January is almost over and Christmas and the New Year festivities seem so far away. I was reading my new blogging friend, Denyse Whelan’s blog http://www.denysewhelan.com.au/ and she has a weekly link up with a prompt for a post each week. This week the prompt was ‘Back to Routine’.
Back to routine, of course we all feel this way with children returning to school and adults returning to work after the holidays. In Australia, this period is the longest holiday as we enjoy the Summer break usually with sun and the beach. However, the last week of the holidays is a flurry of activity preparing for ‘back to routine’.
Routine is good as it provides structure to our lives, and I’m one of those people who likes structure. However, routine can also become boring and we can easily fall into a rut, taking the careful path in life and perhaps not reaching our full potential.
Yes I know, breaking out of your comfort zone has become the latest in buzz words. Being in a comfort zone can be good because it can make us feel safe. However, sometimes we need to try new things but facing our fear of the unknown or making changes can be daunting to some of us.
To me, I prefer to have both – my comfort zone and also being able to experience new things. You can have both and in fact it is healthy to have a combination of both. Studies in 1908 by psychologists Robert M Yerkes and John D Dodson have shown the we perform better when we are just outside our comfort zone in what is called ‘Optimal Anxiety’. Not too stressed or anxious but just enough to push ourselves that little bit further to achieve.
You know that feeling when you have succeeded at something that you didn’t actually think you could do? That is what breaking out of your comfort zone can do for you.
So how do we break the cycle of ‘routine’ or comfort zone and experience more in life?
- mix things up – make changes to the way you do ‘everyday things’
- learn something new each day
- rediscover where you live – be a tourist in your home town
- plan time away and experience new surroundings and cultures
- set a goal to do something you have never down before
Remember, having a comfort zone to retreat to when life is overwhelming is good for our mental and spiritual health.
It is like a balm and we can relax and not have to think too hard. Having a combination of comfort and challenge makes life interesting and can bring out the best in us.
What can you do when you feel that your routine needs a shake up?
Let’s Keep Sizzling!