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Embrace a Routine

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

**Disclaimer: I realize that unfortunately there are people in our community who may not have the resources available to them to have access to proper nutritious and helpful foods. There are also people who, although they have the financial capacity to acquire nutritious foods, may see food in general as a stressor or a trigger for unpleasant reactions or thoughts.

Please see this series as simply a guide to be observed as just that. You are not a failure if you cannot or do not make these suggestions a part of your life.

Simply continue to do the best that you can manage every day. That is enough.

Finding a routine that suits you and your surroundings can be a challenge in and of itself. It can be daunting to think about forming new habits when taking life as it comes day by day is hard enough. While I won't say these things aren't true, I will say that if you can harness a little energy and mental space to sit with yourself to put some sort of routine into motion, it will get easier to keep it going the more you do it.

Routines can help you in your mental health journey by providing a sense of structure in your day and in your week. Whether that be aiming to go for a walk in the mornings, reading for an hour before bed to avoid screen time, or planning out meals to have during the week, any small attempt towards a routine will help to calm your mind and nourish your body. My main focus in this short writing will be on creating a routine with your food and eating habits as much as you can. (I understand that the guarantee and frequency of food is not something we all have the security of. I also know there are community members who have eating disorders where food may be a point of anxiety.) Knowing what your relationship with food is can be a big help in planning around when you may have cravings, binge/fasting triggers, etc. If you have not read that blog entry yet, click here and then come back to this one when you are finished.

There are four steps in a basic meal routine I would like to go over with you

  • No Pressure Meal Planning

  • Grocery Shopping

  • Meal Prep

  • Practicing Mindful Eating

I will explain each of these very briefly here but in the next series, I will go more into depth to not only dive into the benefits of this but also some examples for you to try yourself.

No Pressure Meal Planning

Think about the week you have coming up. What do you have going on? When and where will you be able to have your meals? Are there some things you know coming up that will make you more anxious around food? Admittedly, this first step can seem like a big first step. But take it in pieces. If you have never tried meal planning before, start small. Think about breakfast for 3 days. Is there something you can do today to ensure that you can either prepare breakfast easily or have it already made? You can also make two ideas of things you can make for breakfast just in case when you go to the grocery store some items are missing. Having a plan B will help you avoid feelings of disappointment or failure when you are trying your best to start a new routine. But have patience with yourself and the process of beginning something new. If you try it one week and not the next, that's totally OK, just do your best and keep trying.

Grocery Shopping Shopping can be such a stressful time, especially when you don't have a list and are aimlessly wandering the shelves expecting to find some inspiration. With a Meal Plan set out you can make a tailored shopping list for only what you need. This will also help you avoid buying things you have the best intentions to use, but then forget about and only cause feelings of guilt.

Meal Prep Now that you have acquired your items, it is time to put the meals together so that in the days to come they are either ready to be cooked or ready to eat. Doing this in advance could be as simple as boiling eggs for breakfast or slicing up cucumber for a snack. When you are feeling up to it you can even prepare and cook a lasagna that will be ready to cut up and reheat for a few dinners during the week. If there is a day during the week when you can usually count on having an hour or two to prepare your food, then you could put that on your calendar as your meal prep day. This will allow you to slowly build up your routine on the following days.

Practicing Mindful Eating

This Is the final step, isn't it - eating! But how often have you taken the time before a meal to take it in with your eyes and your nose before simply eating it? However the food in front of you came to be there; whether that be by your own preparation, from friends, a cafeteria, or a gift from a stranger, try to take a moment to sit and mindfully eat your food. Being thankful for food, for whatever nutrients or energy it will provide your body. Chewing slowly so that your body can absorb and break down your food more efficiently. Not only will this practice be good for your body, but it will also bring some calm into your day as well. Which will in turn be helpful for your digestion, as our body has more difficulty digesting food when our cortisol (stress) levels are high.

Those four steps were briefly explained, but I want you to start thinking about this before I explain these ideas in more detail. Think about how this could help you in your day-to-day. If you agree with me that it can, then start considering when and where you could fit it into what you already have going on. With each of the writings, I will include printable documents of either some charts to fill in, possible recipe ideas with a shopping list, and some meditative mantras to think about when preparing and eating your food.

Wishing you health and peace,


© 2020 Go With Goals

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