Routine, the route for daily living. Routines keep the day predictable. Where there is change there may be stress. Also, if you have a routine you get the things that are important to daily living done. But routines can become monotonous, if they are not somewhat flexible but are really good during periods of depression.
Individuals that become depressed tend to give up on routines, due to lack of motivation. They sometimes let themselves go and lie in bed waiting for the world and themselves to stop hating them. Doing nothing often leads to disappointment in yourself and feelings of worthlessness. A routine insures proper hygiene and that activities of daily living are completed. Everyone likes to look in the mirror and see that they are put together. The alternative itself can create a few grimaces and negative commentary. The activity is also good and if one can get out for a walk all the better.
We all have basic routines when we are stable or in remittance, if we identify them and are conscious of them they can be an indicator that our mood is changing. Others also notice our routines and are often aware that we have changed them. If it is a good friend, they may give the heads up and ask, what is going on?
I worked with individuals with severe mental illness (SMI), many of which lived in small residential care facilities and came to the clinic for day-treatment services-facilitated groups geared towards teaching life skills and ways to cope with their illness. At the residential care facility they got up at a certain time, took a shower, made their bed, ate breakfast, then got a ride to the clinic where the day was structured with certain groups, at certain times with breaks and a lunch period. Of course some of the group activities change daily but revolved around the same topic and some special activities were done weekly at given hours.
The reason for the structure in their life was to create a stable environment. We all know, and this goes for the "normals," when a cog is thrown into a daily schedule, things can become chaotic trying to juggle the schedule and fit in the new task at hand. This is called stress, when one must make changes and adapt. Whether you have (SMI), soft bipolar or no disorder at all, a schedule or routine lends stability to your day. Work the necessary basics into the routine and the openings can can be filled with fun or therapeutic activities but make sure to change them up to avoid monotony and do not forget free time.