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Habits to Improve your Everyday Life

I've heard many times from various friends and colleagues that the best way to get out of a mental slump is to form healthy habits. Once you get into a routine, you may be surprised at the results.

Easier said than done, this is true. But as the natural law goes, things get easier the more you do them. And once you see the benefits of these simple healthy routines, you're only incentivized to do them further. The biggest suggestion many psychologists and psychiatrists offer their patients before medication is ensuring they're doing all the things they have control over. Here are a few of those habits:

  1. Wake up at a Reasonable Time - And stick to it. Whatever time you decide to wake up, make sure it gives you enough time to mentally prepare for the day and do your daily routine. But more importantly, STICK to that time. Try as much as you can to wake up at that time consistently, that way you know what to expect of your morning and you're also ensuring that you're getting your mind right for the day ahead. You'd be surprised at the subtle changes a good start to your day will do for the rest of it.

  2. Schedule Out Your Day - While I'm not a huge advocate of planning out every single hour of your day (it's an overly idealistic standard in my mind), for some people, it's very helpful to ensure they stay productive and on track to accomplish their daily tasks. At the very least, I will write down all the things I need to do within that week, and I will most likely complete about 3-4 of those errands in a day, while not trying to over-exhaust myself for things that aren't particularly urgent. As long as I get it complete in that week, and I hit a few in a day, I know I'm in good shape.

  3. Give Yourself Deadlines - For me, this one relates slightly to the previous tip; I give myself at least a week for the tasks on my to-do list. Most of the time they're not urgent that they need to be done immediately, but the urgent tasks, if possible, should be done as soon as time permits.

  4. Make Time for Movement - This is something I had to learn the hard way. Like most jobs, a lot of what I do involves sitting at a desk on my computer. After about an hour of constantly screen-gazing, I will feel myself growing tired. I found a great way to counteract this effect is to just give myself the opportunity to stand up and move around, even just a little. If I do begin to fatigue, I'll go on a 10-minute walk and it's almost as effective as a cup of coffee. The article recommends standing up and moving around as much as every 30 minutes.

  5. Practice Prioritizing Self-Care - You're probably a hard worker. You can rest until you get that one assignment finished. It's also important to understand that over-working yourself results in a diminishing returns effect. Don't be afraid to put the computer down and enjoy an episode or two of your favorite TV show or practice silent mindfulness. Not only does this relax your brain and release stress, but it allows you to come back to whatever you're working on with a fresh mind and you'd be amazed how much quicker you'll work through a problem that was troubling you beforehand.

To summarize these five rules, they can be categorized as promoting discipline, self-accountability, but also listening to your brain to know when to take breaks. We're active creatures with a lot of talents and abilities; if we neglect certain aspects of being human, it's much harder to feel balanced.

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