As everyone is returning to school, I hear parents talking about ‘getting back into a routine’ for the kids. Returning to school is a big transition in a kid’s life as they are being placed in a new environment with new people, new situations, and new stressors. Parents recognize the benefits of routine for their kids as it provides stability, predictability, and comfort for the child’s nervous system. This helps the child feel more secure and at ease.
As we get older, we tend to forget that we have the same nervous system that our kids do. Routine is good for everyone and it has the same calming effect on an adult nervous system as it does on a child’s. As adults, we become more creative in how we distract, ignore, and numb the signals our brains and bodies send to us as a plea for more security and ease, but these interventions are all short-term fixes.
If it helps, think of your nervous system as a child that needs to be attended to and given a routine. This is all about getting back in to rhythm with nature and what your brain and body need to feel their best.
Over time, we burn out when we continually work against what our system naturally needs. Creating a routine in our daily living can help us to feel more calm and cope with the stressors of life with more ease. Here are a few simple ways to create routine that will lead to an increased sense of security and calm:
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Yes, every night. Even weekends. This can help send the signal to your body and brain that it is time to go to sleep and can improve your quality of sleep. Creating a night-time routine to help the body wind down and get tired by unplugging from electronics, connecting with those you live with, and dimming the lights in your home will make bedtime more enjoyable.
- Get up at the same time every morning. Yes, again, every morning. This too can help to reset your circadian rhythm and signal your brain to know when it is time to wake up and be alert. Regular rest and wake times can improve energy levels and decrease inflammation in the body. Think of your ‘ideal morning’ and create a routine to support your day starting off as well as possible. Allow yourself time to sit in silence, move your body, and move your bowels before rushing off into a stressful day.
- Eat your meals at the same time every day. This helps the body to know when fuel is coming and how to allocate the nutrients as you take them in. Again, predictability is helpful for the brain and the body and it frees up energy that can be used elsewhere. If you can meal plan for the week, this will free up even more energy that has been used on the decisions of what to eat at every meal.
As kids are returning to school, the seasons are beginning a transition as well. Summer is waning and the promise of Fall is on the horizon. This will also bring a change in environment and different stressors for the body to cope with. As parents we focus on what is best for our children, but good self-care should be counted as one of those things. We all know that rest is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves, but we believe that we do not have ‘time’ to rest. In times of transition, routine can provide the stability and sense of rest that the nervous system needs to be able to better handle the stress of the change. So, allow routine to be your way to rest from the inside out.
If you can make things easier on yourself, why wouldn’t you? Creating routine in your life is a simple way to increase ease and calm. If you feel like you want some support in the process, reach out. I would be happy to help.
I will be working on my own routine right along side you. We can do it together.
Chat again soon,