Our resident Health Behavioural Change Specialist Dr Heather McKee shares insight into how creating habits and routines can support your health and wellbeing, as well her 7 step blueprint for successfully implementing new habits into your day-to-day (available to download).
Hi Heather, firstly please can you talk us through why creating habits and routines is beneficial for our health and wellbeing?
Our minds and bodies rely on habits. Our brains have so much to process that creating routines that in time form habits will allow us to take that pressure off our thinking mind. Habits are often non-conscious processes and thus free up our minds to focus on what's in front of us, the decisions we need to face.
And why do you feel this is especially important right now with the situation that we’re all facing?
Now more than ever we need our routines, we need our habits to support us. They are our anchors, they keep us steady, they help protect our physical and mental wellbeing and allow us to weather the storm. The certainty of our routines and habits adds a rhythm to our lives, this rhythm is what can help us regain control and structure in our lives when so much uncertainty is around us.
I think a lot of us are guilty of coming up with new healthy habit goals with the best of intentions and then finding it doesn’t really stick! How can we make sure the habits we choose really last?
What works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. We all have complex busy lives, we have kids, we have demanding jobs or family we need to take care of. It is important that we create habits that represent the true picture of our lives as these are the ones that can best weather the storm. (You can find your free step by step healthy habits blueprint download at the end of this article)
You mentioned a really interesting article by astronaut Scot Kelly and how he compared coping with isolation in space vs the current situation. Could you share with us the key takeaways from this…
He parallels the lessons learned from many months’ isolation in space and how that could be applied to help us overcome what we are now facing in terms of coronavirus isolation. He cited that following a routine or schedule was key to helping him get through nearly a year’s worth of isolation on a tiny space station. He notes: “On the space station, my time was scheduled tightly, from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep. You will find maintaining a plan will help you and your family adjust to a different work and home life environment. But pace is key: When you are living and working in the same place for days on end, work can have a way of taking over everything if you let it.”
Lastly, do you have any extra words of wisdom and encouragement to share?
I’d like to leave you with a quote the sums up the power of habits at this time,
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”
Thanks so much Heather! To find out more about our healthy habits, self care and motivation workshops with Dr Heather McKee please drop us an email here or book in a complimentary consultation call using this link. Take care and stay safe!