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I found something that is life-changing for me. What is it? Routine. I imagine the concept of a routine sounds simplistic to some of you, and obvious to others, but I never knew what kind of difference it could make to my mental health.

I am not talking about a routine that is designed from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, my routine is way more flexible than that, but it does pop up in and out of my day.

In the morning, if I am the last one to get out of bed, I make the bed. I know that sounds simple, but it helps me feel like I have tidied up a little bit and accomplished something before I even leave the bedroom. I also take care of my teeth not long after waking up, then make coffee, eat a banana and take my medications.

While I am having my first cup of coffee, I work through my day planner (set up to help with productivity). And I work one exercise in a book of lists that I write that are supposed to increase happiness. I also work in another book that is supposed to increase creativity, and then I write a paragraph or two from a writing prompt out of a huge writing prompt book I have.  All of these exercises, take about a half of an hour, and that completes my morning routine.

Later in the day, I try to take two 15 minute walks in between writing, watching the news, reading or whatever else I am doing.

I have dinner around six o’clock every night and take my second dose of medication.

Before bed, I fill up my water jugs for the next day and put them in the refrigerator so they will be cold. I also clean out the coffee pot and floss and brush my teeth.

There is a lot of room during the day to do whatever else I want, need, or feel like doing, or handling a nap or panic attack or any symptoms that come up.

I have found since I have started this routine that I am far more productive (writing at least one essay, homework assignment, or blog post a day). I also get out and take walks more frequently (from 2-4 times a day), and I work on two projects (books) that I am working on with my writing buddy.

I just can’t stress how much happier I am now that I stick to a routine and I get so much more done during the day. Not every day runs perfectly because of symptoms of schizophrenia or one of my other health issues (back and stomach), but about 90% of the time I feel good about my day, my progress, and how I spent my time.

I never knew how much better I would feel with a little bit of work and structure. I’m all for the familiarity and boundaries of a routine!