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The Power of Forming (and Keeping) Routines

How to manage stress in life

Some people may believe having routines to be boring and monotonous. What's so great and fun about doing the same thing day in and day out? Well, the truth is establishing a routine and getting into the habit of doing it actually frees you from the stress of knowing there's something you should be doing.

Enter FlyLady

Around the year 2000, I was having issues with organization in my home. I looked online and somehow this cute little cartoonish lady character with wings touting the virtues of routines. She was called FlyLady (Fly = Finally Loving Yourself), and she promised to bring me out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anybody Over Syndrome.)
She not only succeeded with that, but she helped me out of a bad relationship that I had been determined to work out. No, she never actually talked to me, and she didn't say, "LuAnne, you need to leave."
Instead, she guided me step by step through building a routine that I could follow no matter how busy, how depressed, or how frustrated I became with my situation.
She made things fun, and in a way held me accountable. Every day I got emails about what should be done that day. At the same time, she said "You're never behind. Start where you are and do one babystep at a time." As she says on the Beginner's Page, "We are here to lift you up and celebrate every little accomplishment."
She encouraged people to write in to her with their accomplishments. One day I did that, and got back in an email a HUGE purple email saying nothing more than  "I am so proud of you!" And I do mean huge – big enough that I still remember, and wish I still had it to look at every once in a while.

27 Fling Boogie Uncovers Success

Through the 27 Fling Boogie, the 2 minute pickup, and various other little work-games, not only did I make my home more comfortable to live in, but I made room for my self-esteem to grow.
psychological benefits of routinesHow could routines possibly do all that? During all these daily flings, she pointed to various areas to fling from, and it got down to where I was getting rid of things I had held onto from decades ago. 
Things I didn't love went to GoodWill or the trash. Boxes were emptied or combined that had been sitting for 30 years.
I remember one particular day when I had finished going through all the old boxes in the garage, all the kitchen mismatched stuff was gone, only pens that work were in pen holders, videos were alphabetized…the list went on of things organized.
Now this might be no big deal for some people. But for me, someone who has a hard time succeeding well at anything, this brought on a near panic attack. I remember the feeling coming over me of "Oh my gosh! What am I going to do now!?" This brought on because I had succeeded at my goal.
Hmmmm…that makes me wonder if I might still have that issue!

Are You Ready for an Emergency?

How does this story help you? Do you live in an area where you might have to evacuate quickly some day, or could a move be in your future where it would be easier and cost less to HAVE less to move? Or, would you just like your home and your life to be clutter-free?
You may already have a routine that works for you. If you do, is there something that you need help with that an additional good habit might help? Try adding that to your routine. These habits can be formed not only for housework, but for work-work (working for a company), the self-employed, teachers, holiday preparation (hint- begin holiday prep now) – her help covers everyone.

Routines = Less Stress and More Peace of Mind

For example, for the self-employed, sometimes it is hard to do the things you need to do to succeed in your business. 
  • Write down what you need to do to reach your goal. 
  • Find a time in your day (first thing is best) and do it…every day. 
  • Then find the next thing you need to do. 
That is your new routine.
Another benefit of creating routines is that studies have shown that routines can help deal with mental health issues even as serious as dealing with bipolar disorder and substance abuse. 
If you need help developing routines, you can go to www.flylady.net to sign up at no cost or just to check out what she's about. If you'd like her book to get you started, you can read her book, Sink Reflections, also located over on the right column.
Believe me, as the clutter disappears, whether from your refrigerator, your coffee table, your bedroom floor, your body or all the things you need to do are freed from your mind, it is like peeling layers of an onion away from your stress little by little. It is such a freeing feeling.
And THAT has to be good for your blood pressure!

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P.S.  One of the BEST foods for controlling high blood pressure is BEETS. You may or may not like beets tho, and they sure can be a pain to fix, right? I’ve found the easiest way to eat beets is this way.