Routine matters – especially in emotionally loaded seasons like the holidays. It’s widely understood that routine is important for children- but its value is often understated for adults. In fact, routine- an internal sense of what to expect and when it expect it- helps humans of all ages get grounded, self-soothe, and reduce anxiety.
While too much- or too regimented- routine can be a problem, a little bit of routine goes a long way toward helping healthy brains cycle between curiosity/adventure/novelty and familiarity/comfort/rest.
Before calling off your holiday season book club, craft night, regular happy hour, class, meeting, or get together because lots of folks are canceling, check in with people who haven’t canceled. They may be clinging to that routine to get them through the season. The holidays can be an intensely lonely time- both for those surrounded with people and for those whose solitude feels particularly present during this season. Keeping routines- even if it’s a bare-bones crew or maybe just the two of you- can go a long way towards keeping us all a little more grounded and a little more connected.
This is one- of many- reasons why mental health counseling works. Sometimes one element of routine, like a meeting a certain day of the week, at a certain time, with a certain person who can be trusted to show up with consistency, can help create stepping stones that form a path through a season that seems unnavigable.