In our day-to-day lives, we often catch ourselves falling into patterns known as routines. Many people walk the dog, go to work, clean, exercise, and pay bills on any given day. Sometimes, these simple daily tasks can be a challenge especially if you struggle with a mental health diagnosis.
Creating habits can be comforting and promote positive feelings. Did you know that schedules can also improve mental health and encourage positive behavior?
Setting a new habit can seem daunting, but in reality, schedules offer great benefits to one's mental health. Lifelong benefits can come from healthy habits when practiced daily.
Here are a few ways routines can support mental health:
Completing simple tasks can be satisfying and make you feel positive about yourself, regardless of how small the chore may be.
Routines can also be beneficial for other members of your family. If you have a child with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a child who is on the autism spectrum, or a child who struggles with an anxiety disorder, routines can be especially beneficial.
Children who are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can struggle with time-management skills, staying organized, and remembering things. This can cause additional stress for a child that may already be experiencing anxiety.
Teaching children routines and habits can help them create structure and learn how to manage stress in their life.
Some things to consider while creating a routine to manage ADHD include:
Creating your daily plan and including exact times when tasks should start and be completed gives clear guidance for both you and your child. Becoming comfortable in your routines and practicing them consistently will align them with daily activities.
Many children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can experience hyperactivity and impulsivity. They might show a strong interest in animals, books, video games, music, or electronic devices. Attachment to objects or ideas can be expressed through repetitive behaviors or starting collections.
Structure and daily routines can help them know what to expect, as well as ease their anxiety about change. Incorporating a schedule to help handle the unpredictability of life can help to ease these anxieties.
Consider some of these tips when developing routines for children with autism spectrum disorders:
Anxiety is common and it can affect people of all ages, even children. Chronic anxiety, when left untreated, can lead to difficulty sleeping, low energy levels, and even depression.
Routines can help reduce stress and anxiety. In time, children and adults will create a pattern and accomplish tasks with more ease.
To set yourself up for success in helping your child reduce anxiety through routine, keep these suggestions in mind:
The Check-In Project is a mental health initiative of Wraparound Osceola. We strive to provide families, schools, and employers with the tools and resources needed to check-in with each other and provide the support needed to break the stigma surrounding mental health.