“I recommend that people try new stuff or take new fitness classes all the time. It’s important to mix up your routine, not only for your body, but also for your mental state.” – Alison Sweeney
Routines can be beneficial. When I’m keeping to my exercise routine, I sleep better at night and worry less during the day. But routines can turn into drudgery.
Even though I generally enjoy cooking, I’d recently become bored with it. I thought, “Do I have to do this for the rest of my life? Constantly having to figure out what’s for dinner, go shopping, and cook?” I recognize my attitude was poor. After all, I have the means to buy food, enough time to shop and cook, and the option to eat out now and then.
My recent vacation came at a good time and improved my attitude. My husband Ken and I traveled to the southeast part of the United States. Getting away from my cooking routine for a couple of weeks was refreshing. We mostly stayed at B&Bs and ate dinner at restaurants. We walked every day and enjoyed boat rides, fresh scenery, and fun.
Magnolia Plantation – pic from https://c5.staticflickr.com/4/3211/2335006908_60f8f5509e_b.jpg
We stayed with friends for two nights, which was most enjoyable. David makes an art of homemaking, bringing his intelligence and other talents to making a delightful home for his wife Autumn, guests, and himself. He designed their house, which has private suites for guests, a screened-in porch, and a lovely view of woods and a river. David is also an awesome cook. He prepared mojitos, Cuban Pork with mole sauce, fried plantains, and peach cobbler for dinner one night. David’s adventurous cooking reignited my own interest in cooking.
During our trip, Ken and I went to a Worldwide Marriage Encounter convention, along with several of our friends. The convention took us out of our daily routine and renewed our marriage. (Conventions are for couples and priests who have already made a WWME weekend.)
All in all, our trip refreshed me and made me anxious to get home. The time away from my usual routines helped me decide to make the following changes:
- Condense papers I kept to prove I didn’t deserve being laid off a few years ago. I feel ready to let go of that and move on.
- My attitude about cooking has improved. Currently I am going through my cookbooks and deciding which to keep. (I love cookbooks and have only found two to discard so far.) I plan to pick a “Cookbook of the Week” and make a new recipe every week or so.
- Why not make old family favorites more often? I will bake “brown bread” soon, which is our name for a date-nut bread my grandmother used to make.
- At one of the B&Bs, breakfast was served outside on the porch. Back home, sometimes I bring my cup of tea outside and drink it on our patio, or I sit on our bench in front with something to read.
- I always have a stack of books from 2 or 3 libraries. But now I want to return the last couple of library books that I have and instead read the miscellaneous articles I have collected. Then I can clear out those papers, creating space for new things.
- I want to make the best of what we have. For example, we have an indoor fireplace and a small outdoor fire pit. Why not use them?
- I am inspired to put aside old negativity and treat cooking and homemaking as more of an art than drudgery. As Susan Branch says in her delightful blog, “Making a home for ourselves and our families does more for our general well-being and happiness than the everydayness of it might suggest; it’s second nature for most of us, because home is the place where love grows.”
Sometimes we live on autopilot and a change can help us see things from a fresh perspective.
Are your routines serving you? Where has drudgery crept in? How can you change your routines or your attitude?