How Routine Impacts the Mood of Women Over 50

By on December 9, 2020

Humans are creatures of habit. While some people thrive on change, for the majority, we prefer a solid routine to keep us centered and grounded. 

Everything we do is based upon a routine. As babies, routines are implemented for everything. Feeding schedules, naptimes, and bedtime are what days are based around. School-age children follow a strict routine of school, homework, outside activities, and then bed. College kids rotate classes on a schedule as well as extracurriculars and sports practices. Routines encompass our lives.

Even as an adult, our workdays are routine. Although every day may not look exactly the same for everyone, the hours that you work, the weekly or daily meetings that are scheduled, and the basic duties of your job fall into a routine. After work is usually some sort of a routine as well.

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Our bodies are used to operating within the parameters of some kind of routine. So, what happens when that routine is gone? 

COVID-19 and Routine

COVID-19 caused a huge change in most of our routines, resulting in psychological stress that is unprecedented. While most people can handle temporary routine changes, and welcome stress-free activities like a vacation, the lockdown that followed the Coronavirus outbreak threw even the most stable people into unchartered territory.

The loss of routine looked different for everyone, which made coping harder. Some people simply had to adjust the way they worked, such as wearing additional PPE and learning the changes in their jobs as they went. This was the case for many of the frontline workers who were handling affected patients directly, with little early guidance.

Others had to learn to do their jobs from home, while simultaneously watching or schooling children. What was once considered a busy day couldn’t hold a candle to the “new normal” of the lockdown. 

Finally, there were those who were unfortunate enough to lose their job during the pandemic. Their routine essentially stopped, forcing them to try to find something new in a troubling economy.

Regardless of the obstacles surrounding each unique situation, one thing is clear, many people struggled with anxiety and stress with their loss of routine. 

Setting a New Routine

One easy and very effective way to clear your mind and stay productive is to learn how to set a routine. Setting a new routine is a chance to really prioritize the things you value and what you want in life and then turn those aspirations into action. 

The new cliché surrounding the pandemic is “the new normal,” and while this may sound frustrating to those who were content with their previous routines, this is a time for innovation and getting rid of the things that clutter your mind and darken your mood. Setting a new routine gives you light and something to work toward. 

Where do you start when you are ready to set up your new routine?

  • Determine what is important to you.

This is going to look different for everyone. What is important in your daily routine that you need to continue or want to begin? Is it working out? Incorporating things like meal planning and budgeting? Or just schedule 10 minutes each day as downtime before the hustle and bustle begin?

Once you determine what you want in your routine, take a good look at what you had previously, and eliminate anything that didn’t bring you joy. It’s a perfect time to Marie Kondo your life. Of course, you can’t eliminate things like work or grocery shopping, but being more mindful about them can make them easier. 

  • Set small and attainable goals

Don’t try to set the world on fire when incorporating newness into a routine. Set small and attainable goals with your routine, like carving out 30 minutes every day to exercise. 

  • Make a To-Do List

Making a to-do list every night before you go to bed can help you focus in the morning and be more productive. Additionally, it is a great mood booster as you see your items get crossed off once they are completed. These can be as basic as shower, go to work, and make dinner, or they can be super detailed. Whatever you prefer.

  • Be Consistent

A new routine is only as good as the consistency you give to it. If you are consistent, chances are the routine will stick quickly and you will easily settle into your new lifestyle. 

  • Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress helps you determine what works and what doesn’t. Maybe you tried to add 30 minutes of exercise before bed but found you actually do better when you get up early. Making easy changes helps make you more successful, and the more successful at creating and implementing a routine you are, the better your mood will be.

Routines are the Secret to Success

If you are struggling with anxiety and stress, especially surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, getting yourself started with a new routine could be the first step in stabilizing your mental health.

Routines are proven to help people focus, elevate their mood, and complete the tasks they need to do each day. By following the above steps to creating a new routine, you will be ready to move past pandemic life and onto happiness. 

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How Routine Impacts the Mood of Women Over 50