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The perils of monotony

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“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

– Henry Van Dyke

So often we complain that life has become so routine and monotonous. It is as if we cannot shake the habit of having routine schedules, and moving around like robots from task to task…often to the demise of happiness, joy and even contentment.{{more}}

Routines are not necessarily bad, as they provide the structure needed for us to function as human beings. But if our routines become too strict and avoidant of flexibility, we can easily be setting ourselves up for ‘burn out,’ which can easily contribute to feelings of frustration and depression.

Now, I’m not advocating that all routines are evil. I do accept that they are sometimes a necessary by-product of being alive as a human being in a modern world. A routine like brushing your teeth every morning is a good and healthy routine to have, no doubt about it. And for some persons, without a coffee in the morning, they would have a hard time getting started. However, I do believe that too many people have too many routines without analyzing their life and seeing how they may be trapped by following too many routines.

Benefits of avoiding monotony:

1. Gives more

flexibility.

2. Reduces monotony

and the feeling of

sameness of daily life.

3. Opens up the

possibility to adjust your

activities to your moods.

4. Lead, to new streams of creativity.

5. Makes life overall more exciting and interesting.

Ways to Change Your Routines and avoid Monotony

1. Go travel! If you can afford it, book a flight and go. No planning, except a reservation for the first night in a hotel… A little impulsivity keeps the blood pumping.

2. Visit somewhere new. Make a bucket list of local, regional or international places you would like to visit before you die and work towards fulfilling at least three on the list.

3. Hang out with different people. Go out and make new friends. Talk to people with different world views and attitudes. Hanging out with the same people all the time might lead to social stagnation. Talking to different people will open you up to new ideas and new experiences.

4. Change the times you do things. If you exercise in the morning, start exercising at evening.

5. Change your way to your activities. If it is possible, change the route you take getting to different places…even if it means taking more time. Instead of fretting about wasted time, learn to appreciate the scenery.

6. Change your eating habits. If you always go out to eat, try to start cooking at home and vice versa… Get some cook books and try new cuisines.

7. Leave the TV off. Entertain yourself with a good book instead or relax on the beach perhaps.

8. Read different newspapers or online news sites. Read different blogs. Mix up the information you read every day. Focus on one subject one week, then another the week after, and the week after. Let your knowledge base be improved.

It is important that life be lived to the fullest and appreciated and we avoid the urge to merely exist within the confines of routines that can possibly be draining the life from our pores.

“I want to caution you against the idea that balance has to be a routine that looks the same week in and week out.”

– Kevin Thoman.”

Dr Miller is Health Psychologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

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