Q: I’ve been feeling stuck in my own routine lately. It’s hard to get excited about anything, because every day feels the same. How can I shake things up without neglecting my responsibilities?
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A: This is the kind of problem that many people who haven’t experienced it don’t see as a problem. But I look at what you’re describing as a kind of mental cabin fever. You know that feeling you get when you’re trapped in your house by the weather or the flu? That’s what your routine is doing to you, emotionally.
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You have things you need to do, and you probably don’t have a choice about most of them. But remember that any kind of change — even the small kind — can send a wake-up call to your brain. So pack yourself a fancy lunch instead of your regular Greek yogurt. Take a different route on your commute to work or school. Use your spare time to research an activity you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet. And get your friends and family to come along with you as you try out that new independent coffee shop or enroll in cardio barre or yoga class for the first time.
When you can, you’ll make a bigger change. Maybe you want to find a new job eventually or make a permanent move. But these little tricks can help you stay engaged in your life as you work up to that. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to keep on surprising yourself.
If you need advice, ask your question in the comments, and it may be featured in an upcoming column.
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