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Use of structure in wellness

Community Member

Hi all,

I am curious to know how people use structure in their lives to stay balanced particuarly in those with concerns with anxiety.

I myself have a relationship with anxiety and perfectionsim and have some recent life changes- moving back into my parents house to recomence study and go down a different career path, and am yet to find a good structure in my life (other than work).

In the past I have found structure important in my life, and due to moving into a less structured lifestyle, I would like to know how others do it, stick with it, and what they find beneficial, or what doesn't work about it.


9 Replies 9

Just Sara
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi and welcome ACW;

I truly get where you're coming from. I live alone and this is my downfall when it comes to routine especially. Anxiety and depression hit indiscriminately; these disorders have their own set of rules.

I don't have anyone to bring me back to times, dates and rituals that make life more organized. I find it easy to organize spaces in rooms or cupboards for instance, but as I come from a childhood environment of chaos and lack of structure, I struggle to keep up the benefits created on a 'good day' if you know what I mean.

Is this what you mean?


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Always, I think I know what you mean. I think of it as routine, but it's probably the same thing.

As someone with bipolar, my mind often leans towards disorder and disarray. Having a good routine is essential to stability for me. And when I don't have my routine (even just something like an overnight trip for work), I really struggle to keep it together.

When I'm depressed, routine goes out the window and I stay in bed, when I'm hypomanic I often decide to change things and take on something new. Both disrupt my stability and coming back to my structured middle ground of routine is absolutely necessary.

You have made some big changes in your life, and feel you are in an unstructured lifestyle at the moment. I suggest you build structure in again. If needs be, explain to your family etc just how important it is to you. That you're not being difficult, you're trying to help yourself.

Best wishes


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

HI Always curiously wondering and welcome to the forums

I too have anxiety and sometimes feel like I try and manage my life kinda around my anxiety. I try make sure I don't do a job too stressful. But at the same time I try not let it hold me back. I had a dream to study and become a dietitian and I did it. I have finally gotten my dream job (yeah a bit slow start but still amazing and I love it). I try make sure I manage my anxiety but still try and follow my dreams. I think it is important to try and do both. It can be hard at times but it can be done. Anxiety can be managed and you can live with it. I think everyone gets anxious and everyone tries to manage it in their own way. They sleep in when they go to bed early etc.

Welcome to the forums and hope to see you around more

Hi Sara,

Thank you for your post.

Yes, structure in life in the form of routine is what I am referring to. And I supose the main things I was wanting to know is what routine does for people (is it helpful or not), how much or little of a routine people have, and maybe some examples of what they do, say in the morning when they wake up, or before going to sleep.

I feel as though having routine is vital for me to stay well. Although when things are going well I can find no need for routine, or for it to be too boring, and hence not stick with it.

I too like to keep spaces tidy & organised, but this can quickly slip, resulting in me feeling guilty or avoiding the task (making it worse!)... perhaps my standards are too high!

Hi Kaz,

Thankyou for your post, it was very helpful and open! Yes, routine is what I meant, and I do believe it is important for me to keep balanced.

Are you able to share some examples of your routine, or even how you keep it up when not feeling like it?


Hiya Always - happy to share, though they are mundane things and mean I live a very quiet life! 😀

A really important one for me is to go to bed around the same time each night - about 9.30. If I'm up late, or go out, I tend to be a bit useless in the morning. I also have to take medication at the same time each day, and my wonderful hubby is often my memory there.

I'm usually knackered at night (I work, he cooks). Even if I don't feel like it, we eat around the same time. That goes for during the day too. During the day I sometimes forget, but I know if I don't eat I lose concentration (and I have enough trouble with that as it is). And even if I'm tired, I try to get my lunch for the next day ready at night, so I don't panic in the morning.

If possible, I iron on Sunday afternoons so I have clothes ready for the week. If it's not possible, my hubby usually does it for me during the week (wonderful man ... did I mention that?).

I'm forgetful, so I have a list for my handbag for the morning - wallet, glasses, drugs, sunglasses, notebook, car keys. I check they're all there before bed. I guess it's about knowing things are in order so I can be calm and just get ready to go.

I try (not always successfully) to stay away from Facebook and other social media after about 7pm. Otherwise my brain gets too busy. That's just quiet time then, reading or watching something mindless on TV.

Cleaning gets done when it gets done, and usually not by me, bless him.

One thing I've learned to do is say no to most invitations, especially if I don't want to go, which is usually. If I do have to go to something I don't want to go to, or if something I'm at makes me cranky, it rattles me. So if I can't get out of it I leave early. I have given up a lot of social activities because I need rest more than I need, for example, to sing bad blues and gospel songs 😀.

Between us, hubby and I do pretty much the same things day in and day out, including a nap in the afternoons on weekends, and pottering around the garden at any opportunity.

I sound like such a nanna, but my quiet life keeps me centred and stable and I'm very happy in it. Especially in my garden.

I don't know if that's helpful, probably sounds very boring - but I think it's about minimising stress, having no surprises, being able to predict things. You can't always, but I find a very settled life makes it easier to deal with the unexpected.



Thanks Kaz, thats really helpful.

I enjoy hearing how different people do things, even if its the everyday things-commonly I feel that these 'boring' things in routine are the things that keep us sane!

I really liked the time off social media at a certain time, and also the simple things like ironing and getting lunch together ( I need to be better with my clothes!)

It sounds like you have great knowledge of what works for you and keeps things as good as they can be- how awesome!

Thanks again.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Hi! I think a really great idea is to surround yourself with a schedule, a proper going to sleep and waking up time really helps me. Each day I try and do something nice for myself as well, like meeting a friend for coffee or making myself a smoothie or another treat. Sometimes before I go to sleep at night I write down a list of things I want to do the next day. I try and fit a bit of exercise in every day (even if it's just a walk around the block). I play clarinet so try and do some of that. If you have a list of a few hobbies you enjoy doing and write down a few goals within those hobbies that can really help as well! I'd say the main tips I have for maintaining a schedule would be to set goals, give yourself rewards when you reach them, carve a small part of the day out for exercise and do something nice for yourself as well. Also I don't wait for motivation, I just trust that when I start to chip away at the schedule that it will feel good and I'll feel accomplished (even if I have no motivation to do anything that day). Also forgiving yourself if you slip up is okay too, we all have those days when we just need to relax. We're human and absolutely not perfect. Wishing you all the best.

Community Member

Hi Always Curiously,

Congrats on the big decision to go back to study.

The reply posts all give you some good strategies. One thing I thought resonated for me when reading your original post was your reference to perfectionism. As an over achiever on study/work fronts I have done well as a result of my drive for perfectionism. But my singular focus on being the most structured, the most organised right across my whole life puts lots of stress on me when I am not doing great. So I become anxious about the mundane things not being done according to my structured plan. One thing I did was to "triage" - put structure around stuff I can do, and try and acknowledge my lack of capacity on covering all of the things. Let alone perfectly.

As my husband and I are both grappling with our own black dogs right now, we made the decision to get a cleaner and take our ironing to someone to do it. We then structure our week around getting the washing done, the groceries, dogs fed. The house will be clean and the ironing done - but not by us. We both work full time and so we can afford this luxury (something I know many are not lucky to have). But we have come to realise that we need lots of emotional energy as we focus on recovering from the trauma of multiple miscarriages and years of unsuccessful ivf, so we put the structure into some stuff and outsource others.

It really helps us feel like we have the basic structure of weekly functioning covered - food, clothes washed and pressed, house clean. It takes some of the noise out of our system and I know makes me feel calmer because I have a strong perfectionist streak and feel much happier knowing some key stuff that makes me unsettled when it piles up, is being taken care of.

As a perfectionist, I find I use structure across my life to put a lot of pressure on myself to do it all perfectly. I am learning that there is some stuff I can reach out for others to help with so I can still tick off my structured list, but have built in room if I just can't get it all done myself because I (or hubby) need our physical and emotional energy for other stuff some days too.

good luck in your studies!