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Daily Coping Solutions for COVID-19 #37

Mixing Up Routine

We have written about the benefits of having a routine. A routine can help in so many ways. On the other side of the same coin are the benefits of occasionally shaking up your routine.

When we choose to do something outside of our routine, we begin using different parts of our brain and different brain sequences. This allows us to experience something with newness and freshness. While never having a routine can be negative for our mental health, never deviating from your routine can have the same detrimental effects.

Benefits of Shaking it Up

  1. Our creativity expands when we shake up routine. Imagine doing the same thing day in and day out. It’s hard for the creative center of our brain to go to work when its merely about going through the motions of the routine at hand.
  2. Allows yourself to reevaluate the effectiveness of your routine or habits and make adjustments. When we step back from what we are doing and are able to see the big picture, we can also see where we can make things better.
  3. Memory is increased when we break routine. Have you ever been on a routine trip in the car, like going to the grocery store, and put little or no thought into where you were going? You can get to the store and have little recall about the drive there. When you deviate from routine you are able to retain more memories due to the newness of the experience.
  4. Focus is improved when getting out of normal habits. Similarly to the routine memory recall, we tend to zone out more when we are putting one foot in front of the other and putting little or no thought into what we are doing. Changing things up increases focus and allows us to concentrate on a task in a new way.

Changing routine does have its benefits. So does keeping a routine. Finding the right balance is something that is unique for each os us. Try making adjustments and see what is helpful for you. You may find your routine, albeit helpful, was preventing you from achieving some of your goals.