Most of us have days filled with some semblance of a routine. Structured days can be beneficial. In fact, according to Headspace, “Researchers have found that routine can have far-reaching psychological benefits, including alleviating bipolar disorder, ADHD, and insomnia.” While organizing life and adhering to routines can offer a sense of peace and pave the way for more free-time, similarity can start to feel dull, even depressing after a while.
When it comes to treating ourselves or enhancing life, we often think about bigger, denser desires like a dream vacation, new piece of technology or luxurious meal. Longing and planning for future goals and desires is normal and even healthy, but we can overlook the simple, tiny measures that can enhance our every day lives. After all, small, consistent enhancements are the building blocks to significant, positive transformation.
Try Something New:
An obvious disruptor of routine is change. However, change doesn’t have to be major to be effective. Something as simple as taking a different route to work can do the trick. As we age, we experience less novelty; “first times” dwindle. This is why even small shifts in experience can lead to positive change.
“I am not the best with directions,” says Gail, a customer service representative. “However, one benefit of getting twisted around is spontaneously discovering new places. I am well acquainted with my current city nowadays, but I like taking different routes to see what’s along the way.”
Trying new things is customizable, which is the best part. Creating fresh experiences can range from taking an axe throwing course to moving your office furniture to eating lunch outside. Think of the last time you tried something new; it forces us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown, which can feel scary and exciting. While it doesn’t guarantee an amazing, life-changing experience every time, it does open yourself to possibility. Where possibility exists, so does hope.
Complimenting people is contagious. For some, receiving a compliment can feel uncomfortable but is usually appreciated nonetheless. It costs nothing to create a genuine moment of kindness. If you notice something positive about someone, try to tell them!
“When I worked as a barista, I encountered so many people every day. Working in customer service can be rough sometimes, so positive moments are a breath of fresh air,” says Sam. “One time on a packed day, someone told me they appreciated my patience and good attitude. Small moments like that make a big impact.”
The best part of complimenting someone is that it’s contagious. Making someone’s day or moment creates joy for everyone involved.
Similar to trying new things, treating ourselves is often viewed as bigger and dreamier indulgences. Luckily, treating yourself is not synonymous with breaking the bank or taking extreme measures. Try taking a moment to think of people, places, experiences and hobbies that bring you genuine joy.
“I love words of affirmation, but as a single person without a roommate who works from home most days, I don’t always receive outside validation. Treating myself looks like leaving surprise post-its with encouraging words in random spots, like the inside of my cabinet.”
While it might feel weird and even silly, showing yourself support goes a long way. As adults, we are in charge of nurturing ourselves, and that’s not always easy. Setting up small treats, whether it’s scheduling time for a movie night with your favorite snacks or taking a roadtrip with a friend to a nearby city, is an important act of self-love.
Our world is more unpredictable than ever, and having set routines can offer peace, comfort and organization amongst chaos. But, changing up your routine, even in small ways can bring about fresh experiences and new perspectives. Finding the balance between adherence to schedules and spontaneous living can be difficult. However, it is possible and fortunately doesn’t require anything too complex.
Trying new things and extending kindness to ourselves and others seems simple enough, but these practices often slip between the cracks as we try to accomplish everything on the never-ending to-do list of life. Smaller enhancements that don’t require too much energy or extraneous means are an effective starting point.
You know yourself best; customize your self-care and choose what works for you. Showing yourself kindness can be easier said than done; ultimately, actively choosing to enhance your life restores and rebalances your mind and body, while allowing you to extend more kindness to the outside world.