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If you get a coffee at the same time every morning or attend the same Tuesday night
pilates class, you're playing out a little routine. Routine makes the world go round. Without it we feel lost and end up stumbling through life, never entirely sure what to do with ourselves.
While humans love having freedom of choice and the power to do whatever they like, whenever they like, fundamentally we enjoy having a routine to fall back on. After all, without some kind of structure, our lives are just one giant holiday (which might be fun for a few weeks but definitely isn't a long-term plan). Sometimes it's easier to know exactly what you're supposed to be doing and when so there's no stress or panic.
Even if you don't consider yourself a 'routine' person, we all have our little things we like to do each day. It can be as simple as getting a
coffee in the morning to a fully regimented schedule from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to bed. It looks completely different on everyone.
We recently caught up with Liv Phyland and Teigan Nash — the founders of Girls Who Glow. The duo are on a mission to change the lives of young girls by teaching them the importance of mental health. Liv and Teigan both have very demanding schedules, which means a sense of routine and structure is really important.
Despite no two days ever being the same, it's the little things that keep them grounded and able to handle whatever the day throws at them.
For Teigan, a morning gym session and good skincare routine is important. She's all about hydration, so finding a moisturiser that's deeply nourishing and protects her from the sun is a winner. The
NIVEA Nourishing Moisturising Face Cream with SPF 15 is a go-to for keeping the skin plump and sun-safe. For Liv, having an afternoon surf and reading a book before bed are a few little things she really enjoys. If you're keen to hear more about Liv and Teigan's daily routines, you can watch their video here.
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Listening to Liv and Teigan got me thinking about my own daily routines and the little things that have really changed my life. I won't lie, I'm a big routine person. I've had the same thing for breakfast every morning for the past three years (it's oats if you're wondering) and I'm always at the same gym classes every day of the week — I'm that person who's friends with all the instructors. I'm not bragging either, because I definitely wasn't always a creature of habit, in fact there were a few good years I'd never set an alarm and have cereal for dinner.
In hindsight though, they certainly weren't the best or the most productive years of my life. Not to mention how much of a hit my mental health took from feeling an absence of purpose. Having a routine to fall back on is one of the biggest changes I've made. I spent a good few years figuring out a routine that worked for me and learning lot's about myself in the process. Now that I've honed in on the daily rituals that work for me, they're like second nature. I couldn't stop doing them even if I tried. Plus, it's fun to add new things into your routine as well (I've recently started running with a friend after work).
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If you're wondering why establishing a routine is so important, let me count the ways. Firstly, it increases productivity and can transform your time management skills. Our time is precious, right? So having a daily routine stops us from wasting the precious hours we have in the day to be productive. If you're a notorious procrastinator or that friend who always manages to be late, a routine will be your saviour. It forces you to prioritise your time and tasks which ultimately increases productivity (structure = efficiency).
Having a routine also works wonders for your mental health. As I said before, the times in my life where I lacked structure coincided with some of my worst mental health struggles. Developing a daily routine can dramatically reduce your stress levels by taking the guesswork out of everyday life, things just fall into place and feel a lot more manageable.
So if all this routine chat has got you excited to start one of your own, you might be wondering what that looks like or where to start. When it comes to finding a routine that works, it's all about finding things that you enjoy and actually look forward to. Waking up at 5am and doing hill sprints might work for your friend, but it might be your idea of a nightmare. If you're more of a slow-paced yoga person, then carve out some time in your day to enjoy that.
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There's a few things I'd recommend if you're keen to establish a routine of your own. The first is not to go too hard too quickly — approaching it in manageable, bite-sized pieces gives you a better chance of actually sticking to it. Instead of gunning for a major life overhaul and trying to run 10km before work, start with something small like setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier and going for a quick walk. If you're keen to up your skincare game but don't feel emotionally ready for a 20-step routine, find a product that can perform multiple steps in one. NIVEA's
Gentle Cleansing Wash Cream is great for removing makeup and impurities while rehydrating the skin at the same time, a win-win.
I'd also develop your routine around your broader life goals. If you're trying to take up meditation try downloading an app and setting aside ten minutes at the same time everyday to sit and do it. If you've always wanted to establish healthier eating habits then dedicate your Sunday afternoon to finding recipes and going for a food shop. These daily routines then form part of your weekly and monthly routines and before you know it, your life has completely changed (for the better).
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Lastly, I can't stress the importance of developing a sleep ritual enough. Take some time every night to disconnect from your devices, make a hot chocolate, light a candle, read a book — whatever helps you wind down. Setting yourself up for good sleep is the key to kicking all your goals the next day. A great day starts the night before, you heard it here first.
I don't know about you but I'm feeling pretty inspired to get cracking on my own routines. Life can get pretty tricky sometimes and there's been no shortage of events to test us this year, so having something stable like a routine is the perfect way to ensure you don't get too overwhelmed.
Trust me, one day you'll look back and wonder how you ever got by without it!
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