Daily routine (sleur in Dutch) has acquired a very negative connotation in our language. It is described as a boring, tedious, always the same way of doing things, a repetitive habit or something you do so often that it has become annoying.
But my body wants a routine. My body is screaming and begging for a daily routine. When I told my mother that I would like a routine with a clear structure that is the same every day and repeated the next day, my mother burst out laughing. You and daily routine? she asked, spluttering. You can never do that. You will always do something to break the rhythm.
To my great sadness, I fear that my mother (as always) is right. I am extremely fickle and just when I have something on track I unconsciously create distractions or take a different path. And yet I want routine, even if it doesn't suit me. Why is routine so important to me?
My partner is the king of daily routine. Or maybe I should say: he has rhythm. Every day he gets up between 6 and 7 am. He eats his breakfast between 6:30 and 7:30 am. He drinks coffee at 10 a.m., eats his midday meal at noon. Drinks coffee again at 3 p.m. and eats dinner between 6 and 7 p.m.
When I moved in with him, I found it very difficult. How can you always have hot food ready at a fixed time? I didn't know that from home. But I love him and therefore adapt to his schedule. As difficult as that was in the beginning, I notice that my body benefits from it. It loves it. If I eat at fixed times I have less stomach ache. The late afternoon dip has disappeared and I no longer have the urge to snitch food.
By having a fixed eating rhythm, your body knows when it gets fresh food. If you don't have this, your body will do everything it can to store food in the form of a fat supply. After all, you never know when the next meal will come and the sugar level in your blood will fall below the desired level. This ensures that there is a good chance that you snack in between, that you overeat during a meal and that your body stores part of the food as fat in case it takes a very long time until the next meal.
By eating at the same time every day, your body will trust that the food will each day come at the same time. Then there is no need to build up a stock. Your body will burn everything it has eaten and your body will not ask for more than necessary. So you will be able to handle smaller portions. This is also the reason that any diet to lose weight always insists on a fixed rhythm in meals.
A fixed sleep rhythm ensures rest in the body. Since we use electricity and all kinds of illuminated screens such as tablets, TV and telephones, it is difficult to produce the necessary hormones that help us fall asleep (especially melatonin). These substances that help us fall asleep are only produced when your eyes detect that it is getting dark. By turning on the light or looking at an illuminated screen, your body does not receive that signal (that it is going to be dusk and night) and these substances will not be produced. For this it is good to go to dusk as Melanie from the Feel Good Club likes to do.
Just like dusk, a fixed sleep rhythm will also help you to make these substances that promote sleep. A fixed routine such as making and drinking a glass of golden milk or going upstairs to undress, just like dusk, give your body the signal: we are going to sleep in a moment, start producing the sleep hormones.
Going to sleep at a fixed time and getting up at a fixed time also helps with the sleep cycle (light sleep, deep sleep, dreamless sleep, REM sleep, etc.). This improves the quality, which is a necessity for people with chronic pain because they sleep too much in phase 2, so that the body does not recover and we wake up tired. To fix this, it is important not to give in to sleeping during the day.
Medications are also always taken at fixed times according to prescription. Some medicines must be taken on an empty stomach (you have the most stomach acid on an empty stomach), but at the same time every day. There are medicines that you take throughout the day. Some medicines are even delivered to the blood very gradually and constantly with a pump. This has two reasons.
The first is that a fixed level of the drug in question enters your blood and stays there. A fixed blood value is desirable, especially with medicines such as painkillers and antidepressants. Your body breaks down this drug in a certain amount of time and before it is completely broken down you take the next dose, so that the level in your blood remains approximately constant.
The second reason is that you better remember to take your medicine if you take it at a fixed time. You build it into your routine. And that brings us to point 5.
Your brain is set up for repetition. They remember everything that is repeated better. That is why we always practice a new movement very extensively. Practice makes perfect. Repetition wears out a pattern in your brain. Your brain is wired to recognize patterns. That is the power of repetition. Your brain controls your entire biorhythm (although this happens unconsciously) and a fixed rhythm in your daily activities will strengthen this and give you peace.
Your brain finds change difficult. After all, you never know what the unknown will bring. Unknown means danger. The known pattern is safe, so leave everything as it is. This is why many people automatically fall into a pattern and never get out of it. Just do it, that's crazy enough.
If you want to grow, learn or learn something new, you will have to step out of this routine into the unsafe unknown and look for change. Success lies outside your comfort zone.
Vacation is a huge break from your routine. If you also fly to another time zone, your inner clock (biorhythm) will be disturbed. We also call this jet lag.
The type of food also changes often, which causes us to suffer from (travellers') diarrhoea. We're going to sleep in so we have breakfast later, with the result that your blood sugar is lower than normal and you're rattling with appetite. Do you also have a breakfast buffet that is ready for you with all kinds of tasty things that you otherwise don't have, then your body thinks: schransen! We won't get this chance again.
Last week I went on vacation with the whole family. We had a house in which we could cook for ourselves, so no tempting breakfast buffet. I got up at the same time as usual and ate my usual breakfast. So far it went fine. But lunch and dinner went completely wrong. You are with a large group of people who do sleep late (because they are on vacation) and do not go along with the rhythm of my body. We were also sometimes at an attraction that took a little longer. So no lunch at 12 noon. Then we had to look for a restaurant after the sight, where we also had to wait patiently for our meal. For example, on a number of days we did not have lunch until 2.30 pm. Then it was also an hour later at home, so my body thought it was 3.30 pm.
Dinner was also postponed so eating at 8pm was no exception. My body absolutely couldn't handle it.
I almost fell over from the appetite and took a gluten-free bar in between if possible. My medicines were taken too late, because I have to take them with the meal. The low blood sugar and low drug levels made me very catty and sometimes even quite aggressive. Great huh? Such a vacation. I had more abdominal pain and this was also quite visible (swollen belly which made me look quite pregnant). I have a very sweet family and this was a really special holiday, but as far as I'm concerned, never again.
Please give me a routine and let me eat and take medicine at my regular times.
Do you have a regular routine? What has this brought you? Please share below in the comments.