When I worked at the psych rehab, most of my clients complained they felt like they were in a rut. They woke up at the same time every day, took medication, took public transportation to our day program, took classes, at lunch, went home, watched TV, ate the same dinner, fell asleep. Doing the same thing every day, no matter what that thing is, can be tiring. We become exhausted, resentful, and bored with life and its potential. There’s no reason you should ever feel like you have to stay in a rut.
It’s easy to fall into a routine. Routines are actually pretty great in a way. Have an organized schedule where you don’t have to use extra brain power to make decisions can be awesome. Lots of people choose to eat the same thing for breakfast every single day because there’s a theory that we can only make so many decisions every day, so ruling out what we’re eating is a great way to stimulate your brain and have more energy for creativity. While I think there is merit to that concept, I disagree. If I had to eat the same thing every morning I’d end up feeling insane. Even if it was a bagel with cream cheese. And I love bagels.
Doing the same thing for a while is okay. It’s usually necessary to some degree. We have to keep going to work, we have to pick up our kids from school, we have to figure out how to feed ourselves. The thing we forget is those things don’t have to be done in the same way, at the same time, or in the same order every day. We also don’t have to mix everything up all at once. You can! But sometimes just changing up one aspect of your routine is enough zest to make you feel pumped up and inspired about your life again.
Whether you work from home, in an office, outdoors, or go to school full-time there are hundreds of traps we can fall into in terms of ruts. It’s easy to sink into a routine that will ultimately become boring, it’s not easy to rise above it. I promise you, though, that changing up your routine will make your feel better. It will improve your mental health, happiness, and attitude. It’s a win-win-win.
I made you a list of 50 ways to change up your routine, and there are a million more. Remember to do things at different times, in different orders, with different mediums, with different people, in different ways. That’s all you have to do. What’s different for you might be normal-blah for someone else. You have to shake up your routine in a way that works for you!
50 Ways To Change Up Your Routine
1. Wake up early to get breakfast from somewhere you’ve never been before
2. Stand while you’re working for small periods and/or rotate between sitting, standing, and using an exercise ball as a chair
3. Go shopping for a journal and write one entry, change your format every day for a week (paragraph, haiku, song, art journal/collage, list, etc.)
4. Read a book out loud to your pet
5. Go through your closet and be harsh as you get rid of stuff, if you haven’t worn it in six months you probably aren’t going to!
6. Book a boudoir photoshoot with a professional photographer
7. Go an entire day without turning on the television, or another screen of your choosing
8. Make some kind of art on a regular piece of computer paper, when you’re done you have to hang it on your refrigerator
9. Have a conversation with a stranger while you’re waiting in line for something
10. Search online for events near you and decide on one that you’re going to go to in the next seven days (Facebook is great for this)
11. Take your lunch break to do something fun. Pack something you can eat on the go and use your hour to go to a museum or a park
12. Post positive quotes and affirmations all over your house and every time you make eye contact with one of them you have to say it out loud
13. Exercise, but do it in a new environment; that could be your house, outside, or at a gym
14. Do a guided meditation, even just for ten minutes while you’re about to go to sleep
15. Reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a while and plan a lunch date
16. Go to therapy and talk out the feelings you’ve been having lately
17. Play! Do an activity you enjoyed from your childhood
18. Say yes the next time you feel like saying no and see what happens as an experiment; or try saying yes for an entire day Jim Carrey style
19. Brush your teeth and use utensils with your non-dominant hand
20. Re-arrange the furniture in your house, the books on your shelves, and the way you store your clothes, shoes, and jewelry
21. Call out of work and take a mental health day
22. Take a new class, it can be free or paid and on any subject
23. Ask your friends for some new music and make a new playlist to listen on your commute or while you work
24. Binge-read a blog that interests you, go really far back into the archives
25. Do something that sounds scary; it doesn’t need to be a face your fears exposure therapy kind of thing, just something that’s slightly out of your comfort zone
26. Take a nap in the middle of the day
27. Go out to eat alone
28. If you can change a part of your schedule, adjust it! Go into work an hour earlier, take lunch an hour later, go to the gym on a different day
29. Take a day trip to somewhere within two hours of you
30. Do a job search and see if there’s anything out there you’d rather be doing or maybe a freelance gig you’d enjoy picking up on Upwork
31. Change the order of your routine in the shower
32. Binge watch a TV show in a different genre than you’re used to
33. Join a support group on Facebook and get some new online friends
34. Get a new hair cut, hair color, etc.
35. Play with a child for a couple hours
36. Try wearing something in a color you never wear (if you’re always in black wear neon and vice versa)
37. Take the long way home and pay attention to what you see
38. Try a cuisine you haven’t tasted yet
39. Buy a new book and try to read the entire thing in a week, bonus points if it’s the opposite of what you’re used to (fiction vs. non-fiction)
40. Eat traditional breakfast foods at dinner and vice versa
41. Do some guerrilla art in your city
42. Clean your house, or even hire someone to clean it for you — a decluttered and clean house will change your perspective
43. Ask a friend, coworker, or online buddy to be your accountability partner and check in with them every week with goals you both have; encourage each other through them
44. Volunteer at an animal shelter, library, hospital, or somewhere else you’re interested in
45. Check into a hotel for a night, even if it’s in your same city
46. Hire a professional to help you with something (personal trainer, administrative assistant, shopper, etc.)
47. Every time you say something negative, counter it with two positive things
48. Stop multi-tasking for an entire day – only focus on one thing at once for 24 hours
49. Lay out your outfit the night before or pick it out on a whim in the morning, the opposite of whatever you’re used to
50. Make a bucket list and start checking things off it!
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