There’s nothing quite like having a day when we do something out of the ordinary. It might be taking a day off work to do something we enjoy or simply having a day at home to catch up on those tasks that get away from us when we are busy. Perhaps we can’t take the entire day off but we can break the day up with something that is a little bit different.
We might go for a walk to a different place during our lunch break – or perhaps to begin with we need to actually take a lunch break. We might do something different on the way to work or on the way home. Walk a little bit further than usual or through a park instead of along the main road. We might take some photographs of what is around us – our iphones can be really handy for this kind of spontaneous photography. We might begin to notice the things around us – the patterns, the colors, the history – the things we usually just walk past or look at without really seeing them.
There certainly seems to be something about novelty that we need as humans to keep ourselves interested in the world around us, perhaps meeting our need to strive for what makes our lives meaningful and purposeful. By looking for some novel ways to do things or spend our time we are forced to become more mindful, more aware of our surroundings, and equally, perhaps more importantly, aware of how we feel in those surroundings.
We can also start to tune into the feelings we have when we are going about our usual routine. At times, there can be a comfort in that routine. This can be particularly when we are facing challenges or parts of our life feel a bit out of our control. It can be the routine and predictability that keeps us stable, brings us back to our sense of security and equilibrium. At those times we might not want to seek out the new, the novel. Rather, we desire the comfort of what is familiar. Our minds are already taken up with enough.
If, on the other hand, our usual routine is accompanied by a feeling of dread, a sense of being in the 'rat race' or of 'groundhog day', we can then begin to explore some new ways to do things. We can plan out what we might do differently or we might be able to, on the spur of the moment, simply do something that we don’t usually do. By tuning into how we feel when we do this we can start to appreciate what we may need to help us face our working day more positively or get through our daily routines in a way that helps us feel more energized and purposeful.