From time to time, everyone feels like they are stuck in a rut. The predictability of the days can feel mind-numbing and unfulfilling if we find ourselves doing the same thing over and over again. Routines can lead to success and stability, but also to feeling stale and under-stimulated.
If you feel like this describes where you are right now, here are some areas in your life to pay special attention. Try giving these everyday routines a boost!
1. YOUR MORNING ROUTINE.
Wake up, snooze alarm, brush teeth, coffee machine. While these practices may remain the same, the other activities with which you fill your morning are equally as important. How we start our mornings can set up how the rest of the day flows. If we instantly flush our brain with social media and email updates, we could be setting ourselves up for a stressful and overstimulated state of mind. If we are sluggish when our body is craving movement and stretching, our physical health may suffer the consequences in the long-term.
In the coming weeks, give some different routine upgrades a try. Usually work out in the evening? Fire up a YouTube aerobic class and get moving before your morning coffee instead. Hit the snooze 10 times before getting up? Investigate alternative alarms, such as daylight alarms, to wake your body in a more gentle manner. Start your day differently!
2. YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE.
Winding down from a busy day is an art form. Answer this question for yourself: how much time do you give yourself between the moment you step away from entertainment (that includes smartphones!) and the moment your head hits the pillow? Try giving yourself a screen-free period of at least 30 minutes before retiring. Engage in actively pursuing relaxation before your slumber—this could look like a warm soak in the tub, drinking calming herbal tea, doing bedtime yoga or writing in your journal to clear your mind. Avoid going to bed stressed out, if at all possible.
3. YOUR HOUSEHOLD CHORE ROUTINE.
Between work, sleep and the other large (yet important) chunks of our day, sometimes chores and errands are the last things to which we want to devote our time. Instead of scheduling these tasks for the end of a long day, mindfully plan them so checking them off your to-do list feels like accomplishing something instead of dragging yourself through the motions. For some people, throwing in a load of laundry before heading out for the office works very well; other people may feel more at ease devoting special evening or weekend time to completing chores. Find your own groove instead of mimicking what works best for other people.
4. YOUR MINDLESS SURFING ROUTINE.
This activity can be much less healthy for us than we realize. While it might seem like scrolling through our social media feeds is entertaining and/or informative, it doesn’t engage our minds in the same way reading a book or having a conversation with a friend does. Those activities have beginnings and ends—binging TV shows on Netflix doesn’t, really. And mindless Facebook and Twitter scrolling definitely doesn’t. Give yourself a time limit for mindless scrolling—and stick to it! Purposely put the feed away and divert your focus on to more fulfilling activities.
5. YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE.
For years you’ve enjoyed a green smoothie for breakfast and listening to the news in the car on the way to work. Yet, lately that smoothie has gotten boring and the news turns you into a bundle of nerves by the time you pull into the office parking lot. Time for a refresh! Just because our old self-care methods worked for us once before doesn’t mean we are tethered to them forever. Changing up these routines is essential for true, real and actual overall self-care of the mind, body and spirit.
6. YOUR ROUTINE TO PREP FOR THE WEEK AHEAD.
Just like anything else, we need variety in our days to stay fresh and focused—and to be exposed to new ways of thinking and information. This includes how we prepare for the week. Look up some new and exciting bulk recipes to replace your same-old, same-old work lunches. Invest in a much-needed change of wardrobe. Plan a mid-week walking or hiking date with a friend to break up the 9-5 monotony. Having new and interesting things to look forward during the week is very important and keeps us curious and ready to discover new things.