Aw, crap. It’s morning.
Let’s roll out of bed after not sleeping well, glare at our alarm, blame everyone in the world for how terrible we feel, and stalk off to the bathroom to
read our phone get ready.
With a winning morning routine like that nearly every day, why are we confused when the days continue to suck?
Did anyone ever watch The Lego Movie? D’ya remember that Emmett had an instruction book literally subtitled: “The instructions to fit in, have everybody like you, and always be happy!”? We, the viewing audience, laughed as Emmett breathed deeply, greeted the day, ate, exercised, showered, and even said, “Hello,” to all the cat lady’s pets.
In true exciting story form, the film suggested that Emmett’s real, interesting life began once those stupid instructions blew away. Sorry; but this is not how life works.
Life is really long, and we need to want to live it.
Following a routine like Emmett does is not bad. Routine is not a swear word. It’s actually a magic formula, far more magical than Expecto Patronum or even Avada Kedavra. A routine gives us a little, workable guide for getting through our foggy cloud of negativity and hopelessness.
And, you’re following a routine as we speak. It just may not be a good one.
So! *rubs hands together eagerly* Let’s get started on following one that is good. Here’s a sample morning that I threw together:
- Wake up, preferably early.
Yep, we’re starting there. You already blew the early-to-bed thing. Plus, if we start with bedtime, you’ll be like me and procrastinate starting a routine until you can finally get to sleep before midnight -so we’ll get started, like, NEVER.
- Tell yourself you love you.
This is not vain, it’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s good for you; and you are worth it, you beautiful/handsome person.
- Do something active.
If you are following my advice to exercise daily, this may be the time to grab those workout clothes you set right by the bed.
OR, to not stress you out at all, just do a little stretching. L’internet has loads of simple yoga day-greeting moves that only take a few minutes.
- Eat food or get ready for the day.
I am the only woman in a house of males (all family, don’t worry), so I have to get dressed pretty much right away. For you, though, maybe you can slouch over to the toaster in your skivvies. Whatever; just go. Keep moving.
- Whatever you eat, make it healthy.
Healthy also doesn’t need to be a bad word. Toast is healthy, at least compared to a breakfast of peanut M&Ms you found behind the couch cushion when you sat down to read your phone instead of stretching.
- Shower and/or get dressed.
Just do it. Don’t give yourself time to think, What am I getting dressed for? Life is…. Ending that sentence is never a good idea for a depressive mindset. Like I said, keep going.
- Take your meds, if you do that.
I don’t know your dosing schedule, but most are taken after a meal and in the first part of the day.
- Go somewhere.
Yes, to your computer chair to check into a freelance job is “somewhere.” I know that some of us are recluses by choice and/or mental condition. If you can get outside to at least stand on the porch and watch the sun, please do.
Otherwise, I highly recommend getting completely out of the house. Go on a walk, pick up groceries, visit a friend, see a museum, or go to work if you’re employed.
Obviously, this routine is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you decide to pack a lunch in between steps 7 and 8 I won’t leap through your screen and slap you. I mean, you gotta eat lunch, too. I understand.
Still, it’s a good format. Use it like a foundation, something to plagiarize completely for yourself and adjust according to your personal flair.
In terms of the rest of your day, I feel that people’s schedules vary too widely to tailor as much as I did above. If you work, the day’s pretty much planned out for you because you have to do that. If you’re at home, set up activities similar to the morning one.
The main idea is to have assigned tasks; to keep moving.
Depression loves to settle on us like a putrid cloud. We let it. Making life pointless and then dwelling on the pointlessness of life is a vicious circle, but a daily routine will help break you out of that.
Now, if you’re still with me, you may be wondering about a nighttime routine. I mentioned this in a previous article on sleep, so I don’t want to bore anybody. That, and I’ve exceeded my morning routine writing time. If I wait much longer, I’ll finish the rest of the chocolate almonds and will somehow decide to not exercise due to post-sugar crash.
Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect routine. Use mine for now; I gave you permission. As you follow it, you can slowly change to what works better for you and your lifestyle and work schedule.
You can do it, you beautiful/handsome person you.
*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.