Mix It Up

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on July 20, 2022 # Lifestyle

Kristin and husbandWhether you’re stuck in the monotonous routine of eight-hour workdays or similarly pointless-feeling tedium, your routine could do with a little mixing up. For most of us, the predictability of an average weekday is an asset. We set ourselves into routines because it’s helpful and safe, right? Why would we try to disrupt that?

Well of course I have reasons:

  • To make room for your personal and professional growth. Forcing yourself to find a new route to your end result will lead to you learning new things and exercising your brain.
  • To adapt and improve upon your routine to better suit the changing world. If you’re going to spend your time getting something done, do it right. The world is always changing, so you should be too.
  • To keep life exciting. No one likes to do the same thing day in and day out forever, regardless of how efficient or useful it is. If you stir things up a little bit, you leave room for something unexpected to happen. That can be as simple as waking up an hour earlier, taking a different route from work, or putting away your phone for an hour every evening. My effort is most usually reflected in the bad haircuts I’ve gotten. “Cut a few more inches off” is an exciting thing to say, but not as exciting to look at. So, “exciting” is subjective. Do whatever works for you.
  • Increased focus and memory. Going through the same motions day in and day out leads to mental exhaustion. And mental exhaustion – boredom – is a direct contributor to a loss of focus. In the same way, repetition makes our minds wander. Changes in routine will give you a refreshed outlook and ethic.

All good stuff. But now you know you should stray from your norm, how can you?

  1. Consider your routine. A routine can translate to things you do every day or to the way you think about people and stimuli. My routine is to eat avocado toast for breakfast every morning, and my routine fixation is on the cleanliness of certain things in my home. Both have gotten me in trouble recently: my avocados haven’t been ripe for days in a row, and I called the outdoor furniture my mother gave me “dirty.” The former has led to my skipping breakfast for the past few days, and the latter led to an argument. In my defense, the avocado is hard as a rock, and outdoor furniture is dirty by design. I feel justified.
  2. Look at your options. Maybe there are different ways to achieve the same goal, or maybe there are things in your routine that will challenge you when you do without. When you think about those things you do every day, consider the different directions you can take for the same result. Or throw it in the (literal or figurative) trash can.
  3. Adjust…or not. There might be some benefit in changing things up. I don’t suggest putting your car keys in a different spot when you get home from work, but maybe you’ll consider having breakfast for dinner or going to a different grocery store than usual. The purpose of a routine is to simplify your life so, if it’s frustrating or cumbersome to break it, you shouldn’t. The awareness and consideration you’ve given them to this point have benefits in themselves. I’m only challenging you to mix things up a little bit.

My broken routine might sound silly, but it’s only my first step: I deleted my weather app. And do you know what I use to predict the weather these days? My eyeballs in the sky. Where my old routine was to have the specifics of the 5-day forecast memorized and ready to shoot when my husband asks in the mornings, I now just stick my hand outside when I let my dog out in the morning, then take a gamble on which clothes to wear. It may sound silly, but it’s a freedom that I didn’t know I wanted.

Is there something in your routine that you can break, or at least jumble around? For step one, I recommend deleting your weather app.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.