Maintaining routines is extremely helpful to me; it is a great way to help manage bipolar disorder. Routines require ideas, plans, and action; these things keep us active and help us to feel good when we accomplish our daily tasks. I know I should follow my routine more strictly by keeping to a regular sleep schedule and eating on a regular schedule, but those things are very difficult for me to regulate.
The routine that I do keep may not be as structured as it should be, but it works for me. First of all, I go to the same stores that I always go to when I run errands, even if they are further away or more expensive. I do that because I’m comfortable going to stores I know. I like to write in the mornings and evenings. I take the dog for a walk late at night; he has a reflective harness for our safety. I also try to run errands during the day before the stores get busy. Then I can do household chores later in the day. Every night, I write a to-do list for the following day. As I complete my tasks the next day, I cross them off my list. My to-do lists allow me to create a plan for the next day that I can take action on and complete.
I try to keep my routine flexible so that it’s easier when I have major changes. It’s more like a plan or structure instead of a strict routine. I’m not good with change, most of us aren’t. When I keep a very strict routine, I have a hard time when it comes to seeing family and friends. My flexible routine allows me to manage my life while still being able to get together with others, even at the last minute. I know it would be beneficial if I went to bed at the same time every night and ate at the same time every day. These are things that I can work on. Everybody is different, and everyone has different needs.
Right now, I’m visiting my family, so my routines are all messed up. I have lots of things I want to get done, so I made a to-do list as always. Hopefully, that will help me keep some structure in my life while I’m away. I’ve been trying to plan things such as visits with people, but it hasn’t been working very well. Some things have to be left up to chance.