There comes a point in time when you feel as if your life is redundant. You wake up at the same time every day, have the same breakfast, take the same route and meet the same people at work, who discuss the same old issues and do the same work.
Gradually, this monotony starts to get the better of you, and you end up questioning what your real purpose is – why am I doing whatever it is that I am doing? Am I truly happy with where I am? It’s in such times that you need to desperately change things up because no matter how important routines are, they can be fairly taxing on your creativity.
With escalating paces of our lives and the burgeoning burden of expectations, it is sometimes easy to seek comfort in familiarity. But as most self-help sites and Insta-gurus will tell you, there is hardly any growth in your comfort zone. When I fell prey to my monotonous everyday life, here’s the five things I did to break the cycle, while staying well on track! They’ve worked well for me, hopefully will be of help to you too.
1. Change your look
I guess a lot of you just went ‘WHAT?’, and I understand precisely why. You must be wondering who takes such an extreme step to make life less boring, right? Well, the tried and tested fact is, the level of confidence you feel and how attractive you think you are, helps boost your confidence, and in turn, make it easier for you to take total charge of your life.
This may sound superficial but I kid you not, I felt a change the day I got my pink highlights, the ones that I’d been wanting to get since I was 15. Not in the ‘I’ve found inner peace’ sense, but more like ‘I’ve got this new kind of way’. Every look in the mirror led me to pamper myself a bit more. And in the process, it also made me realise how little I had been appreciating myself, because I was so used to seeing the previous version of me in the mirror every morning.
Invest in a flattering haircut, some streaks, or go big with a completely new hair colour. You could even get your nose pierced, or add some to your ears. A new look not only boosts your esteem, it even makes the people around you have fresher conversations with you – thanks to this new conversation starter. It gives you a chance to show who you really are through your unique style.
2. Get off social media
The root cause of almost all human problems lies in comparison. It’s Saturday night; you are tucked in bed with a Georgia Hill novel, and some strawberries and cream. Your hair is oiled and your socks are mismatched, but you’re at peace doing your favourite things. All of a sudden, you pick up your phone and check Instagram, where your undergrad classmate has just posted a story of herself – #ClubbingWithTheGirls. Just like that, you’re stalking all their feeds and comparing your just champi-d hair to their fresh blow-dry, and thinking your life sucks.
Sounds familiar, right? That’s the story of my life as well. Or was, till I decided to start taking short breaks from social media. The first time I tried it, it was tough. My hand automatically hovered over to where the Facebook icon was but in a couple of hours, I found myself concentrating much more on what I was doing than on what my Facebook friends have been doing. Et viola, my life started to seem more interesting, since it had nothing to ‘pale in comparison’ to.
I realised that the standards social media deludes us into setting ourselves that are unreasonably high. Everybody is curating their best possible moments for the world to look at. No one looks perfect all the time, and nobody has the energy to live out of clubs. So was there really anything to be jealous of?
3. Crowdsource a new playlist
Music makes you feel the emotions that you had no idea resided within you. And while I completely agree with the fact that each person has their own preference when it comes to music, I also think the ‘loop’ of the playlist translates into a ‘loop’ effect in life as well.
We’re so used to the comfort that this background score provides, we barely ever do anything newer or bolder. Crowdsourcing a new playlist has a twofold benefit. First, it helps you get to know your friends and acquaintances much better than their Instagram bios. Second, there comes a new lens to look at the world through new music. This may be a hard transition initially, but that’s exactly the part where you’re breaking free from the monotony of your life.
You could be a rap lover and all of a sudden you’re listening to Bollywood pop music, or you could be a club fan, now plugged into jazz! Just imagine the kind of shift that would bring to your mood, aesthetic, and even work!
4. Pet as many street animals as you can
Pet therapy is real. It's therapeutic to pet animals as well as its kind. These babies live their entire lives craving for acceptance, like nomads looking for food and shelter every single day. Spending 10 minutes with them, talking to them and brushing their coat will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on anything that life throws your way.
When your daily life starts to seem boring, or you eventually start to feel like there is no room for innovation, these kittens and pups teach you something that is very easy to forget – never stop being creative. Always hunt for a new opportunity, and always make connections, because you never know which ones end up helping you grow for the better.
And even more importantly, these little ones help you reacquaint yourself with the sheer importance of a routine, and prevent you from going on an out and out bender in order to do something new or different.
5. Make a game out of the little things
A little while ago, a friend of mine was on reception duty for a conference and had to give the same instructions to every single person who turned up. One would think that is probably one of the most monotonous jobs ever, until I tell you what he did next! He made a game out of it where he would hum the instructions to one, read it out like a news anchor to the next, and basically find different ways to convey the information. It helped make an immensely boring job, an incredibly fun and creatively fulfilling one!
Likewise, challenge yourself to cover those 10000 steps, or to reach the Metro platform before the doors close like a personal game you can play by yourself, and enjoy your little wins. My personal favourite is counting how many breaths I take in a minute and challenging myself to breathe deeper and longer. It helps me by letting me concentrate inwards and makes meditation fun.
It may seem silly at first, you may not even feel like taking this suggestion seriously, but just try! As your first challenge, here’s a game I want you to play by yourself. For every single time, you want to use an abusive or rude word in conversation with or about yourself, replace it with a non-negative kind one. For example, if you want to say ‘I’m an unproductive idiot’, say ‘I’m a laidback person who hasn’t been able to complete much work yet.’
Do this for 20 sentences, and be ready to be surprised with how wonderful you feel about your ‘monotonous’ life, and your ‘boring’ self.
It takes courage to accept the fact that you got a little bit too comfortable with the stability that a set routine was bringing to your life, or that your life will never be the same as Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. But you need to understand that moulds are meant to be broken and routines are meant to be changed and adapted to an improving you.
Don’t worry too much about where you’re headed all the time. Worrying too much makes you too scared to make a shift. You start to feel like now isn’t the right time to change, or that you can’t afford even a tiny risk. And thus, end up stuck in a rut.
While we may not have Aladdin’s genie or Elsa’s magical powers, we all have the ability to love. All you need to do, is tap into it, and make sure it grows into self-love, in abundance. I made these little changes and they made a world of a difference to my previously dull and monotonous life. I hope you do, too!