Your Daily Routines Aren't Mundane—They're Actually Keeping You Sane and Healthy (It's Science)
Ask any doctor, therapist, or wildly successful entrepreneur, and they'll swear by the myriad benefits of setting and sticking to a routine. Even if you're a little more spontaneous, you've likely experienced the desire to have a set schedule. Say, after a chaotic holiday season, following a gluttonous vacation, or another stressful period in your life, like losing a loved one or going through a breakup.
As humans, our bodies—and more to the point, our minds—crave the comfort and mindlessness that routine offers. How so? Routine requires very little conscious thought, freeing our brain to focus on more complex tasks, according to Samantha Dutton, PhD, a licensed clinical social worker and associate dean and social work program director at the University of Phoenix. This makes everyday tasks, like commuting to work, brushing our teeth, taking a shower, and so on, second nature. When we aren't thinking about those necessities, we can pay more attention to other parts of our lives. "If we've learned anything from the previous year, the unexpected can happen, and it can cause anxiety," Dutton says. "Having a routine will lower your anxiety because there's no conscious thought in the everyday details of life. When you're not worried about the daily grind, it can help you have more energy and be adaptable to the unexpected."
There are plenty of other benefits too, from our mental to our physical health. Here, we spoke with experts to identify why we should invest in a routine this year.