I have found in life when things are out of balance it may be because our routine is needing adjustment or is non-existent.
Life can become unmanageable when we are sporadically moving from one random thing to the next without warning or plan. Emergencies can exist this way, but not everyday life as a way of functioning. There is no balance or structure for a person to be guided through an already unknown future the day holds.
When a person has a routine, they can begin to look out at what most likely to expect and what they will most likely be engaged in. This does not mean the routine will not have interruptions, however, life in the day will not be one knee jerk reaction or adjustment after another. It will be less compulsive or impulsive when a routine is developed in managing themselves and their environment around them.
A routine helps not only structure a day but helps structure responsibilities so as things are accomplished. Responsibilities are met, and self confidence can increase from a satisfaction of a job well done, or those who benefited from our work trust is with greater confidence within themselves toward us. With structure we trim out the unnecessary and focus on the most important first and give it priority. And if there is room, or we can make room, we fit in the lesser priorities.
When we prioritize our responsibilities in our routine, we give attention and focus to what is ours, and not to what is not ours. In other words, we minimize distractions. For a routine to function, we must take note of what distracts us individually as much as we take notice of what we value and are responsible for. Both will be vying for our attention, focus, energy, and time.
Routines can help stay focused and meet personal and professional goals alike. Setting a schedule for things to be focused on can help chunk at goals until they are accomplished and completed in a timely manner for a greater sense of personal satisfaction, increase self-esteem, self-confidence, more talents discovered of self, and opportunities available. Whereas without a routine we may experience procrastinating on things and increasing anxiety and dread of completion. Or goals or responsibilities are never accomplished, and excuses can occur because of shame experienced in the missing of deadlines, goals, or responsibilities. All completely normal, yet are experienced with or without routines.
Routines help us in the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social areas of ourselves. Physical routines can be as simple as going to bed and waking up at the same time daily. Eating a healthy three meals a day and taking time for a walk or exercise. Routines can also help break up monotony in a day. Planning interruptions to your day can help refocus us for the rest of the day and avoid burnout and losing focus for unexpected interruptions to take over our day. Taking a fifteen-minute break to read, or go for a walk to clear the mind, or pray, or meditate can help us get grounded with ourselves and stay in the moment. All while lowering stress, emotional tension, and staying in touch with a routine that guides us in our goals and looks out for our health.
Setting time aside for ourselves to be alone and do what we enjoy the most can help in refocusing ourselves as it cares for what we are at the core of ourselves as an individual. Setting days and times for family, or community gatherings for connections allows us something to look forward to and binds us in commitment to another for not only our health but theirs as well. This could be in the form of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), Town Hall meetings, Church, Barbecues, parades, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, boating and fishing trips, or vacations. Setting time for work and providing for your livelihood is essential and should help support in giving meaning to ourselves and passions.
Setting a start and end time for work is essential so that work does not become a distraction from other areas, causing an imbalance in our lives, resulting in unnecessary stress.
With all things considered, routines help establish structure, focus, and balance. When a person looks at what they are responsible for and enjoy, they can begin to structure a schedule for themselves, along with maintaining focus in the moment, maintaining balance while minimizing distractions and stress.
Brian Shubert is actively involved in the behavioral health field as a Substance Abuse Counselor. He lives in Lemoore.
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