Back to school is just around the corner. And we all know how that feels. The fun stops and “real, routine life” resumes. The weather changes and the dog days of summer are gone until next year.
We’ve got news for you, though. First, it’s still officially summer. And it’s a great time to cool down with a delicious, sugar-free frappe. Second, it doesn’t have to be the end of “fun” in your life. While many of us flinch at the mention of “routine,” routine doesn't need to suck all the air out of the room.
In fact, we’re here to argue that a little bit of healthy routine can make life anything but routinely boring.
Setting goals, getting organized, planning your days – these things can all create happiness and joy. Rather than having life be all about work and school–there are several ways to use routine to your advantage. In addition to making life fun, a routine also helps create healthy, balanced days that won’t leave you stressed.
In this post, we’re going to talk about how you can flip the script on “routine” and make it work for you.
Let’s dive in.
How Structuring Your Day can Help You Feel Less Stressed
On one hand, “structure” can be something limiting. But have you ever thought about how freeing structure can be?
Think of it this way: you have ten things you want to do in a given day. You start in the morning, and you’re feeling good about things, at first. There’s no structure, though, so you're starting and stopping projects left and right. Before you know it, it’s late afternoon, you’re exhausted, and nothing is done.
Sure, you enjoyed some “freedom.” But you felt worse at the end of the day than you did at the beginning. That’s a classic example of a scenario when structure could have helped make things a whole lot easier.
Think of it this way: you either control your schedule or your schedule controls you.
When you learn to use structure to create more freedom in your day, great things can happen. Here are a few tactics we recommend:
Prioritize your priorities
Everyone has different priorities.
For the stay-at-home mom, the priority may be getting the kids outside each day and making sure nap time goes smoothly.The self-employed person, meanwhile, may prioritize submitting 10 new business proposals each day. Finally, the person training for a fitness competition may make gym time a priority.
Whatever your priorities may be, it’s critical to structure your days around them. Try this: make a list of all the things you have to do in a day, and put a star next to the 2-3 that are truly priorities.
When you organize your day around your top priorities, you’ll always manage to make time for what matters.
Define how “structure” works for you
It’s easy to fall into someone else’s idea of structure just because it seems more established than yours. To be successful at using structure to create freedom, though, you’ve got to stay true to your idea of routine.
This means creating a clear start for your workday, building in breaks that work for your schedule, and blocking out time to focus on your priorities.
If you’re self-employed or have enough freedom in your schedule to easily create these things–great. If not, you may have to get creative to find ways to make them workable. No matter what, though, there are tiny ways you can take control of your routine each day.
Time-blocking is an excellent way to personalize your routine and structure your day. Get started with time-blocking by establishing your priorities for the day, and then filling in the time around them with admin tasks and anything else you may need to get done that day.
If you’ve never tried time-blocking before, here’s a great resource on how to begin.
Routine and Fitness = a Match Made in Heaven
If you’ve successfully stuck to a fitness plan, you know routine has everything to do with it. And if you’re working toward sticking to a fitness plan, routine will be a critical tool.
Here are just a few of the ways that a good routine can improve your fitness efforts:
- Decreased stress. Nobody likes setting fitness goals and then failing to meet them. Routine decreases stress, which boosts mental health, gives you more time to relax, and helps decrease anxiety. In fact, decreased stress levels can even slash your risk for heart disease and improve your overall health.
- Better sleep. Did you know that the quality of your daily routine also impacts the quality of your sleep? Sleep quality, in turn, impacts mental sharpness, physical condition, performance, emotional wellbeing, and more. When you stick to a routine each day, you’ll be better-equipped to perform at your peak.
- More time. When you make your fitness a routine part of your day, you’ll notice that the days feel longer and more productive. Whether you set your alarm early to work out, or head to the gym during your lunch break, having a fitness routine allows you to prioritize your body and stay productive.
- Better diet. Imagine if you never thought about what to eat until it was time to eat. Chances are, you’d make some questionable dietary choices. Instead of planning healthy meals, you’d be eating whatever was on-hand at any given moment. One of the major benefits of structure in your fitness and daily life is that it allows you to plan the things that help you live a healthy life–like diet. Whether you want to cut back on calories or decrease sugar in your diet, for example, planning and routine can help you do it.
Routine is the Key to a Healthy Life
Anything worth having is worth working for, and that’s as true for a healthy, well-balanced life as it is anything else. When you get serious about establishing a healthy routine that keeps you accountable, sane, and organized, great things happen. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you’ll get more done and have more time for the things you love.
Here at 5 Sparrows, we’re proud to support healthy routines like yours. Our sugar-free coffee creamers and drink mixes are all sweetened with stevia, and make it easy to stop for a cup of goodness in the middle of a packed day. Let us worry about keeping the sugar and other nasty stuff out of your afternoon pick-me-up, while you worry about crushing your goals and building a life you’re proud of.
Learn more or shop our selection now.