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How to Create a Routine & Why They Are Important for Our Mental Health

Routines can yield many benefits for people of all ages. They create a sense of predictability about what’s to come next in our everyday lives, help us stay productive and organized with our work, and reduce stress and anxiety. For example, having a morning routine helps us start the day off on the right foot, and having a nighttime routine can help our sleep habits improve. Handwritten to-do lists, or even those written in our phone’s notes app, help us prioritize daily tasks throughout the day. Exercising at the same time every morning ensures we get our daily workout in even with the extra business life throws at us. Routines also can help us work towards achieving our goals. If we are living a busy lifestyle, they still allow room for us to develop healthy habits through repetition of the same goals and actions each day. Popular studies have shown it takes 21 days to create a new habit, and 90 days to make a permanent lifestyle change.

How to Create Routines and Stick to Them

The first step in creating routines is deciding what’s most important and what you might like to get out of it. Be honest with yourself about your other commitments and how much time you have to give to this routine. Maybe lay out a plan of action, like when you’d like to do this routine each day, what it entails, an estimated time it’ll take to complete, and how often you’d like to do it each week. Decide if it’s an every day routine, weekly routine, or even a routine you complete once a month. If it’s hard to get into at first, try adding in a layer of fun, like finding a new park to bring a hammock and read for 30 minutes a day, or asking a friend to tag along with you on your nightly walk.

What also helps in sticking to routines is prioritization. Sometimes life throws us curveballs, whether it’s an afternoon doctor’s appointment, school, or quick emergency run to the grocery store for your mom, it’s still important to prioritize your goals and routines you’ve set for yourself. Say you know you need to be somewhere in the afternoon next Tuesday, but that’s normally when you go for a run after school, brainstorm another time you’ll be able to get your run in and adjust your schedule that day. However, we suggest steering away from planning every second of your day, as it might make it difficult if things come up. Learning to be flexible is key in setting routines and sticking to them!


About JFCS Pittsburgh Youth Services

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh is committed to supporting youth and young adults achieve their goals and secure a strong future. For more information about education, workforce development, and mental health support services available, please call JFCS Youth Services at (412) 422-7200 or visit www.jfcspgh.org/youth-services.