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April 3, 2020

Big C’s Wellbeing Blog: The Importance of Structure

The Importance of Structure

With Kylie Sutton

Lack of structure can easily make us feel unmotivated and distracted.

I find life without a daily routine can become quite chaotic and overwhelming, so adding some structure to my day is essential to help alleviate stress, improve productivity and create stability.

During these uncertain times we are currently facing, I have certainly felt a little lost not being able to continue with my everyday life in the usual way.

This past week I have found it more important than ever to put in to place a daily routine.

Here are some ideas for adding structure to your day:

Plan your week 

Every Sunday evening, I plan for the week ahead. I do the ironing and make my lunch for the next day. This is also a good time to take note of any important dates in your diary. It is easy to forget what day it is whilst being stuck at home!

When planning for the week ahead, I also jot down some things I want to achieve in the coming week such as completing a yoga workout, finishing a DIY project or organising the kitchen cupboards.

Writing down tasks and goals ensures that you are more likely to complete them, and now is the perfect time to get on with those jobs you have been putting off.

Start the day right 

Follow a morning routine.

Have a healthy breakfast, your preferred hot drink and get dressed. I know that when you have nowhere to go it may be easy to stay in your pyjamas all day (not that there’s anything wrong with this) but I’ve found being dressed does help to get me motivated for the day ahead.

Also, the small but effective task of making your bed in the morning can really set the tone for the day.

Create a to-do list 

I am a great lover of to-do lists and they are a good tool to help you stay on track.

Writing down the tasks I want to achieve throughout the day and ticking them off gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I always put in tasks which I know will be achievable that day – such as organising my wardrobe or mowing my lawn. Also, it’s important to not overpopulate your list as it could become overwhelming.

Another list you can try is a back-to-front list; as you carry out tasks write them down. This way at the end of the day you will be surprised to see how much you have accomplished.

Relax, recuperate, unwind 

Now it is more important than ever to look after your wellbeing.

Ensure your routine is not just filled with work, taking care of the kids or household chores. Add some time for you to your daily schedule; whether that be reading a book, watching a few episodes of your favourite TV show, having a relaxing bath, meditating or playing a game of hide and seek with your dog!

Or, if necessary, take a whole day to do nothing but relax (when appropriate).

Write a Journal 

Journaling can be used to help declutter your thoughts at the end of the day.

You can use it to record what you have accomplished and what you want to achieve tomorrow. Writing a journal can also be therapeutic by just letting your thoughts flow, as well as giving you time to reflect on what went well.

At a time where a lot of things are out of our control, adopting a few of these ideas will help give you some control over your day.

Your routine can be as rigid or as relaxed as you like, but you will certainly find it beneficial to have a structure of some sort in place.

There are hundreds of planning apps and online tools available too. However, my personal option, is you can beat the power of old fashioned pen and paper!

However, you decide to structure your day make sure to schedule in time for support if you need it. Big C is here for anyone affected by cancer – just give us a ring at 0800 092 7640.

Kylie Sutton is a Support and Information Officer for the Big C Centre in Great Yarmouth.

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