryl Beutell, APRN
Routines can be enjoyable and fulfilling, and their health benefits may make you wonder why you did not start one earlier. A routine can help you:
- Manage stress more effectively: Stress can put you at higher risk for heart disease and negatively impact your overall health. An effective routine can help reduce stress, which can lead to better mental health, more time to relax and less anxiety.
- Sleep better: Routines like your sleep schedule and bedtime habits affect your mental sharpness, emotional well-being and energy. Maintaining consistent times for waking and going to bed can help you get better rest.
- Eat healthier: Without scheduled time for grocery shopping, it is easier to have a unhealthy diet by ordering fast food or snacks since they are often a convenient option. Taking the time to plan trips to the grocery store gives you the opportunity to think about what healthy foods and meals you can incorporate into your everyday life.
- Get active: It is easier to exercise regularly when you make time for it. A daily routine can help you stay active, and an exercise schedule or program can help you budget your time.
Kick-Start Your Life
Everyone is unique. Not everyone requires a fully scheduled day to reap the health benefits of a routine. Make the choices that will help make you be healthier and get the most out of your time.
Some general tips Beutell shares include:
- Try one thing at a time. Do not feel like you need to change your enter lifestyle all at once; it can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
- Make a plan. Building out your intentions and the changes you want to see can help you be consistent and hold yourself accountable.
- Reframe your thinking. A routine does not need to be about changing the whole way you live. It may be more about incorporating healthier habits into what you already do so that you can live a better life for yourself and for those around you.
"Having a routine is how you build habits," explains Cheryl. "When we practice good habits, that can help us maintain positive relationships, good hygiene and our best health."
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