When September comes it can sometimes feel like the whole world just comes at you in a rush but I think it’s safe to say that most of us like getting back to the comfort of routine.

If you’ve got a good routine going—say a morning routine of pray/meditation/yoga, exercise, shower, dress, breakfast and go—like me  (okay, you can stop laughing now) you’re probably in a great place with no fuzzy head wondering what you are going to do next. A good routine can free up space in your day to accomplish whatever it is that you wish to achieve. Good routines provide structure to your day. They also can save your sanity.

Regarding my sanity…err…routine I do strive to be as organized as possible—I usually start preparing for the next day from the evening before—but life around here can be a little unpredictable. This is why the ‘How to…’ lists in books and blogs on achieving the perfect life don’t really cut it for me. None of the life gurus writing the ‘lists’ seem to live with the challenging behaviours of an autistic teen!

Believe me, it’s no mean feat to get my fifteen year old son washed, fed and packed off to school with all his needs while allowing time for his obsessions—arranging and rearranging toys, closing some doors, opening others, making sure the bathroom towel is hanging a certain way, leaving objects that he is attached in a certain way, in a certain place, one by one…I could continue but I trust you get the picture? Now you know why I was joking earlier! So, even though I may have planned ten minutes mediation all hell can break loose in the next room. I try to keep calm and carry on but usually instinct kicks in and I jump and run…

Autistic children have rigid routines that are difficult for us to understand just as our routines are difficult for them to understand and so the expert advice from a self-help guru might not work for me. They may perhaps advise me to get up an hour earlier. Hmm…well…since I never really get to sleep until twelve and wake up at 3am, 4am and 5am—due  to my son’s nocturnal habits—by  6.30am I really only want to turn over but instead I have to get up to start my daily routine all over again. Somehow, I have to create a routine that works for me and mine.

Perhaps there are challenges in your life that prevent you from completing the perfect routine and if so, I’m a firm believer in cutting out a healthy routine regardless of the difficulties you may face on a daily basis.  If you can manage to create a routine that can

  • put some daily tasks on autopilot,
  • help you avoid unhealthy habits
  • bring order and a little creativity to your life
  • promote good self-care
  • give you a daily dose of R & R


then I don’t think you need to follow anyone else’s list other than your own.  Creature of habit or not… it’s the little things that make certain days better than others. Being organized as well as I can be is one of mine.

There is something about daily routine that gives us comfort. Of course, when it comes to choice between freedom and routine, the proverbial grass is always greener. In the midst of routine we seek freedom and in the midst of freedom we crave routine. The solution is to enjoy each moment as it comes while getting back to routine and living in the present which is an ongoing challenge but it’s one that we can engage in right here, right now.


Aileen McGee


(620 words)