group of friends eating while listening to mariachi band

The routine is soothing. It takes away all our worries by guiding us smoothly through the motion. However, getting stuck inside a routine that stops you from growing further can be painful. 

Most people tend to think of routine in terms of healthy habits, such as the food you eat or your fitness regime. However, there is such a thing as an emotional routine that can help you regulate your mood day after day. It is the little gestures that can go a long way, just as enjoying a cup of coffee to feel awake in the morning or laughing in front of your favorite comedy sketch. It’s hard to imagine that you haven’t yet developed a form of tolerance to the caffeine in your morning brew. And the truth is, you have. The first coffee of the day acts as an emotional boost rather than a wake-up drink! It only makes you feel awake because you know that what it should do. Similarly, watching the same joke over and over again isn’t funny anymore. Yet, the feel-good sensation that produces happy hormones is controlled by the brain. Your brain releases the hormones not because the sketch amuses it but because it knows that it is supposed to be funny.

However, we need to develop our emotional journeys to match our needs and minds. Everybody changes all the time. If your routine stays stuck, you could end up feeling emotionally disconnected. That’s when it’s time to take a break! 

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A peaceful but attractive location

Sometimes, all you need is a change of surroundings. While booking international holidays can be tricky at the moment, you can still consider North American locations that will help transform your routine. Indeed, most holidaymakers tend to book extravagant and exciting places that encourage them to live the experience of a lifetime, whether you’re swimming with dolphins or visiting a historic castle. But how about a peaceful, quiet, and “normal” destination such as Lake Oswego, which can give you just the boost you need to reconsider your emotional routine. Ultimately, the ideal routine shakeup needs plenty of intellectual and creative stimulation, which an everyday destination is more likely to provide. Additionally, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover somewhere new that is just “ordinary” enough to inspire your emotional routine. And who knows? You may find yourself falling in love with the place and ending up buying a beautiful property there. 

Explore and brace yourself for surprises

Routines provide reassuring habits. But habits also create boredom. You may not be ready to transform your everyday life. But you can make room for unexpected discoveries in your life/ It’s all about taking simple chances. Taking your vehicle off-road for a short track can be all the mental stimulation you need to find back your excitement. Off-road tracks can be interesting because they bring you closer to wildlife and sights you wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise. It’s fair to say that you’ll want to own an SUV or a 4×4 to make the most of the journey. But sometimes, taking an unexpected turn can be all it takes to question the old habits. 

Have your own Madeleine moment

If you are not familiar with the French writer, Marcel Proust, he had a Madeleine moment during which the taste of the small sponge cake took it back to his childhood memories. Proust’s madeleine is a famous literature scene, but it is also an interesting psychological lesson. Indeed, the mind remembers a lot more of our earlier experiences than we think. There’s something magical about taking a trip down memory lane through our senses. Perhaps, you can seek your own Madeleine moment by rediscovering some of the classic tastes of your childhood. Or you could take the old toys from the attic and rediscover the joys of playing with them. Going back to your childhood is a way of resetting your mind and emotions. It helps you remember what you wanted to be… and perhaps reminds you of long-forgotten values. 

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Try out new workouts

Your fitness routine serves a healthy purpose. But what you may not realize is the correlation between physical activity and emotional well-being. Being physically active can help regulate your mood. However, when you don’t feel the high anymore after your workout, it’s probably time to consider switching your sports habits. Reviving your workouts can have huge mental impacts, helping transform your mindset and mood. Ultimately, when everything feels dull, it’s time to look at the little things that create that sensation. The same principle applies to any kind of routine. When the routine doesn’t excite you anymore, it’s time to think of how to improve it rather than getting rid of it! 

Routines heal us, guide us, and support our personal growth. But when we feel stuck in a rut with the emotional routine, it’s time to introduce new ideas, environments, and discoveries to shake up the old habits. Don’t throw away for something new; instead, make small and meaningful changes! 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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