The last few days have seen a common theme running through my thoughts and writings and that theme is the return to routine. Routine is a necessary part of most of our lives as we build our days around the demands of work, appointments and the needs of those close to us. Routine can be seen as boring, necessary and mundane especially when compared to having the freedom to be spontaneous and impulsiveness and do what we like.
Yet how many of us look forward to a return to routine when we have been out of it; whether because we have been away on holidays, or had visitors staying or because of some other disruption to our daily lives. We crave a return to what we know as normal and familiar.
Happiness and contentment is something we all strive for. Recognising what makes us happy and content and incorporating these things into our daily routine may just be the key to achieving these goals. We often go about our daily routines in automatic mode, responding to the requirements of work, family and friends. We look forward to big ticket items such as a holiday abroad, going to a music festival or taking a spa break. However, in failing to recognise the importance of small ticket activities that feed are happiness and contentment on a daily basis, we are missing a trick. The little things are surely most important in our pursuit of contentment as these are the things that we can rely on every day to create balance and contentment rather than constantly looking forward to a future event.
Identifying the activity or thing that makes you feel most content and making room for it in your daily life seems like such an obvious thing to do but how many of us actually do it. This requires conscious thinking and conscious effort to create elements of positive routine in our day and to incorporate into our routines activities that we can return to each day to balance and centre ourselves; something that we can rely on to be constant and the same every day.
One of the things that makes me content is walking my dogs; it’s the combination of spending time outdoors, getting exercise and seeing them excited. This is something I can do pretty much everyday to help me feel centred and balanced. Even if I’m really busy, making time for this activity is a top priority. It’s more important than writing a new blog post, than doing other work, than cooking, than going to the cinema etc. But having this routine in my day actually helps me in performing all of these other tasks as I am more content and therefore I think clearer and am more productive. For me, the knock on effects of having a positive routine include eating better, sleeping better and being more energetic.
Even the most spontaneous person among us, has a place, a thing or an activity that makes them happy and that they can return to again and again to centre themselves and keep them grounded. This might mean making time for a relaxed breakfast every day, taking an exercise class once a week, getting your nails done every Thursday evening, writing in a journal, spending a half hour every evening reading a book, going for a run, sitting around the table as a family to eat dinner every evening, etc.
By creating a routine around the little ticket items that feed our happiness, we may just well find that this routine is the key to finding balance when are worlds get busy.