After a long day at work, I usually collapse on the couch and catch up on all the shows on my DVR. After sitting at a desk for 8 hours, commuting for an hour and a half, connecting with my family, washing dishes, and doing laundry, I’m just too tired to do much of anything else.
But the same routine, day after day, can make us feel bored and frustrated. (I mean, how exciting can doing laundry really be, though?)
“We may not even recognize that we’re stuck,” says Susan Newman, PhD, a social psychologist and author of The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. “We can be so anesthetized by our habit of doing things the same way that all we feel is low energy and vague unhappiness.” It doesn’t have to be this way. The tasks we do as moms can be routine and monotonous sometimes, but you can switch things up and find more satisfaction and fulfillment in your day to day routine.
-Recognize the rut, and make small changes.
You may walk the same way to work every day, eat the same lunch, or watch the same show every evening—but what if you learned to knit? Or made a new recipe? Or-gasp!-tried kale?
“If you usually work over your lunch break, get out of the office for a walk,” says Newman. “Call someone you haven’t talked to for a long time. Try a new recipe or workout regimen.” Mix things up to clear your mind and give your energy a boost.
–Create a meditation area—and use it.
Meditation can help reduce stress, improve concentration and happiness, and some say, increase immune health. “Studies have shown improved ability to regulate emotions in the brain,” says Stanford University researcher Emma Seppälä. “Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to increased ability to focus, memory.”
Create your own sacred space with elements of nature, like a small plant or a fountain. Your meditation area doesn’t have to be huge—a corner in a room will do. “People will often use ‘lack of space’ as the reason they can’t do something,” interior designer and architect Sarah Susanka says. “It’s almost never true. I know a mother with two young children who does her sitting meditation in the bathroom.”
If you’re just starting out, as little as 10 minutes a day can make a difference. Apps like Headspace, Aura, and Simple Habit can guide you through short meditations to develop your practice, or try out a mantra to get started.
-Switch your commute.
As the weather has gotten nicer, I’ve changed up my routine and started getting off the train a stop earlier. Walking helps me clear my mind and rack up steps on my Fitbit. Daily walking can improve your health and reduce stress and depression. In a survey of over 1,000 doctors, 85% said that they prescribed exercise, including walking, for treating depression.
-Take a trip.
Sometimes we just need a change of scenery. A quick trip to another state, or even another part of your city can interrupt your norm. Put the baby in a carrier and explore a new museum, or pop her in the stroller for a walk around the neighborhood.
-Enjoy a hot cup of tea.
If meditation sounds too intimidating, relax with a hot cup of tea. Tea has been used for centuries in rituals, relaxation, and healing. Get yourself a special mug—one just for you—and enjoy a few moment to sip and savor.
Are you stuck in a mom rut? How will you change your routine?