Wake up and have toast for breakfast, grab your favourite coffee on your way to work, eat a packed lunch at 12.30, go to Pilates after work, go home and have a shower, make a warm stew for dinner and sit down to watch your favourite TV programme, wash your face and get into your PJs, take your meds, read a book and fall asleep.
We all have these routines, differing from person to person – one more thing to add to the ‘why we are so unique’ list. Some have a much more fluid routine, are able to adapt to changes effortlessly and embrace change with ease. For others, including for myself, a routine is crucially important, and this shouldn’t be dismissed.
We’re bombarded with messages online that’s either telling us to hustle 24/7 and to be spontaneous all at the same time. This constant idea that we need to have our daily routine to succeed that day, as well as being able to adapt to all changes that come our way. Whilst this is achievable for some, it’s not for all, and it’s something that used to really get to me because I thought I was odd; I thought I was doing something wrong; I thought I was a defect.
Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, so I will simply talk about my own experience in this article, which will also have a sort of ‘life update’ *cringeeee*. I thrive with a routine – getting up at the same time every day, of having a schedule that doesn’t really change, of going to the same gym classes at the same times every week, watching my favourite shows in the evenings, reading my book before bed and going to sleep around the same time. Not only do I thrive, but it also keeps me afloat.
I’ve moved back to university, and every time I move back, I go back into a much darker place. I don’t’ like change, I don’t like having to constantly readjust – and the thing with my timetable this year is that it differs week-by-week. This therefore affects my eating schedule, my gym schedule, my time-management; not to forget that I’m already incredibly overwhelmed from the sheer amount that I need and would like to do – so on top of this, I feel so unbalanced. I tried to take some steps to make this transition easier, and even then it’s been shaken up again.
I enjoy my own space and living at home is what I like. I like having my mum around, being able to cuddle my puppy and drive over to my friend’s house. Having to readjust again in a house that isn’t home, is just another disruption in my routine, especially as I try to get used to where everything is, which slows me down in the mornings (add that to the list of stresses that are drowning me). On top of that, getting used to living with people that aren’t my mum again – I still feel so incredibly alone (and lonely) in this house, making everything all the harder.
In short, I’m struggling with being back at university again – I wish I knew how to enjoy it like so many people around me seem to do; I wish I knew how to be happy in a house that isn’t home; I wish I knew how to balance work and stay sane; I wish I knew how to take life as it comes and go with the flow (I can only do that really on holidays, and even then I’d like to have a rough plan); I wish I knew how to keep myself afloat. But at the moment it feels like the rug is being pulled from under me, and under the rug is a huge hole.
Despite this, however, I’ve tried to keep my sleep routine as safe as possible. Whenever my sleep is affected, everything else unravels ten-fold. So, I’ve cherished my sleep schedule, going to bed at around the same time and getting up at the same time every day. Out of all the disruption, I’ve kept one of my routines safe, and I look after that with force.
Every time I go back to university, it really highlights how important routines are for me. How important having a structure to my day is for my well-being; for some, it may seem boring, but for others, it can be a lifeline. It’s my lifeline.
I’m not here to say that everyone should have a routine, I’m only here to share my own experiences, and share that it’s okay for some things to work for you and other things to work for someone else. Routines might be what keep you afloat, and for the next person, it may be suffocating.
Wherever you fall on that spectrum, cherish it – it’s what keeps you grounded.
Lots of love, Zoe xxx