Put These 3 Extra Steps in Your Daily Routine If You Want to Boost Your Mental Wellbeing

A woman stands in front of a window in an apartment for her mental wellbeing

We’re all old enough to know that having a routine helps out our mental wellbeing. Building some sort of routine for our lives can help you manage stress, sleep better, eat healthier and get active – all positives for your mental wellbeing and for your overall life

But if a key reason we’re living by a routine is to boost our mental wellbeing, we should also probably make sure that what’s actually involved in the routine is enjoyable too! Combining activities that help your state of mind with a routine that works for you can ensure that you’re best prepared to tackle whatever the day throws at you, and be able to keep pushing on.

We’ve teamed up with QLD Health to give you some helpful steps to consider adding to your daily routine if you really want to maximise each day and build a happier, healthier mindset.

Soak Up the Sun

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If you’re like me, sometimes you snooze that extra bit too much before you find yourself scrambling to get ready for work or whatever lies ahead for the day. This means cutting some corners — having breakfast at the office, not getting time for my morning walk, etc. But, something I’m super guilty of is not opening my blinds once I wake up. Whether it’s sleeping in or just pure laziness, it takes me some time to actually let natural light in.

Once I saw how it can actually benefit your mental wellbeing, though, I’ve recently made sure it’s a staple of my morning routine, right before I make my bed. Not only is it delightful to let the sun beam in first thing in the morning, but it helps me feel far less groggy and gives me that extra energy — and motivation! — to smash the rest of my routine. In fact, UCLA published study results in February 2023 showed that depriving ourselves of natural light in the workplace, for example, can negatively impact our mood, sleep and wellbeing.

You might not have as much control over how much Vitamin D you’re getting from the sun throughout the day, but taking that moment to cloak your bedroom in natural light is a great way to start your day on the right foot.

Embrace Your Inner Steve Irwin and Spend Time with Animals

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If you already have a pet of your own, then you already know how much the presence of that little furry friend can positively impact your mental health. But you might not have considered actually putting time aside specifically to spend with animals, and it may be time to start.

Drawing on my own experience, early last year I moved to an apartment that is very close to one of Sydney’s biggest dog parks. I wasn’t living with any sort of pet at the time, and the park was a perfect place to get in some exercise anyway (we all know that should be part of your routine already). But, once I got to spend my mornings or afternoons walking through the park, I was literally floored by how many dogs there were having fun! Chasing each other, chasing sticks, rolling around in grass! What I’d give to live their life!

So, on top of my little mental health walks, I’ve made sure I spend time just sitting on the grass, maybe with a coffee or a juice, and just taking it all in. If a dog comes up to me for a pat then obviously the mission is successful, but just giving myself those minutes to ruminate in the atmosphere surrounded by animals who couldn’t be happier has helped me reset. It’s a little course correction of my day that helps me get back on track, and it’s even backed by science.

In fact, if you’re able to, you might want to consider fostering a pet short-term, or volunteering at an animal shelter. On top of helping to include animals in your routine, you’re also showing generosity and kindness, which will also help boost your mental wellbeing.

Give Yourself a Consistent Bedtime

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We don’t need to remind you that a good night’s sleep is essential for both our physical and mental health, yet we often overlook it in our busy lives. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule can help regulate our internal clock, improve our mood, and promote better mental wellbeing.

When we don’t get enough sleep or have asleep schedule that’s out of whack, our bodies release stress hormones, which can leave us feeling sad or anxious. Additionally, a lack of sleep can affect our cognitive functioning, making it harder to concentrate and remember important details, which can also be stressful.

Having a consistent sleep schedule helps our bodies know when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to wake up, which can lead to better quality sleep. This can improve our overall mood and energy levels throughout the day, giving you a perfect base to smash every other step of your daily routine.

It’s also worth keeping tabs on your caffeine intake late at night. We promise that nighttime cuppa can wait ‘til morning.

Whatever your daily routine consists of, try to commit to it, regardless of how you’re feeling. Being able to cross off your routine steps on days where you’re not feeling too hot can refocus your mood, while also allowing yourself to really relish and celebrate your wins when they come.

For more information on how you can use your daily routine to give your wellbeing the boost you deserve, head to the Queensland Government’s Dear Mind website.

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