When faced with adversity and things beyond our control, having the discipline to stick to a routine is the most ambitious thing one can do. We may not always be able to control the situation, but we can control ourselves, our actions and how we react to a situation.
Bestselling author and leadership coach John C. Maxwell said, “The secret to success is found in your daily routine.” With routine, regular things provide certainty in times of uncertainty. Routine gives a sense of normality providing an anchor. Just because life doesn’t go our way doesn’t mean we can go “off the reservation” and let our lifestyle and good habits slip. As humans, we crave certainty, it is our base human need. Certainty equates to security, stability and feeling safe. Everybody wants stability around their basic necessities, it is the assurance that everything will be ok. When that certainty is threatened, when we cannot control our circumstances, routine goes out the window and so too does our self-care.
When it comes to self-care, sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects in life but the most paramount. Sleep regulates our hormones and allows us to recharge our stressed and anxiety ridden batteries. Conversely, when we stay up late past our bedtimes, or sleep in late, it leads to lethargy, spiralling and descending into anxiety and depression. The less structure, the more stress. As we know the “secret” to healthy lifestyle success is “eat better, move more”, this unfortunately is the opposite of what many often do in times of panic; they eat worse and move less. We know that just moving our bodies can have a profound and wonderful effect on our overall wellbeing. So why not make exercise and movement a priority in your life. Why not fuel your body with good, wholesome, nutritious foods in the right amounts.
No structure or purpose leads to negative thoughts, feelings of complacency, and our motivation going further down the drain. To combat this, do simple things that provide a grounding; rituals that give purpose. Structure, stability and familiarity is what maintains emotional health and gives the day its purpose. Doing this when times are tough is hard, it takes discipline and resilience. Not doing this will also be hard in its own way and so the challenge is to keep your resilience, be disciplined enough to choose your hard. Go your own way and take life with you.