Routine is commonly linked with highly structured environments, such as the army or school; however, it can be a powerful tool in improving mental health.

The most immediate impact a routine can have is promoting health and self-care. Regarding sleep, routine can be beneficial. Fixed sleep times have been shown to have a positive effect on energy levels and mood. This is especially noticeable in children, as consistent sleep routines improve both their and their parents’ sleep quality (Aurora, 2019). Another way that routine can indirectly protect mental health is by aiding in adherence to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Both of which significantly affect mood, energy, and mental clarity. Scheduled grocery shopping can help avoid quick solutions such as consuming fast food. Intentionally making time for exercise can help establish and maintain a consistent exercise routine.

For self-care, it is crucial to schedule time for activities that may seem optional but, in reality, have a tremendous impact on our mental stability. By mindfully scheduling time for hobbies, socialising, catching up with family and friends, or simply resting, we can consistently prioritise our well-being.

The Byproduct of Routine

A significant byproduct of having a routine can be the reduction of decision fatigue. From the moment we wake up, we are faced with numerous choices. For example, What to wear, what to eat, how to prioritise different tasks, and how to adjust our schedules. This continuous decision-making can increase our mental load. By making some of these decisions automatic through routines, we can save mental energy for other important tasks (Fountaine, 2023). Additionally, this can help reduce our overall stress levels. This is why cleaning routines (determining which part of the house to clean and when) and hygiene routines (when to shower, brush your teeth, etc.) are becoming more popular.

The main function of routines is to create a sense of predictability. Enhancing control through intentional decisions empowers us to change aspects of our lives for the better. (Fountaine, 2023). Routine helps create a clear plan. For this reason, creating routines can be very important for new parents, especially when life seems chaotic. As one of the fundamental aspects of mental health is having a sense of control (Fountaine, 2023), adding structure and predictability can reduce feelings of uncertainty and provide comfort and reassurance.

In conclusion, routines play a vital role in promoting mental health and overall well-being. By establishing consistent sleep patterns, prioritising self-care activities, and reducing decision fatigue, routines offer a pathway to greater stability and resilience in our daily lives. Moreover, the sense of predictability and control provided by routines can help alleviate stress and uncertainty, particularly during challenging times. While embracing spontaneity is important, integrating routines into our lives can empower us to pursue our goals and lead more fulfilling lives in the long run. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Elena Marinopoulou is a Behaviour Analyst with the Willingness Team. She works with children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep and feeding issues emerging during childhood, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.


Arora. (2019, June 19). Sleep Routines in Children. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15(6), 821–822.

Fountaine, K. (2023, August 3). The Power of Routines: 4 Ways Establishing Consistency Supports Mental Health. One Change Group.