The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


Photo Credits:
Deryn Macey


*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.

25 thoughts on “The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine

          1. Since I’m retired, I have a routine (morning) that shifts according to the needs of the day. I’ve made my bed and given cat meds and cleaned litter box and put dishes away (drying rack) and next my stretching exercises and then 1-5 minutes of mindfulness. There are a few other small minor things but sigh. I’m doing it for me. 😌

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  1. I get up so early half my day is gone before the world wakes up. But I love it, and do not feel prepared to function if I do not have hours alone with myself first. I am active all day, and put my phone to bed not long after I return home. Same for the computer.. I watch old movies to entertain myself till I fall asleep. oh, and I eat in there somewhere too.. But when I move, who knows, I will have to revamp much of this due to living arrangements, but the middle of the night thing, that’s stayin. That’s me. Good post Chelsea…

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    1. I totally agree with tailoring the routine to you. Many (myself included) get into an unhealthy cycle that neglects basic health needs. Sleep is up there, and exercise and diet. We can’t all be Super J (though I definitely want to be). 😉


        1. Well, sure. I don’t know how many bad habits you have, for example. 😀 My life goal was to grow up and do what I wanted, though. I didn’t plan on marriage or kids and wanted to work different places -even Alaska.

          Of course, I also thought I wouldn’t need to do housework. Sometimes life goals need some adjustin’.


          1. Well, I grew up seeking hedonistic adventure, and and continue to do exactly as please- and you know what? it’s not the key to happiness either.. I no longer believe there is one. I think we do the best we can with what we’ve got. As Erma Bombeck once so deftly put it, “the grass is always greener, over the septic tank.” But who wants to live over a septic tank? hehehe

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  2. These are all great ideas. I have been telling myself I will do them for years only to eat pizza at 2 am and blame others for my failures. However in theory I believe these ideas are correct and I wholeheartedly endorse others doing them.

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    1. Why, Bookshelf Battler, what brings YOU over here? 😀 😀

      Take it one at a time. I’m the sort to quit smoking, go on a diet, start exercising, follow a budget, and be kind all within the same day -and burn out by noon. 😀


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