Creating a stable and healthy routine

Advice and ideas on how you can increase your resilience and improve wellbeing by building a healthy routine

woman jogging through park - building a healthy routine

Stability is a key pillar of resilience and becoming resilient can help us overcome challenges and improve our wellbeing.

Learn some basic techniques for making and planning a healthy routine.


What is a healthy routine?

For us, being healthy is more than just thinking about what’s good for your physical health, it’s thinking about your mental health as well. The two things are connected, for example, we know that chronic stress can have serious negative impacts on your body as well as your mood if not managed well.

That’s why it’s important to think about having a balanced routine that incorporates your different needs and wants. Establishing a routine can also help us feel grounded and give us structure and stability in challenging and changing times.

A routine might not work forever though, and it is good to make changes as you and your needs change.

Planning your routine

Everyone’s routine is different, and there is no ideal plan that works for everyone. Let’s start with working out what routine works for you.

Think about:

You can think about a daily, weekly, or monthly routine – whatever timeframe works for you.


Activity


1. Start by thinking about the things that are important to you.

2. Draw two columns or circles on a piece of paper and write down the different things you need to do and want to do with your time.

For example, everyday some of us may need to go to work or school for most of the day, but we want to also spend some time reading, or time talking to friends.

Arranging a schedule

Creating a schedule can help you think about what you want to achieve and helps keep you on track to achieve your goals. Here are some tips to help you build the right schedule to suit you. 

woman writing in a journal - creating a healthy routine

Decide what's best for you

Some people really benefit from setting themselves schedules with clear timings such as a daily routine, and some people find that level of structure too rigid.

Remember, your routine is what works for you. It is also helpful to try something and then adjust it to fit your needs. Things change, some days you do not have as much energy as others, if you have to adapt your schedule, then that is okay for you to do.


Making your schedule flexible

Adapting to change and being flexible is also an important part of developing resilience. If you want to schedule your time, do it in a way that works for you. You could try doing it hour by hour, or split it into parts of the day, like a morning, afternoon or evening routine.

Rather than writing things hour by hour in a table or chart, you could try using a clock face to plan your time, with each of the 12 hours representing your daytime schedule.





Schedule your sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep is beneficial to your wellbeing and you could benefit from creating a sleeping schedule. If sleep is something you are struggling with you could try setting yourself a bedtime routine. For example, you have a warm drink an hour before bed and turn off all screens at least thirty minutes before you sleep.


Healthy routine planner

Use this downloadable planner to help you start thinking about how to schedule a healthy routine.

Download planner

Setting goals

If a strict routine isn’t the best thing for you, you could try setting goals for the day, week or month instead. Setting goals helps give us something to aim for and builds self-esteem. The goals should be realistic and achievable. It’s also important that you allow yourself some patience when you don’t reach a goal. Maybe the goal wasn’t right for you, maybe something else you couldn’t control interfered with it.

Evaluate why you didn’t reach the goal and think about how you can make another goal that’s better.


Tips for setting goals:

  1. Break it down. Maybe you could have a big goal for the year, and lots of little goals each month to help you reach that final goal.

  2. Have a range of short term and long-term goals. Small easy to achieve goals can help keep us motivated to reach bigger more challenging ones.

  3. Focus on purpose rather than productivity. Why are you aiming for this goal? How does it benefit you? Practise setting some goals for the next month. How does it go?

  4. Reflecting on your goals. Try setting some goals for next month, how did it go? Reflecting and evaluating is important for learning and improving.

 

Person ties their trainers - building a healthy routine

Building healthy habits

The key to stability is building healthy habits, which are positive behaviours that you do almost automatically. People often use habits to help them cope with difficult situations. It is important to think about whether your habits benefit you and others.

Science shows that it takes a few weeks to really embed something as a habit. When you try starting a new hobby or setting up a new routine, try and keep going with it until it becomes part of your normal routine. Embedding health habits into your normal routine helps build resilience and keep your wellbeing supported day to day.


Think about:

  • Start small, what is one healthy habit you’d like to pick up? Think about slotting that healthy habit into your routine.
  • Is it something you want to try and do every day, or just once or twice a week? Remember to make it achievable and if you need to reduce or increase it later down the line, having a structured but flexible routine can help you do that.

If you are struggling with habits that you know are damaging to you or others, seek help and advice from your doctor or contact NHS 111.

Support line

If you are feeling lonely, worried, or are looking for support, call our free and confidential support line to speak to one of our British Red Cross volunteers.

Call 10am to 6pm daily, on 08081963651.

Find out more about the support line and how we can support you. 

> The British Red Cross support line

Support for your wellbeing

A healthy routine can help you maintain and support your own wellbeing. Wellbeing is important for your everyday health and helps us cope with moments of uncertainty and stress we may encounter.

Explore more of our supporting advice and activities that could help you and others.

Wellbeing first aid toolkit for adults

Wellbeing resource pack

For activities offline, try downloading the wellbeing pack (PDF) which includes information and engaging activities to boost your wellbeing.