Rebel that I am, I varied my morning route around the park this morning on a whim. I walked across the grass (how daredevil!) and passed an enormous tree I’d never looked at before. It was a beautiful moment and it got me thinking about how varying our routine can be incredibly powerful, particularly when we’re feeling stuck.
Do you have a routine that you stick to, to make sure you can get everything done? A finely oiled, efficient system which, when working, ensures everything runs like clockwork, where you manage to get ten different things done every morning whilst playing mother, cleaner, lover, housekeeper, boss, chef, dog walker and budding yogi? Firstly, well done you – you’re probably achieving way more than you give yourself credit for! I’d guess that more than once you’ve had friends say “I don’t know how you get it all done!”, right?
How does it feel to have your routine? In control? Secure? Productive? Exhilarating? Exhausting? Do you ever just want to yell “Stop! I want to get off!”?
Let me put it out there that I’m a big fan of routine. As someone who’s not naturally organised I need some sort of structure and discipline to help me juggle everything, ensure I don’t miss the important stuff and still make sure I have time to look after my own needs. So if you currently don’t have any sort of routine, I encourage you to explore bringing one in. But…I’m also a big believer in not letting my routine run me.
What do I mean by that? Often we get so caught up in our routine that we stop seeing what’s around us. We stop noticing the beauty, the coincidences, the opportunities. The fun! We get stuck on the treadmill of must-hold-it-all-together-otherwise-everything-will-fall-apart. And that’s true of a treadmill isn’t it? I don’t know about you but right now have a very strong image of a Brigit Jones style moment of suddenly stopping running and getting whizzed off the back of the machine. How embarrassing, and a little painful!
So what can we do about this fear of everything falling apart? We let it go! Whilst I say that rather glibly, I’m not saying it’s easy, just that it’s possible. Deciding to let go can be massive, both in terms of the emotions and limiting beliefs it brings up, but also the transformation it brings about. Imagine not having that tightness in your chest, the weight around your shoulders, the unending pressure of must do this, be this, have this. It’s not easy, but you can start small. One thing I encourage my clients to do, early on in our coaching relationship, is to shake things up a little bit. I’m not talking on a big scale here, but I encourage my clients to take an hour a week to do something they’ve always wanted to do, but never found the time for. To treat themselves, or just do something differently. And the results are incredible! It might be (and often is) as simple as taking a lunch break (quite revelationary for many of my clients!) and going for a walk in nature. It might be going to that fitness class or choir they’ve been thinking about but never quite plucked up the courage to go along to. For super burned out women it might just be taking a bath – and I’m not talking about a quick splash and a scrub here – I’m talking a long soak with beautiful bath salts, candles and music.
So why is this important? Firstly, it helps us STOP. When we’re on that treadmill, we can’t stop, we can’t look around, we can’t think, we can’t change. Making change – which is usually why clients come to me – requires us to press pause, and that can be a scary thing. So when we do press pause, it’s great to have something nourishing as a reward. A quick win that tops up our energy and self-worth. And that’s when the possibilities open up! We so rarely take the time to stop that when we do, all those ideas, creative juices and, often, fears too, come to the fore. Personally, most of my best ideas have come while out walking. I might have been struggling with something for days and then *boom*, the solution presents itself to me when I stop and take some time out to let my unconscious process everything. And by the way, our unconscious is waaay more powerful, and faster, than we think. I believe we should trust it far more than we usually do!
I really encourage you to try to find an hour this week to do something that presses ‘stop’ on life for an hour. If that’s just too much – firstly, have a chat to me about how I might be able to help you with that – then have a go at shaking things up on a small scale. Do you walk to work? Perhaps try taking a slightly different route. Walk on the other side of the road. Stop and look at that big tree you pass every day but barely glance at. Drive home a slightly different route. Walk around the supermarket in a different direction. These small changes open us up to seeing things in a new light and help shake us out of the treadmill mentality. And it can be fun too, in fact the more fun the better – see how rebellious you can be!
I’d love to hear what you do to shake things up this week, and how it goes for you.