Beating the Boring & Finding Excitement in the Routine

So...it's Wednesday. Sigh.

ashleyelladesign.com

ashleyelladesign.com

Wednesdays are boring. Winter is boring. January is boring. Life is boring?

Okay, it isn't. I really don't think it is. But on some days...some January Winter Wednesdays...it's hard to remember that.

When nothing particularly exciting is happening (or has happened) for a few weeks, things can start to feel...blah. You get up. You go to work. You come home. You make dinner. You watch TV. You sleep. You repeat.

It can feel a bit mindless. We fall into our routines so simply and easily, to the point where we might start to just live life on automatic. This really doesn't help the ever-famous quarter-life crisis. When we fall too hard into our routines, we start to feel bored, and that makes us question our choices -- am I in the right job? The right city? With the right friends? Could I make changes in my life so that things don't feel so dull? These questions then incite panic. What if I've been living my life wrong this whole time? Am I wasting it?

Here's what I think: I think that even your role models (you know, the ones with the exciting careers, inspiring creative opportunities, and perfect families, all somehow steadily documented on Instagram?) get bored with life sometimes.

One of the reasons Exposure Therapy (the intervention in which you face your crippling fears head on with the help of a therapist) works is because the feeling of panic isn't sustainable -- you can be in the same room as the thing you fear for 3 hours, but you will not spend every minute of all 3 of those hours being at Level 10 panic and fear.

I think excitement in life is kind of the same. Life's going to (hopefully) last us like, 85 years. It's probably unrealistic that we will spend all 31,025 of those days super excited (yes! I did math). So I think there's some level of "accepting the boringness" involved, but also...we are mental wellness warriors over here. We are not the kind of girls to let our lives slip away.

I've got two ideas for Beating the Boring out of your day:

#1: Purposefully and intentionally integrate something new and exciting into your routine. This is for the go-getters out there who really want to experience the most they can out of life. The approach is simple -- just be mindful of how you feel on a daily basis, and when things start to get boring, don't let yourself sink into it. Instead, make an easy change that can feel exciting. For me, reading can really transport me to a different place and time, so start reading a juicy, for-fun book (I recommend The Girl on the Train if you like a quick, thrilling mystery).

Make little challenges for yourself daily; for instance, on Monday, challenge yourself to start up a conversation with someone new at work, and on Tuesday, challenge yourself to go check out that gallery down the street you've always been curious about. This approach is for people who want to take action. I don't think our lives get boring because we run out of ideas of things to do -- they get boring because we stop challenging ourselves to do them.

And, approach #2: Fall in love with your routines. This approach is for when you feel good about settling into a life of routine and stability, but don't want your days to become mundane because of it. This is all about falling in love with the little things. My favorite example of this comes from my previous resistance to washing my face at night. Two years ago I hated doing it, and often didn't, even though I knew it would be better for my skin to keep it clean. One day I decided to look up different kinds of face cleansers and buy a new one to replace the $4 drugstore one I had. This simple step sparked in me a total obsession with skincare! Taking the time to research this part of my nightly routine and invest in a product that excited me took things to a whole other level, and now my nightly skincare routine is my ultimate self-care.

Something similar happened with my daily showers; instead of treating them as an annoying necessity, as I had my whole life, I stopped to really feel the shower when I take it, and how relaxing and comforting it feels. I started to view it as a way to cleanse me of my stresses and worries. Just shifting my mindset made this part of my routine much more enjoyable. This can be done with all of our "annoying" routines - dishes, laundry, picking up clothes. Find one little thing you might kind of like about it. Shift your focus to be on that -- on how great you feel when your home is decluttered, and how comfortingly simple it is to scrub a bowl and focus on nothing else but that. Be in the present, and realize how truly grateful you are to be there, boring or not. 

How do you keep life exciting during its lulls? Comment below!