Break the routine: 3 ways to get inspiration back into your everyday life
The air is crisp, the nights are longer, the leaves are starting to fall...
...and along with them goes the excitement and lightness that we've been floating on all summer long.
The oneday-s and someday-s of summer have been replaced with the slightly less inspiring everydays, and sneakily – along with the dwindling temperatures – the stagnation of routine is settling into life again.
Gone are the days full of adventure and exploration; now it's down to business. We spend our days working, studying and working some more. It's rewarding and interesting, but over the past weeks at least I've noticed that my days lack the unfamiliar newness and thrill that travelling and summer vacation brought, and so is my mood.
Do you feel the same way?
When the fall winds start to blow and the fun memories of summer are fading, it's easy to feel a shift in inspiration and mood. We fall back in to old patterns, and along with habitual activities and even more habitual thinking suddenly you realise that you're feeling less present, less inspired, less motivated and decidedly less... alive.
To remedy the blandness of routine, here are three of my top strategies to lure vitality out of it's hiding place, without making a big life change or going on a trip.
3 ways to get inspiration back into your everyday life
1. Consciously switch up an habitual activity
We all have habits. If we didn't, things like getting ready in the morning or driving a car would require near impossible levels of presence and energy. However, some habits are so automated that we almost don't realise we're doing them. Like the way I tilt my head to the left and to the right to crack the joints in my neck (yes, I know!), how I always reach for my favourite tea cup even though I have ten more that I never use, and how I reach for my phone half-awake and spend the first ten minutes of my waking day reading crappy tabloid headlines. Mmmmm, yes. I know.
The thing is, we're used to categorise our habits and label them either good or bad – which really is another thinking habit that isn't useful in this case. Instead of getting stuck in good or bad habits, identify ANY habit and break it consciously for a couple of days. This will force you back in the present and jolt your brain awake. Notice if anything feels different in other parts of your life too!
2. Take opposite action
Sometimes what we think we need isn't what we really need. In the spirit of this, experiment with doing the opposite of what you feel like doing when you're feeling unmotivated, uninspired or down. Feel like wearing all black and blending in? Wear bright pink. Feel like hiding out in bed? Go for a walk. Feel like withdrawing from the world? Meet a friend for coffee.
It's important that you do this lovingly and with a lot of self-compassion. Don't force it! The idea behind opposite action is to break patterns that are keeping you stuck in the very same feelings you want to avoid. Be nice to yourself!
3. Make small changes
When we're feeling stuck in a rut, it's easy to think that the only thing that can help is to make a big change like completely changing jobs, diets, partners or ...lives. However, making a huge life change requires a lot of energy and courage, which is often the reason why we hold back in actually making the change – and end up doing nothing.
Often, this way of thinking is built on the foundation of a belief that isn't necessarily true: In order to feel a big shift, I need to make a big change.
Instead, try to incorporate as many small changes as you can into your life, and notice how your perception, energy levels and mood changes along with it. Sometimes small changes really can have big impacts.
Here are a few suggestions:
Wear a different colour, rearrange your furniture, get a haircut, walk or drive a different way to work, change your workout routine, try a new hobby, sleep with your head in the opposite end of the bed, watch a movie you wouldn't normally watch, meet new people, try a new dish for dinner... or find your own little way to mix things up!
Inspiration, motivation, energy and vitality comes in cycles. Realising that you are in the dormant part of a cycle can be frustrating and defeating, especially if you can't accept how you feel. However, passion and life force is a curious thing, and forcing it can actually keep it from emerging.
Lay down for a moment and give yourself some space to feel the dormancy in your body. Just like nature is now preparing for winter, your creativity may be taking a little winter on its own.
Accepting that a creative winter is just as important as a creative spring. You need the time to recharge and rejuvenate. You deserve to exhale.
How do you break up the routine of everyday life? Share your best ideas with us in the comments!