The Power of Routine


As you know, the ways in which we respond to both physical and mental stressors profoundly influences our behaviors, both positive and negative. And what with our ever increasing levels of “connectivity” and need to multi-task, we seem to be under more stress and deadlines than ever before. And I thought technology was intended to make are lives easier! If you have ever been on the phone with tech support for an hour for that new software program you just downloaded, then you know that tech can sometimes be a wreck!

Of course, I am not advocating for returning to the “dark ages” of wired phones and paper, but I am saying that getting both fit and organized is seemingly more difficult than ever before and also more important than ever before. Hence: The Power of Routine.

I hear some of you groaning, “My life is already over-regimented!” and “I just don’t have the time to adhere to a new routine!”

Many of us subscribe to the second part of Newton’s First Law of Motion: “An object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless an external force acts upon it.” But there is a difference between frenetic motion and continual motion and that is where routine can really help.

My friend and colleague, Ergonomist & Fitness Trainer Leo Ponce explained to me that when it comes to fitness he needs to be “like a shark that moves continually and with purpose” or his body starts to feel the negative of effects of underutilization. Conversely, he subscribes to the first part of Newton’s First Law: “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it” when it comes to recharging your body’s battery. Translation: “When you are resting, really rest and turn off your mind and your body!”

But what is common to both of these, Leo opines, is establishing a routine for both activity as well as rest.

This is true for everyone but especially true for those of us who are “more mature”. We need to be more vigilant and aware. Some simple but helpful tips for establishing feasible routines for your work, play and rest!

  1. Try not to approach work without a plan of action. Preparing for work as opposed to showing up and working can help to reduce both surprises and stress!
  2. Set a timer for yourself to encourage yourself to take regular breaks for either stretching or relaxing, or both!
  3. Choose and stick to a regular exercise routine that fits both your schedule and lifestyle. If three days a week taking a half hour walk is all that is in the cards, then do it! If you can make it a daily occurrence, do that. What is important is to pick something that you can adhere to and look forward to it and treat it as sacrosanct.
  4. During the week, try to get to bed at the same time each evening and rise to start your day at the same time each day. This will help with everything from stress reduction, weight loss, and increased energy throughout your day

While commitment and discipline are difficult, the benefits will be truly rewarding. Good luck!

How do you stick to a routine for work, play, workouts and rest?  Do you have something in particular that works for you?  Share with us in the comments!

Andrew Blumenfeld, M.A., PBE Co-Founder




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