Familiar Routines Breed Contentment and Healthy Habits

Morning CoffeeI heard the line, “Listen, Lady! You don’t know anything about anything” on a bad television movie this evening, as I was flipping through the channels, searching for something to play in the background as I worked on my laptop. I had to stop and watch. The Lifetime Movie Network film, A Stranger at the Door, starred Linda Purl, and told a formulaic story of an abduction by her character’s long lost adopted son. I found it lovely in its lukewarm scripting, mediocre acting and non-existant character development.

I am drawn to bad Lifetime movies. They’re kind of like Cheese Whiz. Light and airy, kind of tasty, though they make you sick if you consume too much. There’s something comforting about them, too. You can pretty much predict what’s going to happen and the good guys will most likely win in the end. (Or at least they will if it’s a good bad movie.)

My husband and I took a walk tonight, during which he told me about what he would be doing after we got home. Letting the dogs out, putting them to bed, making tea for us to drink as we watched a bit of television, and getting lunches ready for the next day. It’s the same routine he runs through every weekday and it’s as comforting to him as my bad Lifetime movies are to me.

They say “familiarity breeds contempt,” but I don’t believe it. Not for a second. Research shows that familiarity and a routine can be beneficial for you both emotionally and physically. We live in a world full of chaos and unpredictability, so a routine that allows you to predict what will happen reduces stress and can make it easier to cope with day-to-day life. Routines can also help you stick to a plan for building healthy habits.

The familiar routines my husband and I have created include:

  • Family dinners at least 5 days a week
  • A half hour walk with the dog every evening, 6 days a week
  • Going to bed at the same time during the week
  • A half hour of reading for both of us before lights out
  • Morning coffee together at 6am to start the day
  • An over easy egg on Ezekiel bread for breakfast every morning on week days
  • Watching the program, CBS Sunday Morning, every Sunday as we wake up (It’s so very, very smart!)
  • My husband always winning at the shower Olympics, i.e. he always, without fail, takes a shower before me

My husband’s more attached to his routines than I am, though I completely appreciate his predictability. In this case, familiarity has bred more attraction and big happiness. And I think my guy is actually starting to like my bad Lifetime Movies.

What about you? What routines have you found help you in developing healthy habits? 

photo credit: javaturtle via photopin cc