Shake up the routine by trying new things

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Are you in a rut? Does every day seem almost the same? Talking with friends lately has made me wonder if this is a common malady, especially for those of a certain age.

I'm not sure if my dull routine is age-related, or if it's simply life-related.

Nearly every day, I wake up at the same time and go through the same routine. Shower, dress, gather work items, drive to work, eat breakfast, get coffee, do my work, eat lunch, do more work, come home, chat with husband, eat dinner, watch TV with husband, go to bed. And the next day is nearly identical - at least the five workdays.

Within my routine, I have more routines! I have a precise order for putting in my contacts, brushing my teeth, tending to my hair and applying mascara.

I drive the same exact route to work and back. I eat the same salad every day for lunch - at the same time - about 98 percent of the time. (OK, not the SAME salad, but one with the same basic ingredients. Every. Single. Day.)

Is this all there is to life? Of course not.

I have simply forgotten how - or simply neglected - to change up the little things. I need to put back the spontaneity in my choices.

Don't get me wrong. There are benefits to routine! Going to bed at about the same time every night and getting up at the same time in the morning helps keep one's body rhythm in sync. Eating meals on a similar schedule helps regulate our bodies and fuels us throughout the day.

While I was pondering on the boredom caused by this latest rut, I ran across a blog post by personal coach Jackie Ruka, the founder of Get Happy Zone and known as "America's Happyologist."

In a blog post titled "Secrets to Unlock Your Abundance," Ruka's second secret is "Get out of routine living. Routine living limits you holistically. Making small changes in your daily routine expands your mind and your body to feel new sensations and experience life beyond your four corners."

I like that idea. Just make little changes in order to feel new sensations, see new things, experience different aspects of life.

So I tried it out. I drove to work a different way the next morning. Nothing spectacular happened, but I did notice a few things I had forgotten about.

Other suggestions I found online include: hang out with new people, change the times you do things, travel, switch up sources of news, turn off technology, spend an afternoon at a museum or gallery, watch a classic kids' movie.

Over the next weeks, I intend to continue to make small changes in hopes of expanding my mind to welcome new experiences.

Maybe I'll get up earlier one day a week and take a walk. Perhaps I'll get back to a yoga class. I'll try to find time to increase my tennis lessons that I enjoy.

I know I should dust off my bicycle and ride it sometime. I can back off technology, finally clear out the spare room, read a new book.

Who knows? Maybe a shock to the routine will also jumpstart other changes, like an even healthier lifestyle, new friends and a vivid consciousness of the world.

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