The significance of embracing change in everyday life is often underscored. Although changes in life are inevitable, adjusting to them may not be the same for everyone. For some, they can be overwhelming, throw them off guard, and cause anxiety and stress all at once. While some feelings are temporary, others can prolong over time, causing an adjustment disorder or situational depression. Symptoms of this condition include sadness, anger, and crying spells. However, the signs ebb away slowly once the person gets adjusted to the change or the situation.
Certain factors predispose people to adjustment disorders: stress experienced during childhood, inability to adapt to change, and lack of a robust support system. While trying to find coping mechanisms or talking to a mental health professional might help, bringing stability to a daily routine can help manage the anxiety that follows change.
Benefits of having a routine
Routine refers to doing things in an order and pattern and is different from habits. Habits are regular and part of a person's routine. For instance, one may have a reading habit, but reading a book will be a part of their routine. Now, let's talk about the importance of daily routine. Although routines may appear mundane, they can have multiple benefits that significantly impact our lives. So, why is a routine important? Well, routines are vital in increasing efficiency and eliminating anxiety surrounding what comes next. Following a well-established routine can establish a sense of structure and predictability. Consistently engaging in a routine promotes stability and provides a sense of control, which are crucial for maintaining overall well-being. So, let's embrace the importance of daily routine and start creating one that suits our needs and goals. Routines can also help eliminate procrastination and build confidence. Routines have a direct link to sound mental health.
Our own 'Swiss clock.'
An area of our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is charged with keeping time – which explains why our body functions like a clock. While every human cell is likely to have a clock of its own, SCN is like a master clock that adjusts to light and dark and can even reset itself. This region is located right above the point where the optic nerve fibres cross and receive signals from light in the environment, which helps the body keep time. This clock is also influenced by genetics. Thus, a mix of light and genetics is required for the body to reset itself every day. (Source) Deviating from this pattern can hinder the sleep-wake cycle, which directly relates to mood. The body clock influences many physiological processes such as mood, alertness, hunger, digestion, fertility or sleep. Therefore, people with depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder experience alterations in daily rhythm and sleep disturbance is one of the significant symptoms. Research indicates that sticking to a normal daily rhythm can improve mood and cognitive functioning and reduce the risk of developing these problems.
Tips to build a Routine
It is essential to harness the power of the body and mind to benefit the immune system, increase productivity, and prolong life. Here are some tips to build a routine that suits you:
Eat Healthy: Good food is like medicine for the body and the foundation of sound mental and physical health. As the author, Michael Pollan, points out, "If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't." (Source) Consume fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and grains abundantly. Cut out processed food and supplements and learn to read your body's signs.
Hydrate Enough: Drink plenty of water every day as the body needs to replenish this element for most of its functions. A significant amount of water is lost during sweating and other processes. The body constantly sends warning signs about this, such as dehydration and physical pain.
Create Balance: While some amount of stress benefits the body, too much of it can create an imbalance. When the body works overtime to bring back this balance, it can lead to exhaustion. Try to create a balance and stay calm. Do what makes you happy.
Exercise: Physical activity helps the brain work to its optimal capacity. It reduces the risk of diseases and normalises hormones and chemicals. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, as it can make a world of difference to your health. The old practice of Sun salutations or Surya Namaskara is a terrific way to reset the SCN to start the day.
Sleep enough: Lack of good sleep leads to agitation, anxiety, exhaustion, depression, memory problems, etc. Good sleep not only keeps the mind awake but also helps the body to operate at its best.
Express gratitude: Practising gratitude for the small things in life can work wonders for the system by reducing stress and improving immunity. The more we focus on good things, the healthier we can be.
This blog addresses the question of why creating a routine is important. Still, it is also essential to remember that while routines provide structure and direction in life, they can also become monotonous. Getting stuck in a mundane routine can lead to maladaptive thinking and have a negative impact on physical, emotional, and mental health as well as the overall quality of life. This is when one can break an old routine and start afresh, commonly called the "much-needed change!
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