Routine (not monotony)

The month of September is starting, and in the northern hemisphere, the summer is now at an end, or getting very close to it: it´s the moment to get back to a routine.

Calendar sheet for the month of September, on a pink pastel surface, surrounded by groups of dried flowers and small ornaments

What goes through your mind when you hear or read this word, routine? I get the impression that many of us, at least the adults, have a love-hate relationship with it…

Of course, for children this is also the moment to get back to a routine: it´s back to school time, or will be very soon, depending on the country. What´s interesting with kids is that, because they´re growing, their routine keeps changing every year, it´s never exactly the same. Each school year brings new activities, new excitement, and new challenges; it´s a brand-new adventure.

And for adults? Well, it depends. As we don´t always “move up to the next class”, for us it may seem that we´re coming back to exactly the same routine as always, the same job, the same people, the same obligations… The truth is that some of those things do change, but they may not stand out enough for us to notice. And if during the holidays we´ve been able to “escape” from a job or environment that we didn´t enjoy much, we may not be looking forward to getting back there now.

But the thing is, like children, adults also thrive in a routine, it helps all of us to stay much more centered. We, humans, are creatures of habit.

So then, why do we dislike this time of the year so much?

Could it be that we confuse routine with monotony?

A routine provides structure to our day and week, it´s like the framework where we can place our different tasks and activities. And even if some of those tasks and activities are imposed from the outside, many others are not, so we have some flexibility to adapt, make changes, experiment, and see what happens.

Now that we´re just starting the cycle again, it´s a good moment to introduce small changes in our daily routine, starting with simple things that can translate into big results. For example, here are a few suggestions to start your day on the right foot:

  • Breathing consciously
  • Planning/visualizing your day
  • Reading an inspiring book
  • Writing down your thoughts
  • Repeating positive affirmations
  • Being thankful for what you already have
  • Meditating for a few minutes
  • Doing some yoga or stretching
  • Going out for a walk or run, playing a sport…
  • Preparing a special breakfast for yourself

All of these are beneficial at any time of the day; my suggestion is to dedicate the first time slot of the day to them (to YOU), before speaking to anybody else, and before reaching out for your mobile phone, so that you start your day from a place of intention, instead of just reacting to whatever happens to you.

What are your thoughts? What new activities and challenges are you going to add to your daily routine this year, to avoid falling into monotony?

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