Breaking The Comfort Zone

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I find it very easy to get lost in a routine. The weekly timetable I create for myself is something I feel I need, to make sure I am ticking the boxes of social requirements presented to me on a daily basis. These routines that I create also make me feel safe, they allow me to only tiptoe out of the box on Saturday nights, and outings planned months in advance.

Although the particulars may vary a little, the weeks begin to run on a minute to minute tempo - I wake up 3 seconds before my alarm every morning, I get Indian on Sundays and every second Thursday, I go to the same pub every Friday afternoon, Saturdays are spent at the beach and Sunday's are spent on the couch...

Start Over.

I subscribe to this timetable and everything feels normal. Until one Friday, someone suggests going camping instead of going to the pub and the world implodes on itself. It's often during these moments of implosion that I realize how dependent I am on routine, and although I feel safe in these little patterns I have created for myself, their repetitive nature begins to dictate the way I feel both physically and mentally. Nothing truly excites me anymore, I have fewer things to look forward to and I stop challenging myself.

I have found that this cycle can lead to a stagnant mental state. My mind is not presented with fresh stimulation, it is not getting stronger, and this allows the demons and darkness to slip into my thoughts.

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I have found that the best way to maintain a strong and healthy mind is to exercise it - just like any other muscle. This is often easier said than done, life can get very busy and this makes it hard to find new things to do. However, I’ve found a few little things I can sneak into the 9-5 grind to mix it up:

Go out during the week - I fell into the habit of staying at home on school nights and then staying out until the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. This was mainly because I didn’t look beyond my comfort zone. If you do some research, you’ll find an abundance of mid-week activities to do (that don’t always involve alcohol). Sydney is a melting pot of culture, and going out and experiencing or eating something new can realign your chakras and have you firing on all cylinders again.

Get Lost - The age-old adage that states the lessons you learn whilst travelling cannot be taught by any teacher has become one of my biggest cliches. The thing with cliches though is that they’re usually right. Obviously quitting your job, packing all your possessions into a rucksack and going on a 5-year odyssey around the world is a bit extreme, but stepping out of your bubble every couple of weeks and taking a dive into your backyard can be very replenishing for the soul. Anytime I step out of my box and see how other people shuffle around in their lives, always gives me a greater understanding of human nature and a deeper appreciation for my own weird little world.

I’m not promising that these little bits of info will completely change the way you live. And if you’re content with your routine then embrace it. But if you feel like you’re in a rut and want to change up the 9-5 then maybe take a left turn off a road where you always go right.

Written by Oscar Long


Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.

Leanne Westlake