We all get stuck in routines. For the most part, routines are actually good for us. They give us structure, alleviate stress, make us more productive, and offer a bit of security in our lives. I love having a routine and a to-do list most days, lest I shuffle from room to room, taking a break to scroll Instagram here, clean out a drawer there, and then wonder, “how will I ever get it all done??” Ok, I still wonder that sometimes, but I’ve accepted there will always be more to do, that’s life, and life is a g*d d*mn blessing.
We can, however, get stuck in a rut and become stagnant when we stick to the same routine for too long. I was recently reminded of this while out of town in Southern California (you can see pictures from my trip, other adventures, and projects I’m working on by following me on Instagram @SarahSaweikis )
I almost canceled my trip the night before. I was so worried about visiting a new area that some people consider “gritty,” I was so stressed about getting sick, spending money, and if this was the right thing to do. Then, I do what I always do, which is turn off all the distractions, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, put my hands on my belly, and listen to my gut.
My intuition never steers me wrong. I ask it a question, and usually if it doesn’t agree with something, there will be a slight nervous, twisty sensation, like a quiet alert, and if my gut says yes, it is calm and trusting. My gut said go, so I went, and it was life-giving, and better than I imagined.
Somehow, someway, I spent a night at the Four Star Westin Longbeach for two star prices. I walked into the marble and gold lobby with a 40ft living wall of plant art and thought, “am I in the right place?” I could see the ocean from my hotel room, and looked down over an enormous fountain at the Long Beach Terrace Theater that changed colors at night. I couldn’t believe my luck. Thank you, gut!
I soaked in the street art and architecture, took pictures of palm trees and hibiscus, and inhaled the scent of plumeria on the warm breeze, which appear to grow like weeds in the concrete. I stumbled upon a couple of DJs playing a live funk/soul/house music set to a small park and had to stop it was that good.
I enjoyed top-tier people watching, and met some characters and honest-to-goodness Earth Angels. I brought my roller skates and skated the length of the city to take in as much as I could in my short time.
On my second night, I stayed at the Historic Broadlind Hotel, which, while not as luxurious as the Westin, was magical in it’s own way, with gorgeous architecture, excellent interior design, and a perfect location for taking in the Arts District. I also swear a ghosted touched my hand one night. It felt friendly, and historic indeed.
When You’re Feeling Unspired and You’re Not Sure Why
Maybe life has become monotonous for you. Maybe you are bored with your routine, and you’re craving a little excitement, a new experience, or fresh perspective.
Maybe your creativity is stalled and you’re looking for inspiration. Maybe you’re tired all the time, and it’s time to shake things up.
I highly recommend switching up your routine. You don’t have to get out of town, you can do it from the comfort of your home.
Switching up our routines helps remind us there are always different ways to do things, different ways of life, new things to see and experience, and helps us reevaluate our own routines and lives and see where we could use some adjustments.
When you switch up your routine, you are forced to use your brain in new ways instead of going on autopilot. This automatically is like hitting the reset button in your brain.
When we’re running on autopilot for too long, we run the risk of stifling our creativity and getting stuck in our ways.
Shaking up our routines helps us evolve and improve.
Here Are Some Ways You Can Change Up Your Routine:
<3 Get out of town for a few days. Obviously, this can be tricky with COVID restrictions, but wear a mask, visit somewhere where masks are required and the norm, wash your hands, keep your distance, carry hand sanitizer, open windows and take advantage of fresh air, and steer clear of crowds.
<3 Change up your morning routine. If you grab your phone first thing in the morning and start scrolling, consider leaving it in a drawer until noon and doing something else instead. Try meditating, journaling, and stretching. If you always work out in the afternoon, try working out right after waking up (or after coffee.) You could go for a nature walk with coffee first thing in the morning, or decide to put on some jams and dance. Switch it up for a whole week.
<3 Get in your car and go without a plan. Bring snacks, masks, your phone charger, and a tank full of gas and start driving. You could even pack an overnight bag if you’re feeling frisky. Let your gut lead the way and go on an adventure.
<3 Make it your job to explore parts of your city you’ve never seen before. It’s highly unlikely you’ve seen every road, every business, every restaurant and every neighborhood your city has to offer. Set out and find some new hidden gems.
<3 Hike somewhere you’ve never been. Nature is so good at revitalizing us, and taking in nature you’ve never seen is always a welcome retreat from daily life.
<3 Go to the water! Drive to the beach. Find a new swimming hole. Use Swimply (an Airbnb for pools) and rent a pool for a day. Go canoeing or kayaking or buy some inflatable tubes and float a day away.
<3 Meet new people, or re-connect with old friends. You can use the internet and meet-up apps to find new friends, dates, or people with similar interests as you. Or, go through your contacts list and see who you’re inspired to interact with.
<3 Make travel plans. If you’re not comfortable traveling at this very moment, I completely respect that. You can still make future travel plans, research resorts, cities, where to explore, where you’ll eat, and what you’ll wear. You don’t have to put anything in the books, but it can be fun to dream up your escape, and if you save information and take notes, by the time you’re ready to book, it’ll be a breeze!
<3 Dream big. One of my favorite things to do is go to Realtor.com and look for my Malibu dream house. Allow yourself to really fantasize about your dream job, your dream home, what art is on the walls, what’s growing in the garden, what’s stocked in your refrigerator (or wine cellar!) and what’s inside your closet. Kids play in fantasy worlds all the time. We can, too.
<3 Change up your look. Switch up your makeup, go through your closet and put together some wild new looks. Even if you’re not leaving your house, it can be inspiring to get all dolled up and connect with an alter ego. Play around!
The Time Is Now
If life feels a little stagnant, it’s time to switch it up. You don’t have to move across the country or travel abroad, but you can find ways to shake up your routine just enough to get your mojo back. I highly, highly recommend it.