Why Having a Routine is Just as Important as Breaking One
How many times have you decided you’re going to live in flawless health in the lead up to a vacation?
Or - perhaps more accurately so - immediately after you return?
How much pressure does that put on yourself to not only stick to the unusually intense health regime either side, but to enjoy yourself so much while you’re on holiday that you practically make yourself sick over-indulging?
Does this ‘trade-off’ mentality leave you feeling balanced?
For some people, it does. Kudos to them, but I'm not one of them! I always end up feeling like my body has been stressed to the nines, trying to keep up with a routine that is so strict and then spectacularly discarded in a fit of holiday bliss.
I spend my holiday trying so hard to ‘make the most of it’ that by the end of it I feel as if I’m carrying a toxic load so much heavier than what I would ever allow myself to build in normal circumstances.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Routine is critical to our productivity.
It’s boring, but it’s true. Without some kind of plan, goal-setting and structure to our lives, it’s almost impossible to make the impression we want to leave on the world.
However, if we flip the coin, breaking that routine is also important. If we become unconditionally committed to a routine, we deny ourselves the spontaneity to immerse ourselves in a joyous experience that comes our way.
What’s the answer?
Learning to enforce our states of routine and non-routine is not the battle. Most of us can do that. The battle lies with the acceptance that it’s ok to not be so polarised to one end or the other.
We need to break the cycle between ‘I need my routine to be flawless for X days’ and ‘I’m allowed to stray as much as I like today because I’m taking a break from my strict routine”.
That’s not to say you have to get up early to go for a run on your holiday, or turn down the poolside cocktail (really, that’s just madness). But setting ourselves a looser routine and openly accepting breaks as they come along is going to leave us much steadier and happier in the long run.
If you have a healthy, productive routine every day, with the commitment to keep yourself on track but without putting too much pressure around it, you’re more likely to carry some of those positive actions forward into your periods of rest rather than abandon them altogether.
You’re left with the opportunity to enjoy your holiday for the mental and physical rest that it should be, without the spectacular collapse of a two-week long emergency detox in the lead up that needs a cleanse just as intense to recover from.