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Back to Reality: On the Advantages of Having a Routine

Jueves, 1 de Setiembre de 2016

Read our September article.

A few months ago I wrote about the wonder and joy of travelling, of how the world is more accessible than ever before, and that taking a break from daily life can be not only enjoyable, but rewarding and empowering too. These things remain as true now as they were then, but - and it’s a big “but” - there is also a huge amount to be said for having a routine.

Of course, any routine - your daily routine, perhaps, or mine - can by its nature become boring and predictable, so this article is concerned with avoiding such pitfalls, and how to make the most of life as we all return to work and studies after the summer.

1. Mix it up, and give yourself the gift of time

It may seem antithetical to the concept of a daily routine, but it is crucial to try new things. Most people’s routines are broadly similar: wake - work - relax - sleep. But take some time to think about how you could maximise your day. How do you get to work? Could you cycle instead of drive? Walk instead of taking the metro? Maybe once or twice a week you could change how you approach your commute.

Don’t try to be too ambitious. There’s a reason that so many resolutions aren’t kept to, and that so many diets invariably result in failure: the inordinately high goals people set for themselves. Organising your time well and setting yourself goals that are achievable will result in less stress for you and more success in whatever you’re doing. Be sure to have variety in your life - and one you you can do this is to…

2. Have a hobby!

I’ve written before about the importance of having hobbies, and it isn’t an exaggeration to say that devoting time to an activity which you love - whether that be painting, playing basketball or being part of a choir or a band; really, whatever works - will make you a happier person. Everybody deserves some time that is purely for themselves, and a hobby will reward you in more ways than you might imagine.

3. Make time for the people around you

Life is busy, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of not seeing the people you love. So: you need to make time for them. This doesn’t necessarily mean going out; just sending a quick email or giving your best friend a call can brighten up your day and theirs. Social media is great for this in some respects, but it can often have an adverse effect on people’s social lives. If it’s a good friend’s birthday, don’t just post something on their Facebook wall - call them up or write them a proper message.

Making time for the people around you, again, might require you to relax your routine a little, but that’s fine. After all, who are more important than your friends and family?

4. Eat together

Related to the above point is something which Mediterranean society has a definite upper hand on: the importance of family meals. Maybe it’s impossible to eat together every evening, but bringing your family together is important on so many levels. Try to have at least a couple of days a week in which the television is off, phones and tablets aren’t on the table and the emphasis is on each other.

5. Exercise!

This is something that can perhaps be achieved via your hobby or your commute, but the importance of exercise in life cannot be understated. I’ve recently started running and perhaps the most surprising thing about it for me is that I genuinely enjoy it, and even miss it when I can’t go. Try to carve out some space for exercise: even if it’s just a fifteen-minute walk to clear your head, it will energise and refresh.

6. Do what feels right

Routines are important: they provide structure and focus in life, and if well thought out will make everything that little bit easier. But the best routines are those which can be adapted. Don’t beat yourself up about not making it out for a run all week or eating pizza and ice cream in front of the TV every so often instead of a healthy family meal. Come up with something that works for you and try to stick to it as best you can. If you’re tired or stressed or busy, try to identify why that is and how it can be solved. Good luck!

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