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Why it is Important to Step Out of Your Routine

Light displayMany of us have created daily routines to deal with these challenging times, developing many new ways to organize our time at home and with each other.

For us, we have created a loving peaceful togetherness in the house. We experience a delightful harmony and share much joy. Still, we notice that we have scheduled much of our time in various ways, separately and together, and do not step out of that pattern very often.

This was made obvious to us the other day when we woke at 6:30 and Phil suggested we go for a walk together. It was cool and quiet. We usually avoid State St., but it was close to deserted, so we walked down and were shocked at the number of closed stores. We looped back up the Westside to home and breakfast.

Now this was breaking our pattern completely. What a delight! Although we both walk daily, we don’t usually do it together. We have different walking styles and both enjoy the experience of walking alone. Going out for a walk first thing upon waking, and going together felt like an adventure. We had a great time, it was really fun, and it got us thinking.

We have been forgetting to consciously do something different. We started recalling wonderful special occasions that we remember so vividly and treasure so much: the drive to Nojoqui Falls, the meteor shower, the walk in the redwoods with Catherine. In other words, the exceptions to our routine.

Why did we stop doing those things? Perhaps because we can’t travel in the way we used to, given the Covid restrictions, or we just got so caught up in the day to day.

Stepping out of the norm has so many rewards. And yet it is something that is easy to forget to do, perhaps too easy. We have friends that have made going on adventures a part of their weekly activities. Sometimes scheduling the undefined or different is a good way to make sure it happens!

Different events like these stand out because humans are designed to pay attention to novelty, whether prey or predators, party invites or possession notices, and the brain takes note of and remembers these.

Adding such events may seem like an inconsequential act, but it’s important. They add markers to our lives. They make us more flexible and open to unexpected events so we can say yes to opportunities and adapt to handle problems that arise. They give us more practice to be present with each other and with the world.

Whether you are with a partner or living on your own, take time to shake things up, create a big or little adventure and step out of your routine. When you do this, it is renewing and brings you smack into the present in a different way than you experience in your daily life. It renews the wonder and expands the horizon of what is there and what is possible!

These kinds of creative adventures are vivifying to any and all relationships. Sharing undivided attention and experiencing things together keeps relationships alive and present. It is important to all relationships. Whether it is in person or through online, phone, text, email, find ways to share together and ways to be in the present that bring laughter, surprise and freshness.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Field of Light, Paso Robles

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about why it’s important to step out of your routine. Here are some interesting articles covering various aspects of this topic.

Why It’s Important to Break Routines "Having a routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can help you stay organized, be productive, or even, according to some researchers, find meaning. Certain studies have associated family routines with parenting competence and marital satisfaction. However, not all routines are created equal, and failing to examine or alter our habits can have a limiting or deadening effect on our lives."

These 10 Things Will Happen When You Start Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone "The comfort zone. That safe place that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s comforting, it’s familiar and it’s somewhere that the majority of human beings choose to place themselves. But in choosing to loiter within this zone for a large portion of our lives, we are effectively robbing ourselves of spontaneity, excitement, and–most importantly–we are denying ourselves the opportunity to follow our dreams."

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should) "Routines can be stable and comforting, but they can also turn stale and confining over time. All those inspirational messages telling you to break out of your comfort zone aren’t just trying to sell you bungee cords. Doing something new and potentially frightening helps stave off burnout and is good for your brain. Still, it’s pretty hard to shake yourself out of a routine, and there’s plenty of science explaining why—and how to do it."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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