Because depression can stop you feeling in control, you may find that setting up a regular routine can help. The science behind this is that when we organise ourselves and know what to expect, we have more personal resources that can be used to look after our mental and emotional health. This is not surprising because routines protect and help people feel safer because they know what to expect.1

Even though it was hard to get the energy or interest sometimes, it helped me to have a routine and put a plan in place on the good days.
~ Helen*

Not having a routine can negatively affect your stress levels, sleeping, and eating.2

I’ve always felt frustrated with my messy house. But I began to think like this: “I surely can clean for 5 minutes a day, and slowly work towards longer periods.” Soon I started feeling excited about improving my living space!~ Maria*

Scientists believe that having a routine can promote health and wellness through structure and organisation.2 Having a routine can help reduce stress and have a positive impact on mood.1,2 Not only can it improve your mental health, a routine can also improve your overall health and well-being.2

“When my depression was at its worst, nothing gave me any pleasure, even things that had mattered earlier. So, I had to force myself to eat, to exercise, to sleep, and so on. Then I made a schedule of things that were good for me and as it became a routine it was a bit easier. After a while I started to enjoy things again.
~ Lauri*


Having a routine can help you feel safer because you know what to expect1
Having a routine can reduce stress and can have a positive impact on your mood2
Having a routine can promote health and wellness2

*Names changed.


  1. Heintzelman SJ, King LA. Routines and meaning in life. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2019;45(5):688-699.
  2. Northwestern Medicine. Health benefits of having a routine. Available from: Accessed on: December 9, 2019.