Manifest that Healthy Routine!

Now that I've gone back to school, my routine is completely different. This summer, I worked 8:00-4:30 every weekday - an easy and dependable schedule. I woke up, went to work, did my job, and when that clock hit half past four, I was out of work mode and into summer mode. I never took the job home with me. The evenings were my time to relax and enjoy whatever socialization I could get away with during this pandemic.

Being back at school, however, things are completely different. I get myself out of bed at a different time every morning, go to class (sometimes), eat when I can, say hi to a friend in passing, and fill in every empty minute with school and occupational work. I no longer get the 'relaxing' hours at the end of my day it's as if I'm constantly in work mode. I've only been back for a week and this complete disregard for a routine has already taken a toll on my anxiety. I thrive on control and consistency, and this is the exact opposite of that.

In order to get my life back on track, I need to create a routine for myself. It won't be the same routine from my summer, but it will at least give me some ground rules for how I will manage myself these next few months. To hold myself accountable, I will leave them here. Partially so I feel obligated to actually follow through on my wishes, but also to maybe help a few other struggling students. If you too are finding it difficult to get into the swings of things with all this chaos around us, maybe give these steps a chance!

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My Goals for Fall 2020

I will... wake up at 7:00am every weekday - no matter if I have classes or not. Waking up at the same time every morning will help my body fall back into its natural sleep cycle. Additionally, forcing myself to wake up at the same time every morning will make it easier for me to fall asleep at night, instead of getting sucked into the spiral of wake up late, fall asleep late, wake up late, etc.

I will... exercise five days a week. I predict this will equate to four weekdays and one weekend. Holding myself to a workout every day will help me feel better about myself physically and emotionally. Getting good exercise is always one of the first things a therapist will tell you to incorporate into your daily routine. It boosts your immune system, releases pent up endorphins, and - even without visible results - raises your self confidence!

I will... see at least one friend every day. I have a habit of getting into my work mode and not leaving my room for six hours straight. Making sure I have social connection every day will keep me from becoming a hermit and generally raise my overall mood. ALWAYS make time to see your friends, if not for their sake than at least for yours.

I will... stop working at 9:00pm every night. It's stereotypical of every college student to be up until late into the night working on their last minute assignments. Not me though, I stay up until late into the night working on lecture notes that are due three weeks from now. I don't even lose sleep over things that are imminently important. I will work my hardest to shut my computer at 9:00 every night and take that last hour or so before bed to focus on relaxation and self-reflection. This will really help my sleeping habits in the long run (I hope)!

I will... dress myself nicely four days out of the week. I am a strong advocate for sweatpants, leggings, and biker shorts. No matter the occasion, if I can get away with wearing sweats and a men's XL t-shirt to it, I will. Recently, though, I have been trying to look my best every day. While this takes a little more time in the morning, I have noticed that it has helped my productivity immensely. When I look nice, I feel nice. I don't feel embarrassed to go to the dining hall and get a proper meal. I don't feel ashamed studying in the library. It makes me more confident to go out and live my day to the fullest extent, and - once again - it boosts my self confidence!

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If you take any of these goals away and apply them to yourself, I commend you for working hard to better yourself! Even if you didn't feel like any of these could really help your life, maybe brainstorm some that could. Take a strong look into your life and find things that you believe could be better. Set realistic goals for yourself - things you know you can achieve. Never be afraid to start out small. Whenever possible, quantify your goal. Give a number of days, hours, interactions, etc. It's easier to see your progress in numbers, and adjust them if needed.

Now go on your way! Write out your goals and manifest that healthy routine!