Routine. Ahh…I love, I need, I thrive off routine.

I spend my day working with residents in a long-term care facility in a specialized dementia unit which I love. The residents thrive from the normal daily routines. While we  do special themed events and programs, the majority of our days follow similar patterns and routines…breakfast, coffee hours, social time, exercise, lunch, etc. It is somewhat predictable and for those suffering from memory impairment, it helps structure their day and provide a semblance of normalcy in their daily life.

While I don’t suffer from memory loss (well, at least I don’t think I do!), I thrive off routine as well. Monday through Friday…up at 5 to exercise and/or write, breakfast, get ready, commute with hot coffee or tea, 8-9 hours of a busy work day with lunch squeezed in somewhere, commute home, dinner, time with family, relaxing regimen before bed, and blessed sleep. Saturday…early morning exercise class and writing and then whatever is planned with the family. Sunday is church day.

Now, I love days off work to relax but when I am thrown off my regular routine, it throws off my eating and my sleep. In fact, I have referred to Sundays as “Snack Attack Sunday.” When I don’t stick to routine, I find myself eating things or tempted to eat things I know will aggravate my stomach or keep me up too late such as coffee later in the afternoon or too much chocolate.

My husband lovingly refers to me as high maintenance, but I just need to have things structured and routine. I love lists and sticky notes. I pack my lunch and snacks for work every night even when I want to fall into bed from exhaustion. I know vending machines aren’t an option for me.  I need routine to stay on track with my health. I wish I wasn’t so “needy” in this manner, but I am.

What routines are important to you? Morning coffee? Reading before bed? We all have them…some just more than others. And I happen to be one of those people!