Why is it considered beneficial to abide by a routine? A routine, in simple words, is a set of activities one follows for a period of time. It is definitely beneficial considering the fact that it helps us mould our day into deriving maximum productivity in an effective manner. It takes away the mental pressure of sorting things out every day or every time of the day as it’s already laid out. It also helps you become more disciplined and efficient. It makes your life sorted.
However, is it possible for one to abide by the same schedule for days, then weeks, then months, then years without getting lethargic and sloppy? Is it possible for a person to restrict themselves to one and only one way of living? I am not just referring to a particular kind of people here. It could be a man going out to work or students preparing for their examinations or a home-maker carrying out his/her day. It could be anyone with any routine for any duration which converts the lifestyle of a person into a clueless monotony.
Scheduling or living a routine-oriented life is not a bad thing. I know tons of people who actually love living by a routine and not having one is what gives them anxiety. The real question here is how this can sometimes take a toll on our well-being and make us develop negative feelings towards life itself.
What can monotony do to your mental health?
- Make you feel as if you lack control
Ideally, abiding by a routine is supposed to provide us with a sense of control and power over our lifestyle but sometimes it becomes overbearing and tends to make us feel like we are bound within the walls of the schedule and leaves no space for anything else. We feel as if the resultant monotony has no cause and it makes us irritable and cranky.
- One might develop negative feelings
Monotony also leads to the development of negative feelings within ourselves and about everything. Sometimes we might not realize that monotony has hit us but the feeling of “I don’t feel like it” is what hints that you have hit a bump. It takes away the real kick from lives, the kick of spontaneity. We are not ‘actually’ miserable but we end up feeling so.
- Decrease productivity
All the exhaustion and mental pressure that you unknowingly take due to this for a prolonged period of time leads to persistent lack of interest in the work you once enjoyed and thus decreases productivity and the enthusiasm you initially had.
- Cause stress
It is no rocket science to understand how a mundane life causing negative feelings and apprehension leads to mild or even acute stress which results in physical and mental exhaustion or burnout. Stress is not only in itself bad but is also a cause of many other psychological disorders.
What can you do about monotony?
- Leave room for flexibility
Make space for flexible schedules and spontaneous plans. Be on your toes to try new things or ways out. Shake things a little. It could be as basic as changing your route to work, school or college or hanging out at different places and not the same old. This always helps one be excited for what they might come across and keeps them on the edge. Not only this, it helps our brain stay healthy and active. We move beyond the barrier of what is known as ‘functional fixedness’.
- Travel whenever possible
Travelling is a great way of re-energizing ourselves. It helps us restore our productivity, manage negative emotions, fills us with optimism and brings in a new wave of enthusiasm. Obviously, not everyone has the budget or flexibility to travel much or travel far. It is not an issue. By travelling I mean anywhere outside your natural or usual habitat or household. Go to nearby places, make small trips, do picnics to nature-friendly places, plan more things to do and enjoy. Getting out from your phone and investing into real life will take you way ahead in life and the pursuit of happiness and satisfaction.
- Take a break
Take breaks. Take breaks in between and from studying, from work, from household activities, etc. I know it is easier said than done but we have got to try it because by now we know how vital it is to lead a non-monotonous life. If you don’t want to become worn out and dull, no matter how important a task is, don’t be completely lost in it rather take breaks to restore your concentration and skills and then get back to it. Not long or over engaging breaks, but breaks from continuous and repetitive actions. Also, try modifying the types of break you take such as many one day you read, the other day you drink a beverage and maybe next day clean things up etc. This will help you a lot in activities that require long-term commitment.
- Try some relaxation techniques
There are various relaxation techniques one can practice to de-stress and energize oneself physically as well as mentally. Meditation helps to a great extent in restoring our energy and calms us down. It makes our mind and body function and coordinate effectively. Effective working requires efficient mind which comes from a de-stressed and free mind. Thus, it is important to de-stress ourselves and solve our worries in the first place in order to be productive.
It is not tough to break monotony but we often don’t regard it as an issue worth our worries and thus fall into it’s trap ending up in a nasty situation and mental state. Some basic things can prevent it or bring us out from it and we should make it a habit to inculcate these habits within us.
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