Wellness Wednesday: The Importance of Routines
We have routines like scheduled maintenances for our cars to make sure they keep running properly. We also have routines like brushing our teeth everyday to make sure they stay healthy so we can chew our food. Routines have been established because through human history, certain things are proven ways to ensure positive and desirable outcomes. But what about our own, personal routine maintenances? From an Ayurvedic perspective, they go way deeper than the annual physical exam.
It is a normal fact of life to make plans and have trouble committing to them. It's normal to know what foods are good for us but choose to eat the unhealthier option instead. Why do we do this? We have moments of amazing flow, where everything is working out perfectly. And then there are moments when we have no motivation, struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and reach catatonic states due to the insurmountable lists of things we have to do. Things start breaking down and our health deteriorates. We lose structure and direction, and become scattered and overwhelmed.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, routines are established to help us stay committed to our goals and to our health. Routines are aligned with the rhythms of nature: the rising and setting of the sun, the coming and going of seasons. Just like the seasons, our bodies have an innate sense of regularity. When we depart from our natural rhythms, a plethora of illness symptoms manifest: indigestion, hormone imbalance, insomnia, anxiety, burnout, melancholy... Our modern lifestyles make it extremely easy for us overcommit to work, plans, and also surround ourselves with so much information that we lose sync with what we truly need in order to thrive in our natural states of health. When allowed, we get tired when the sun goes down, and we wake up when the sun comes up. Modern life is designed so that we can easily override these natural tendencies.
Routines help provide our bodies with the sense of regularity that they need. They promote a sense of direction and clarity into our lives. When that regularity is lacking, we lose groundedness, stability, and predictability, which manifests in a loss of connection with ourselves and our needs. We stress easily, lose sleep, and lose valuable energy because we spend it on unnecessary things. Adopting appropriate daily routines upon waking up in the morning, going to bed at night, and eating at regular times are the most grounding and nurturing actions we can do to empower our lives and the decisions we make. Routines are one of the easiest yet most powerful tools for improving overall health and wellbeing.
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