Time to Loosen Up

I really need to loosen up. No, not physically (but I do need to go to yoga). My desire for structure has gotten out of hand this summer. It’s no secret that I love my routine and while it does keep me calm at times, it has caused me a lot of stress this summer. I’ve written about this before but this is something I’m still working on.

This past weekend was amazing. I had an awesome time with my best friends and laughed more than I have in a long time. But, truth be told, I was not looking forward to the trip. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but I had anxiety over it. It’s not that I wasn’t excited to see my friends, it was that I didn’t want to leave my routine.



Most people would think of this as no big deal (because it shouldn’t be), but I over thought the situation and panicked. I worried about silly things like missing my Saturday run, not sleeping well, and being pressured to drink. I kept thinking about my routine and what I “needed” to do that I wanted to rush through the weekend.

Luckily, the 4 hour drive on Friday gave me some time to think and I began to rationalize the situation...

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t run? Well, it would kind of suck but it’d be worth it if it meant spending time with friends.
What if I don’t go to sleep until 2 a.m.? Then I can take a nap when I get home on Sunday.
What if I feel pressure to drink? Umm my friends know me and know that’s not my thing, so why am I even worrying?

By the time I arrived on Friday I was energized and excited for the 48 hours ahead. My “worries” kind of disappeared and they didn’t bother me again. However, I did think about how I reacted to the situation and I wasn’t proud of that. I hope I can use this experience as another reminder that my routine is NOT the end-all-be-all.

Like most things in life, it’s really all about how you look at the situation. By rationally responding to my own concerns/questions I was able to turn dread into excitement, something I don’t normally do. While a weekend away might not mean anything for most people, it was a tiny-win for me. And with that, I can confidently say that I look forward to more (small) breaks from my routine.


I love routine. I kind of live by it. 

As a Type-A person having a routine keeps me sane. I find comfort in knowing how my day will turn out. During the school year I try to pick classes that mesh well with my routine: Wake up early, exercise, eat breakfast (or breakfast first if I’m not working out), go to class, eat lunch, do homework, have some “me” time (aka a nap or one episode of Grey’s), eat dinner, study (or club meetings), go to bed. Repeat. I have no complaints about my routine. In fact, I love it. But being home for summer and starting a new job has made me reevaluate the emphasis I placed on maintaining a routine. 

I don’t leave much room for spontaneity. If something pops up out of the blue and I can’t prepare for it, I usually don’t participate. Or, I participate unwillingly and end up complaining most of the time. This past year I’ve “loosened up” a little, which sometimes resulted in anxiety (I felt unproductive and mad that my day wasn’t in my control. Oh, control…that’s a whole different post). However, more often than not, the result was positive and I had fun. 



I’m a planner by nature but I’m learning that too much of it can have a negative effect socially…even in little instances such as hanging out with friends. For example, last year, if I had planned to go to yoga at a certain time and my friends invited me to go to the beach at the same time, I would have probably said that I’d meet them later. But lately, I’ve started making an effort to readjust (or ignore) my routine and make it adaptable to real life (where things aren’t predictable). 

Sticking to my routine everyday may make me happy in the short term, but making memories with people will bring a lifetime of happiness. If it means skipping yoga to go to the beach with friends, no problem! If it means making late lunch plans because my friend doesn’t get out of class until 2 p.m., then I want to be able to adjust…happily.

On the other hand, I’m hesitant to say that I’d ever give up maintaining a routine completely. Last week, I did not know what to expect before I started my summer internship and instead of stressing over that, I relied on my routine. I simply readjusted the schedule I’m used to (work out before work, plan for lunch, and have “me time” after dinner) and went into the week with no worries. 



So I guess I’m saying that while my routine is good in many aspects, I need to work on loosening up a little. I think this summer with vacation time and work I’ll face scenarios that will challenge my routine, and I need to learn to that that’s OK. Nothing bad will happen if I have a project that keeps me at work until 8 p.m. instead of 6. The sky won’t fall if I don’t get to workout because of an early meeting. 

Instead of always staying in the comfort of my routine, I want to relax and be open to all of the possibilities in life. My goal is basically another tie to living a healthyish life…having a routine with some wiggle room.

What are your thoughts on routines?

Do you follow one?