Day-to-day life and all that goes with it can look like grinding monotony and take its toll on desire, enthusiasm and energy levels.
Here are 5 pieces of easy, effective professional advice to get the sparkle back into your routine and live in a cleaner way.
Slooow dooown (without feeling guilty)
And one day I decided to play at being the tortoise*.
Why shouldn’t you? Everyone knows Aesop’s fable , but even if you know that the tortoise beats the hare, the weight of your upbringing, the social tempo, collective guilt and fear of being thought lazy have taken their toll on this permission to take it easy.
Yet books advocating the art of slowing down are doing very well. Life coaches, psychotherapists and other therapists dispense their advice and formulae in their therapy sessions, conferences and books.
However, since beliefs are very deep seated in the collective subconscious, it’s hard for the art of doing nothing to prevail. So before deciding to slow down, you have to claim the right to do so, even accepting being called lazy and owning it. This is simply because slowing down, and taking breaks to get going more effectively, is about changing your perspective. And ultimately, seeing your everyday life in a different light.
© Nathalie Desanti Book – Et un jour… j’ai décidé de faire la tortue [And one day I decided to play at being the tortoise]
Leave some room for surprises
While rituals make us feel safe, routine is boring and ends up tiring us out. Leaving some room for surprises, for yourself and others, is a way to stimulate the brain as much as revive enthusiasm. And since by definition we don’t plan out surprises for ourselves, we can organise them for others. Because the joy that they bring as they unfold is contagious. Like a shockwave, the surprise reaches those close to the surprised party. For yourself, dare to stray from the beaten track and you’ll naturally create the perfect conditions for surprise:
- Are you touring a foreign capital? Go ahead and leave that tourist trail, and make your way down the little neighbouring alleyways.
- Are you going to your favourite restaurant? Dare to choose a dish that you’re not familiar with.
- Are you seeing the Tour Eiffel sparkle for the thousandth time? Instead of passing by without looking at it, stop and observe the sky, the colour of it, hear the noises around you, see the people in the street. Surprise and being fully present go hand in hand.
Reconnect with your senses
The senses can be affected by “acute routinitis”, too. Even when you’re about to eat a food that you know inside out, go about it as if it’s the first time. Is the bread placed next to your plate “as per usual”? Look at it, take it in your hands, feel its weight, take a detailed note of its colour, smell it, break it while listening to the sound that the crust makes, smell it again and taste it while taking a detailed note of how it makes you feel.
Relearn to listen to your vital sensations. When do you get hungry? At what point do you feel full?
Reconnecting with your senses is about shaking up your routine.
Plug into nature
If you live in the city, nature is not as present as it is when you live right out in the countryside. Yet it’s so powerful that it finds its place even in the heart of the concrete jungle. Make a date with it to recharge your batteries. Cars, public transport, computer monitor work and telephones give off positive ions and weigh us down. The result: stress, tiredness, tingling of the hands or feet, headaches, lack of concentration and irritability. To offset it, it’s essential to load up on negative ions by coming into contact with water, wood or earth. In practical terms: if you drive a lot or often do on-screen work, take breaks and run water (cool or lukewarm depending on the season) over your hands, up to the elbows. Hug a tree, or simply touch the leaves of a plant. If you are lucky enough to live by the seaside or riverside, go and paddle in the water. You’ll instantly rebalance the positive / negative ion ratio.
Put together your Clean living toolkit
List everything that really does you good, and put each thing in an imaginary box, or even a real box. And whenever you feel bored, tired or down, take a lucky dip guided by your gut feeling, or “luck”, which so often brings the right thing at the right time.
Some see luck as a message from their guardian angel… It goes from: I put on a face pack / hair mask, I take a bath, I listen to music, I sing, I cook, I play with my cat or dog, to: I tidy my clothes away in my wardrobe (sorted by colour?). Enter dates with yourself in your appointment calendar: a yoga class, an exhibition, etc.
Create your inner safe space and “go there” whenever necessary. How? Close your eyes and think about the place where you feel safest, fully trusting, either alone or surrounded by those who make you feel this good. Keeping your eyes shut, let the sensation and emotions rise, take a deep breath, slowly, and you’re there. This is your safe space, an inner space that you can return to at any time. It’s not a routine, but a ritual that makes you feel safe. The crest line is fine and subtle. To find it, listen to yourself – that’s the key.
*Et un jour, j’ai décidé de faire la tortue [And one day I decided to play at being the tortoise], Nathalie Desanti, published by Editions Albin Michel-Horay.