“You often feel tired, not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
– – Alexander Den Heijer
Dinnertime is always an interesting one in our house. We have nights of complete silliness around the table, laughing about celebrities, talking about crushes, or listening to random venting sessions about everyone’s day. But then there are those nights that bring deep thought. Conversations that bring a look on everyone’s face that they’re really pondering the words just expressed. This was the scenario just the other night.
We were sitting there chatting, enjoying a new dish I has prepared, when Emma Grace said, “You know, tomorrow is just today but a today that is tomorrow.” (She is quite insightful, that one.)
Then Addison, the ever-additive one, concluded and explained to Emma Grace, “That’s called a rut… when you feel like every day is the same.”
Not one is out of high school yet and they’re already feeling this way??
I tried to offer a bit of advice by saying, “That’s when you do something different. It doesn’t have to be huge. Just something small like this new recipe for dinner!” I had made a new dish from a vegetarian cookbook recently purchased. My oldest is a vegetarian, so I try to cook meals that will fit her eating style too.
But it got me thinking… How can one get themselves out of a rut? We all have very busy schedules and feel time is limited, so whatever ways are available MUST be quick or small. Little things to give us that boost we need to get the wheels moving forward again.
Our dinner conversation was just the jumpstart I needed, because I too was feeling this way. Every day the same. Same wake-up routine. Same drive to work. Same long day of patients to be seen. Same dinner meals and nightly routine. All of which is necessary for our daily lives to go smoothly, however it was all beginning to feel very monotonous. Even my shower routine was starting to feel robotic.
Something had to give.
Since I had just enjoyed trying a new recipe for dinner (even though it didn’t win accolades with the family), I came to the conclusion that little things DO matter!
Now I know this already from other experiences and from simply witnessing life in general. But sometimes you need a reminder. We all need a wake-up call every now and then to remind us we’re not alone, nor are we stuck or need to fall in line with monotony. So (thanks to my brilliant girls and their little ways of teaching ME about life) I began to brainstorm little things to help break us out of our cycle of routine. Just a bit. No need to throw everything off, just an added moment here and there to bring life back into the day when it feels too hum-drum-y.
1 Surround yourself in color. Colored pens. Colored stickies. Colored artwork. Colored clothing. Color is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance moods and even influence physiological reactions. Our feelings about color tend to be deeply-rooted in our culture and upbringing and can have very personal meanings. But, in general, adding color excites or calms our senses. It’s just up to us to choose which color(s) will serve our soul. Or have the entire rainbow at your side! Whatever you feel brightens your surroundings.
2 Get outside. Even for just 10-15 minutes a day. Fresh air does amazing things for the soul. When you step outside and take a deep breath, the surrounding natural world cleanses you from the inside out. (Unless you live in a concrete-bound, highly busy city – then try to find a park or less busy area with some greenery around to take a moment.) Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces feelings of anger, fear and stress AND can also facilitate feelings of peace, serenity and well-being. It’s been proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. So go spend some time outdoors!
3 Play music. I’m a firm believer in the power of music. Music has a beautiful way of relaxing the mind and energizing the body. And when you find a song that resonates with your soul or speaks to your heart, it brings you back to life. Whether it’s reggae or country, new age or classical, play it loud! Or softly, if you’d rather. Let it sink in and wash away any dullness or stagnation inside.
4 Take a different route to work. Just like adding color into your day, taking a back road or a road less driven by you on a “normal” basis adds newness. Sparks creativity and inspires the brain to think in a slightly new way. New sights, new paths, new views always spark creativity in me. So go ahead, take the road less driven to work. But for your co-workers sake… leave a few minutes early so you’re not late:)
5 Try a new recipe or better yet… have DESSERT for dinner! Again, switch it up. We all have a tendency to get stuck in routine – what’s easy – especially during a busy week, we revert back to the tried and true. I’m not knocking the tried and true! We, for one, have spaghetti every Tuesday night! It’s the one night that’s easy and I don’t have to think about dinner. It’s planned. It works and everyone loves it. BUT it’s nice to try something different. Add a veg or try to go meatless. Look for a recipe that excites your tastebuds and go for it!
6 Rearrange an area in your home or office. Once again, it doesn’t have to be a huge change. Just move something to a new place or add something new that ignites a smile within you. Feeling a sense of newness freshens-up the space where you reside and gives you that little bit of excitement to feel inspired. I recently rearranged cookbooks in my kitchen. It wasn’t a big reorganization that would surprise anyone who walked in, but it was just enough of a change to bring in the bit of novelty I was craving.
7 Change your nightly routine somehow – eat dinner outside, take a nice bath (if you normally shower), go for a walk in the moonlight, or sit in a different chair to watch your favorite evening show. One small change could possibly be all it takes to get your mind moving in new directions.
We all go through days, weeks, months even, of feeling stuck – in a rut. And it’s very easy to let yourself go down that spiral of feeling helpless, like there’s no way around the things that you have to do. But there IS a way and you CAN do little things throughout your day to help get the inspiration flowing again.
Try the ones that work for me, the ones listed above. Or create some yourself. Whatever little change you can bring to your day that lifts your spirit. And please share in the comments below! I’d love to know what works for you!