Forgetting about routines, having the freedom to do what we want when we feel like it… those long days of Summer are ideal to live like that: more slowly, more spontaneous.
Not having to restrict ourselves to specific schedules and being open to improvisation are parts of the perfect recipe for disconnection and relaxation. However sooner or later the time comes to snap back to reality and a more formal rhythm.
How can we maintain the feeling of freedom from the summer in our days marked by schedules and repetitive obligations? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could start to enjoy our routines instead of seeing them as boring and monotonous obligations?
Here is an easy step-by-step way to fall back in love with your routines.
Analyze what works for you
If you just had a wonderful summer, you will still remember which were the most memorable and pleasant moments for you. Did you love taking the time to shoot the perfect picture of the sunset over the fishing wharf? Did you lose sense of time during that impressive mountain hike? Did you get swallowed up by the sound of the ocean waves? Do you smile remembering the long talks with relatives you hadn’t seen for months?
Since you can’t bring the beach home nor move mountains, you need to be practical. The challenge consists of identifying the common denominator in your pleasant moments. What is the key element that makes your routine days something special? Nature? Taking care of yourself? Silence? Creativity? The people? The good food? Taking the time to simply be without doing anything? Our routines are only sad if they don’t leave room for those small moments of pleasure. Transforming your routine starts with finding the small replicas of big moments you experienced in your free time. Yes, you can have a fruity cocktail on a Tuesday afternoon on an improvised deck chair listening to chill-out music. You can use your mobile phone camera to capture special moments any time of year- after all the sun does set every day! Do you know the best part of your city to watch it? Do you take time to stop and see? It isn’t about trying to make it the same; it’s about getting back those mini-moments of pleasure that are within reach, without judging if they are as good as something you can only have once or twice a year.
Look for small variations within the repetitive:
Activate your curiosity and creativity to discover new ways of doing your day-to-day. If you discovered the pleasure of listening to an audiobook while lying on the beach, why not listen to one while ironing? If you loved the exotic food that you tried for the first time, promise yourself to try a strange restaurant once a month or sign up to a YouTube channel that can teach you to cook new recipes at home. It is proven that the search for small variations in our daily lives is fundamental to our happiness. Repetition is only dangerous if we assume that things are always the same. Each day is different and we can discover many aspects to enrich what may seem monotonous. If you have children, allow them to show you a different view from their natural curiosity- it can connect you with the constant flow of changes in life. Play ‘Find the Differences’ on your daily commute, whether or not you have kids. Ask yourself in the morning ‘what small change could I make today?’ Put away your mobile and look out the window on the bus, turn up the radio and sing- even in the middle of a traffic jam, smile at the other people getting on the metro just because, try to give back a bit of humanity to those daily interactions with strangers… with a bit of creativity you will end up seeing that getting out of the routine is all about attitude, the attitude of not conforming to a repetitive life.
Question what you do automatically:
Sometimes routine gobbles us up without us even noticing and it makes us do things without even knowing why. The weeks go by and we get lost in what we’ve done a certain way forever. Start to question your habits. What is something you do every day that doesn’t really add anything to your life? Are there some routines that have lost their sense? Realize that we have automatisms that don’t add anything to our lives (like turning on the news at dinnertime, sending messages instead of calling, going to the grocery store Saturday morning, reading emails instead of focusing on more important things, spending hours on social media instead of reading a good novel or postponing story time with the kids for another day when we are less tired…). Turn on an alarm every hour and when it goes off ask yourself ‘what am I doing? Does it make sense? Do a critical revision of your routines and find out if they are really useful for you. Choose the routine that seems the most absurd to you and…
Get rid of what isn’t working
Out with the things you’ve outgrown, gotten too big or aged. Just like we go through our closet to get rid of the clothes we no longer like, we should do the same with our routines. Perform a Spring cleaning of your routines to leave more space for what’s really important. Remember that there are many ways to do things. The key is in doing a bit less of what doesn’t make sense to be able to do more of what does. You will be surprised by the time you can free up when you start to get rid of your old habits without sense.
To get back the spark of your routines, find a good balance between the routine and the new. Even if your obligations and routines won’t ever totally disappear, remember that you can always choose how you will face them. Make your day to day more enjoyable each month and you will have a great year, whatever the season!
If you're still struggling, call us to make an appointment with a Sinews professional!