When things get overwhelming, sometimes you want to start over. But in the midst of professional and personal responsibilities, it isn’t always easy or possible to completely overhaul your life. Even if you can’t turn over an entirely new leaf, there are small changes you can make to refresh your routine and help you feel more relaxed and ready to take on those revise and resubmits, grading piles, and letters of recommendation. Here are our suggestions for how to refresh your routine.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is the foundation of your day. Getting a good night’s sleep can improve your physical health, mental health, and emotional well-being. Sleeping well doesn’t have to mean sleeping in; although 7–9 hours of sleep is ideal, consistency is a key part of good sleeping habits.
There are a few simple things you can do to gently coax your body into a better sleeping rhythm. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This may take some getting used to; setting an alarm to remind you when to head to bed can help you build the habit. Avoiding screens for at least an hour before bed is also key to helping your body wind down after a long day.
You may not always be able to choose when you have to wake up, but getting consistent sleep can make a world of difference in how you face the morning.
Make a fun reading list
If you are involved in academia in any capacity, chances are you do a good bit of reading. But how much of that reading is for pleasure?
One of the easiest ways to refresh your daily routine is to make a little time for reading (or consuming other media) on your own terms. Try making a fun reading list of those bucket-list books you never seem to get around to, or head to your local library or bookstore for some inspiration. Taking a few minutes before bed each night to unwind with a good book helps your body rest and your imagination soar.
Turn off your message alerts
Gone are the days of “you’ve got mail!” Now your phone and computer are portals to an unending stream of messages and message updates. We are constantly being bombarded with alerts as friends, family, and the world around us vie for our attention.
Remember that it’s healthy to set boundaries on when and how you are available to others, and remember to say no once in a while.
One of the simplest ways you can do this is to become intentional about checking your messages. Turn off message alerts on your phone and computer, and set aside a few key moments during your day when you will check in on your emails, texts, and social media accounts.
Get some sunshine each day
As the winter months draw near and the days grow shorter, we spend more and more time in the darkness. Getting some sunshine each day keep your energy up and help you feel refreshed and well.
Schedule time in your day to soak in some rays; head outside, vary your commute to work, or even sit by a sunny window if that’s all you can make time for. The break from your routine doesn’t have to be long, but it should involve trading in your fluorescent lighting for some actual sunshine.