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The power of routines and six tips for creating them.

Many of us recognize that change is stressful. New jobs, new homes, new relationships, and even a grocery store that has been rearranged can all trigger feelings of anxiety. As we adjust to a new season, remember that routine can help smooth the transition.

Here are a few tips for establishing effective routines:

1. Start small – overhauling your entire day is a recipe for burnout. Instead, try to create a simple routine for one part of your day at a time. For example, setting your alarm for the same time every day (yes, even on weekends) can help your body adjust to a natural sleep-wake cycle.

2. Utilize block scheduling – if a never-ending to-do list feels overwhelming, try a block schedule. This allows you to build a routine while maintaining flexibility and room for adjustment. Read more about how to create a block schedule.

3. Make time for what matters – check in with your values and prioritize activities that feel most important to you. For example, if you have a high value on family, perhaps regular dinners together will feel best. If you have a top value in adventure, plan to visit a new spot or try a new activity on your days off. Check out a free assessment to explore your values.

4. Prioritize mental health – if you take medication, follow your doctor’s recommendations for when and how to handle each dose (a monthly pill box can help). If you are in therapy, be sure to attend your sessions regularly. Set yourself up for success by meeting in a private space with limited distractions (i.e., a quiet area such as your car, office, or home). If you have children, try meeting at a time when you have childcare so that you can focus entirely on yourself in session. If you struggle to find a time or space that works for you, problem-solve with your therapist, as they may have some unique ideas for making those sessions work most effectively.

5. Celebrate the changes and the things that stay the same – autumn is a good reminder that change can be both difficult and rewarding. Be sure to take time to observe your environment mindfully. Try taking a walk in nature, checking in with your five senses (nothing like colorful leaves and the smell of apple cider to light up the senses!) But if this season is difficult for you, take time to also focus on the things that remain consistent and within your control, even if it is as simple as your morning coffee routine or hugging your partner before you leave for work.

6. Recalibrate when necessary – know your warning signs that indicate you are feeling overwhelmed or burned out, and take steps to recharge your emotional battery. The best time to plan for how to respond to the stressors of change is before the warning signs appear. Explore a resource for preparing to maintain your mental health through the next season of change.

While change can be difficult and uncomfortable, it can also be an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and serve as a catalyst for growth.

If you would like support through this next season, feel free to reach out, and any of the therapists at Move Forward would be happy to support your journey!

We are here for you.

Write or call us at 717.462.7003 to discuss your options.

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