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Why Routine is Important in Healing

time-1191842-1280x960I know what it’s like to go through trying experiences. Every day in the life of a diagnosis presents new things to understand and grapple with. To say the very least, it’s definitely a learning experience and I think that’s true for anyone, not just people with mental illnesses.

I recently went through a breakup and although it was my choice to break it off, there was still a period of guilt, uncertainty and heartbreak. Things like that can be hard for anyone but it’s harder when you feel you have no choice but to end things for the sake of your own mental health.

The thing that got me set back on the path to stability seems to have been a combination of factors with one major catalyst, routine. I stayed set in my routine even though I was unsure that I wanted to do anything. I woke up, had my coffee, went to the coffee shop and did my work, as dutifully as I could simply because I didn’t know what else to do.

The thing about routine is that it sets a standard operation for your life, it gives you the things you need to do each day in order to maintain a basic level of comfort. It makes certain things rules instead of options and it frees you up to tackle more important things like feelings and symptoms.

There’s a balance in routine between the things you have to do and the things that that will make you feel good and many times just the sense of accomplishment in following your set routine will provide those feel good feelings.

A routine can provide that all important foundation of stability when you feel like you’ve been thrown off the track. It’s the set path that gives you something to focus on and to look forward to.

You know that if you follow your routine each day you’ll be prepared for the things that can go awry and we all know that things always have a tendency to go awry. Although we have a routine, flexibility is also key for that very reason.

That’s the balance inherent in daily life, walking the line between a set course of affairs and being prepared for the things that can and will go wrong.

Life is full of things that throw you off course from problems with relationships, work and friends to more serious things like deaths and illnesses. The only thing that heals is time and following your routines as you wait for that precious time to pass and for the healing to begin is one of the most important things you can do.

It takes time and patience to get over anything and focusing on something other than the pain, resentment, guilt or myriad other hard feelings you have will only make it easier.

I know this has been more true than I can say in my journey to recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, it’s taken a great deal of time and a set routine in order for to find my stability and it seems inherently true that the same can be said for more minor setbacks.

In truth, we’re fickle creatures and many things have the tendency to throw a wrench in our wheels. The most important thing to remember though is that we will get through this, whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end of some hard piece of news it’s a hard thing to deal with and routine is there for us to follow dutifully while we wait the slow soft hand of time to heal our wounds.

I still feel guilty about the break up but it’s just one of those things that happens and in time it will be a story to tell and a learning experience for future endeavors.

If I can get through life with schizophrenia on my back, most other things are inconsequential.

Why Routine is Important in Healing

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Why Routine is Important in Healing. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Sep 2015
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