Breaking free from the routine
Is your routine doing more harm than good? Mine certainly was.
On Klusster I write for two different magazines, Thrive Collaborative where I write about health, wellness and creating balance in your life, as well as The Bucket List - Next 10, where I share things I am learning on the EPIC travel adventure that I am on with my family. Generally I write a different article for each magazine, but sometimes I find that the topics overlap and can be shared on both. That is what has happened with this piece.
For those of you that have been following along and know a bit about my story, my family and I are on the first leg of our 8 month journey around the world, in Cozumel, MX. We have been here for 7 weeks and let me tell you it hasn't been the vacation that many people think, at least not the entire time. We have had our struggles and one of the most challenging things we have faced is to...
let go of the routine!
During a speech I gave a couple of months ago, I spoke about how I knew I was different and that following the norms of society for so many years caused me great sadness and depression. That is why I decided to follow my dreams and my heart and hence the adventure began for me and my husband Mark and our 2 sons, Rhys (12) and Chase (10).
My amazing family
When we first arrived, excitement was the emotion that coursed through my body, then it turned quickly to fear and anxiety..."WTF have I done???". There was no specific reason for it, but just the moment of realization that crept up on me in the first few days, where I said to myself "this is no longer a dream, it has finally come true, pull yourself together!". Due to this fear that I let overwhelm my excitement, I unfortunately began to fall back into my routine. It was comfortable, it was what I had known and been doing for the last 15 years. It was also what I was trying to break free from over the last few years and was the cause of some of the sadness I had experienced.
We created schedules to work, schedules to home school, even schedules to have fun. Literally it was all laid out nice and neat in a spread sheet and for the first 2 weeks, we followed it. Monday to Friday we tried to balance work, school and fun, then we let it go on the weekends. Does this sound familiar to you?!? It certainly did to me, it is exactly what I had been living back in Canada, with the exception of having my boys and Mark around 24/7, which I love by the way, and being in a tropical climate, which I also love...lol, it was the same s#!t different country!
Our schedule...literally! Crazy, right?!?
That is when I broke, I had a melt down and at first I didn't know why?!?
Thankfully having Mark, my amazing, loving and supportive husband by my side, we talked and started to figure out the problem and worked on a solution together. It was time to Break Free, which I have to say wasn't easy at first, especially for the type A personalities that we are. The whole point of this adventure was to learn a different way of living, to experience the joy of being a family and being able to create the life we want. To stop living "Like the Jonses" and start Living Like the McCashes.
It was time to throw out the schedule and live the way we wanted. Now I have to admit, at first we went a little too far, getting up without an alarm clock, somedays past 9am, never having a plan for the day, then wondering where the day went and why nothing got done...lol.
We had to find that balance, that sweet spot of being responsible parents and entrepreneurs, while living each day in the moment and creating memories.
I'm not saying that all routine is bad, as we proved when we threw it out the window for a week or so, but finding a routine that works for you is key to creating health and happiness. Too many of us get so stuck in our routine, with our busy schedules and that dreaded feeling like we're being pulled in every direction. The problem that I found with this, is not only did it lead to extreme boredom and depression for me, it can also cause trouble. Here's why. If you are so set in your ways, when "life happens", and it will happen, whether its a change in plans by a friend, a meeting rescheduled or something more unexpected like an accident or health issue, we become so out of sorts it can throw our whole day off. It leads us to feel like failures and cause increased stress and drama we don't need or want. That is why we need to learn to be flexible, learn to have more fun, and find our sweet spot.
Routine by definition is "a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program".
While this may work when it comes to things like exercising or going to bed, it is not always right for living and enjoying day-to-day life - at least not for my family and I. We need change, we to be adaptable, we need to be ready for anything, especially during our journey. By doing so over the last few weeks, we have come to a place of peace and happiness that we weren't finding before. We are focusing on spending time enjoying where we are and who we are with, instead of being tied to our schedules. Yes we have appointments and meetings and things to get done, but those are no more important than having family dinners together, playing and exploring the island, snorkeling or having fun.
This lifestyle may not work for everyone, in fact it probably scares most, but for us breaking free from the routine seems to be working out very well.
Don't let fear guide you