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Healthy Habits and Reliable Routines

Winter mornings can be tough! Its dark and cold and difficult to motivate yourself to get going. Winter days are exceptional though. The air is fresh and clear, everything just looks like its in full HD. A huge congrats to those who completed the first 20 days of the challenge! We are half way and look forward to the next 20!


Maybe it just me, but the middle of the year seems easier and less chaotic. I love it. Chaos is not my friend. It pulls me down and I need to work hard to stay out of the fray. I think some of that is born from my need to keep order, control of the things I can. I do know the hardest times of my life have been the most uncertain, chaotic times.


So what has been my antidote to chaos? Routine. It helps me feel a little in control of the crazier parts of life, even if it sometimes is just an illusion, a placebo can be just as effective! In my practice, routine is something I encourage and even teach to so many clients on the way to recovery. Recently I became curious on the science of routine and was very impressed at the body of evidence supporting its health and wellness benefits. Routine makes us healthier, inside and out! So in this blog, I will go a step deeper to explain how it can benefit you, even in the little ways.


When we are ill, our lives become out of balance, we are thrown curve balls and have limited control of what we can do and manage. If we end up in hospital, one of the factors that help our ways to recovery, one not spoken of but that I have seen regulary when people go back home, is the routines. At hospital, there is an order to the day which helps us pass time and feel "better". We know when our meals are coming, when the visitors are allowed and when the nurses do thier rounds. This stops when we go home and can affect our recovery if we don't regain that rythym, just in a new form. It is not just anicdotal, but this rythym of meals, exercise, visitors and rest is very much part of the recovery. Our body has a rythym and if we do not follow one, the stress triggers warning bells that all is not well.


Routine is not just valuable in times of illness, it is valuble in life. A rythym of consistancy helps maintain good mental health too, as long as those habits are good ones! Habits and associated with a cue, doing omething because of something else, if you take away the cue, the habit subsides. Routine is different, it does not need a cue. Healthy routines lead to much better health outcomes as they have far better compliance, and the key to all this getting better, is compliance. You can have the very best in skills and treatments, but without compliance, it will never work.


I have often said, the biggest part of my job is convincing people to do the work, or exercise. The winter challenge is centered around staying active and healthy though winter. This is easier said than done. With dark and cold mornings,  is really is a challenge, but it's not just about exercise,  it is about challenging yourself to be healthier, set goals and better, healthier habits.

 

Some tips on creating healthy habits: 


  • Start small, it is about consistency,  not big gestures occasionally 

  • Remember the reason for your healthy habit, motivation helps consistancy 

  • Associate activities and healthy habits with existing cues. This will help you remember them and make it easier to maintain   

  • Look are what your existing routine is first, make changes that fit in rather than rearrange  

  • Don't let your failures stop you from keeping up the good things, just keep going!

  • Be realistic. Often we have grand ideas, but putting them in practice is to much of an ask. Slow and steady wins the race!

  • Be kind to yourself! Change your inner language to positive reinforcement,  not criticism 

 

 

 

 

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