The groundhog saw its shadow and all of a sudden there are six more weeks of winter. If you ask me, it’s pretty selfish of Mr. Groundhog to come out of his burrow on a sunny day, but that’s a discussion for another time. Right now, we need to talk about how around this time every year, we start to go a little stir-crazy. The holidays are far enough in the rearview mirror to have faded away and spring isn’t close enough – at least not here in the North – to have any tangible effect.
Sure, we have MLK Day and Presidents’ Day to give us a nice little three-day weekend to break the monotony, but what about the rest of the time. February is the shortest month of the year but at times it feels like the longest. There just aren’t enough things going on. The days are getting longer, but they’re still criminally short, and the winter weather reminds us (painfully) that it still has some vigor left. We’re at the point where we can’t sit by and let the calendar break our monotony for us. We have to do it ourselves.
BREAKING THE ROUTINE AT WORK
This is one of the hardest places to break a routine. We’re creatures of habit and doing the same thing over and over again feels comfortable and familiar. It’s scary to leave the friendly confines of the routine, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do.
THE BUSY BEE
If you’re Ms. Busy Bee and you find yourself burning out, break from your routine and take a different path to your daily destination. Instead of coming in and doing X, Y, and Z, come in and do Z, X, and Y. Maybe even throw in some E, W, and R in there. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, why limit yourself to just three? This will help break the monotony of your work day, making it more palatable.
THE NOT-SO BUSY BEE
If you’re Mr. Ordinary Bee and your routine routinely (see what I did there) leaves you bored, create work for yourself to do. I know, nothing kills your mood more than feeling unproductive. It’s a recipe for sadness and malaise. Well, luckily, all you have to do is change something.
Give yourself a new project to work on. Learn something new that will help you in your work, push yourself out of your comfort zone. The biggest culprit in the monotony epidemic (hyperbole alert!) is complacency. Once you’ve become complacent, you’ve lost.
BREAKING THE ROUTINE OUTSIDE OF WORK
It’s hard to break routine when you’re confined to indoor spaces for months at a time (#winter), but doing so will do wonders for you. Instead of coming home after a rough day at work (or otherwise) and plopping yourself on your couch, give a friend a call and hang out, go to a bar, or a show, or just be in someone’s company. I know, it’s hard to bring yourself to do this because doing nothing is 100% easier than doing something, but doing something will help break the monotony, and the discomfort you may find yourself in. Don’t sit back and let unhappiness take root. Get off your butt and do something to alter your mood.
Any jolt to the system will do wonders for you and bring the light back to your face. Don’t fret having a rough go of things, it happens to all of us. Pick yourself up and shift it. Even if it’s just 5° one way or the other, down the line it’ll feel like miles of difference.
Until next time – Shake it up, baby.