Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How a Structured Routine Can Help Depression


How a Structured Routine Can Help Depression


The Benefits of a Structured Routine to People with Depression

Depression can affect anyone: whether someone has lost a loved one, guilt from addictions, or even not caused by any event or one thing. It can be a common side effect of a pre-existing condition like how alcoholism or taking birth control pills can cause depression. Even former alcoholics who attempt to live a sober life can fall into the grasps of depression. People who suffer from depression often feel like they have no control over their daily lives or their futures. They feel like they are aimlessly drifting through life and a victim of circumstance.

However, they may regain a sense of normality and overcome the worst of their depression if they have a set schedule to follow each day. You can help yourself or someone else with depression by learning about the benefits that come from a structured daily routine.

Familiarity and Predictability

People with depression often say that they feel like they have no control over their daily lives. This feeling of helplessness induces anxiety and worry that aggravate the symptoms of their illness.

When they have a structured routine to follow each day, people with this illness may find comfort having predictable and familiar tasks to tackle and accomplish. This familiarity gives them a sense of purpose and control that they would otherwise miss without a set daily routine.


In the same sense, a set routine gives depressed people something to focus on each day. They know what tasks lay ahead of them when they get up in the morning. They also know what needs to be done before they go to bed that night.

When establishing this routine for yourself or your loved one, it is important that you do not include tasks that are difficult or overwhelming. Even the slightest failure can deter the depressed individual from carrying out the routine and set him or her back on the path to recovery.


A set routine also allows the depressed person to take care of necessities that otherwise might not be addressed if this individual has no structured schedule each day. From the time that person gets up in the morning until the time he or she goes to bed, this person will take care of everything that is necessary and beneficial to allowing him or her to live normally.

The necessities can include basics like making the bed or brushing his or her teeth to doing the dishes and taking out the garbage. Despite how inconsequential these necessities may seem to others, they are vital to allowing the depressed individual to enjoy a certain amount of normality each day despite his or her illness.

Example of a Structured Routine

So what is a structured routine comprised of and how can you implement it into the life of a depressed person? The routine should reflect the capabilities and understanding of the depressed person. It should also be realistic and even simple to accomplish on a daily basis.

An example of a structured routine might look like:

7:00 a.m.: Wake up
7:15 a.m.: Make the bed
7:30 a.m.: Eat breakfast
7:45 a.m.: Shower, brush teeth and comb hair
8:30 a.m.: Leave for work
12:00 p.m.: Eat lunch
5:00 p.m.: Come home
5:15 p.m.: Walk the dog
5:45 p.m.: Make and eat dinner
7:00 p.m. Do the dishes
7:30 p.m.: Brush teeth
8:30 p.m.: Get ready for bed
9:00 p.m.: Bedtime

This routine may seem basic and even common sense for most people. However, people with depression find comfort in the predictability and simplicity of it. A structured daily routine can help someone with this illness adapt to and eventually overcome his or her depression.


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