In a recent newsletter I asked this question of readers:
Are you in a groove or in a rut?
I had a wonderful response from readers sharing their stories so I could collate them for a post here on the blog. I have included my personal story in answer to the question first (which I shared in the newsletter) and then the contributions from lovely readers. I hope they help you which ever stage you are at.
It is pretty obvious that I love routines. They are my security blanket to navigate the chaos of family life. Routines allow me to establish processes for those repetitive tasks of family life, of which there are many – shopping, eating, stacking the dishwasher, unstacking the dishwasher, packing lunches, washing clothes, sorting clothes and it goes on and on.
Routines allows me to do the stuff I need to do around the house without thinking about it – it helps to make it automatic so I just get it done even when I don’t feel like it. Routines allow you to automate the small things so when you need to make bigger decisions, you have the mental energy to make those decision and make better ones.
Routines can make you feel like you are really in the groove and nailing the tasks you need to do. But if we are to keep growing and learning, routines need to change and evolve over time. If we don’t, we can find ourselves easily slipping from being in a groove to being in a rut.
I noted in my goal for 2019 post that this was pretty much the case for me:
2019 for me feels like it is the year to shake things up a little and put some time and energy to changing my routines and the way I do things to create more personal growth. I feel like I haven’t challenged myself (other than physically) much over the last couple of years and have become a bit too comfortable. In 2019 I want to make myself experience some discomfort and mix up what I do from day to day.Read my full post on my goal for 2019 here.
So far this year I have changed up my exercise routine (joined a running group), changed the way I work (theming days) and learning some new hobbies (baking sour dough bread). The interesting thing about making these changes is that it ismaking me want to make more small changes. None of the changes I have made have been big, but they have been a series of little changes that have actually re-energised my days and I don’t feel like I am in a rut anymore.
We can get caught up in thinking to shake things up we need to make massive changes to what we are doing. That is certainly one way to approach it. But when you have a family and work commitments, sometimes it can be overwhelming to make massive changes at this particular point in your life. Choosing some small things to change that you have control over can be a more doable and sustainable way to get yourself out of rut and reinvigorate yourself.
So if you are feeling a little like I was at the start of the year, pick one part of your weekly routine and make a change – see how that feels and gain some momentum from the positive feedback you will gain.
So I finally got around to reading this post, and I can relate totally. Although I do not feel that I have successfully grasped several things in my life the way that I want to, my situation is that it makes simple things like routines and rhythms a little harder to stick to. Depending where my children are in their illness and what we are facing at the time can change everything. What it hasn’t changed, however, and the reality that I have slowly come to terms with, is that I will not be able to work in an outside role again.
As a mother who has built her identity on working outside the home, and the fulfilment that can come from this, I still struggle with this reality at times- and feel every now and then I loose myself to the children. My love for creativity and photography is not only my therapy but it keeps me constantly challenged. When this starts to slow down I start to loose that process, or when I get knocked down again and again, I find it can be harder to get up every time.
This year I had planned on doing my fine art work, to keep producing images as my outlet, and to regain some of my mental strength. I set my goal statement at the beginning of the year, and wanted to stick with it. As I am also on a decluttering journey for a few years now- I came across up my old studio equipment, that I used more than 10 years ago- and loved it. I decluttered enough space and furniture to open up my front lounge, and have reintroduced myself to studio work. Actually drilling holes in the walls, ordering the seamless paper, and set the lights up. I have loved this. It makes me feel alive again, and one small step in front of the other I have gone from a room of chaos to the most beautiful heartfelt portraits of my children- beyond even my own expectations.
I will continue to build the space to photograph other children, and specialise in ill children, and I feel quite strongly about giving them a voice through these images. I then entered some images into an international photo award competition and every image won. This was again the boost I needed to keep going- although seemingly unnecessary- I am an obliger, so if I get outside approval I feel I am worthy enough to keep going- sad but true.. I have already been contacted by someone in the US to help support a worthy cause of photographing other ill children.
This all started from a small change. I started by unpacking an old box that had been stored for 10 years, and thought, what if? I embraced my situation and changed my thought process to one of- I am lucky enough to have the time to be able to concentrate on something I love, instead of focusing what I could no longer do. And although the composite fine art work has taken a back seat, I push forward with the fine art portraits. If nothing else comes of these steps I have three of the most beautiful portraits of my own children now about to be framed and hung in my entrance to remind me every day of just how lucky I am.
I love this aspect of change. I am mother of three – 12, 12 and 10. My recent change is that I’m taking a break for driving for few months, promoting healthy walking and improving self care.
I feel like I am finally in a grove. I started working this term (part time) and it was a big change for the whole family. Before I started we reworked our morning routines and the kids all got extra tasks in the morning on the days I work, so things would be smoother after work. It took a few weeks to get everyone on board, but it was worth the effort as we all leave the house on time and with out leaving behind a massive mess.
I am in a rut. I have been feeling really undervalued by the family and feel like I am the one doing all of the work. So in reaction to this I have started doing less around the house and spending more time on my phone which isn’t really helping. After your email I signed up for your mindful tech course and have set some new rules for my phone use. I am hoping this will help me procrastinate less.
Definitely in a rut here. I have decided to get up 20 minutes earlier each day and take the dog for a walk. Only two days in, so early days, but this small change made those two days so much better. I have set myself a challenge to do it for the rest of April, thanks for the inspiration.