Rut or Routine?

Photo by Miesha Moriniere on

As a public school teacher, I have been on Winter Break for over two weeks – 16 days to be exact. Two weeks and three full weekends – it has been glorious! The holidays are my favorite weeks of the year – being with family and friends, the gatherings, the parties, the hustle, the bustle, all the yummy food, the traditions – everything! All of my children were home for nine straight days. We laughed, ate many meals, watched movies, had great discussions, and enjoyed being together. After the New Year, I slept late, watched movies, and caught up on tv shows. There have been shopping excursions, cleaning frenzies, and a dream project launched! On a few occasions last week, I had to stop to think what day it was – it’s been sheer bliss! Now, it’s time to get back to reality. I really need my routine.

I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. That can be a really good thing or a very bad one. At many different times in my life, it has been both. Having things organized and in order has always been my preference. I tend to function better when I have a plan or schedule. Along that same line, surprises are not usually my favorite, either. I like to know what’s coming and what to expect. Don’t get me wrong, that in no way means I am exceptionally neat or always make wise use of my time. Since it’s very likely that my college roommates are going to read this, let me be completely honest here. We got dorm room citations due to my side of the room being a total disaster. Most of the time in our apartment, it looked as if my closet had exploded. I am the queen of wasting three hours doing nothing and not knowing how in the world it happened. If my husband buys me an unexpected gift or takes me to dinner “just because”, wonderful! Should he decide to whisk me away for a weekend with no forewarning, well, that may not go so well. Luckily, after thirty-four years he knows this about me and plans accordingly. Last summer he “surprised” me with a long weekend away. He gave me a week’s notice. “We are going away. Pack for hot weather, and take some outfits for nice, casual dinners.” So, I made lots of lists, cleaned the house, packed too many shoes, and we ended up having a glorious time in Savannah.

I have committed this year to personal growth, making dreams happen, and giving it my all. As long as there is a plan to adhere to and keep me focused, I feel better poised to accomplish my goals. There is no time to get stuck in a rut. The self-doubt, negativity, and stress that could settle in would only zap my purpose and creativity. Often my week contains many “non-negotiables”. While there is much about my daily routine that cannot be changed, there are many things I can change to keep from letting it become mundane.

  • Keeping track of time – the days, weeks, the month. Whether using a planner, smartphone, or laptop, there are ways to manage and stay on top of your priorities rather than have them take control of you.
  • Scheduling self-care. It’s important to plan for some leisure time to boost your energy. Allowing for some spontaneity and creativity keeps those ruts at bay. For Christmas, my husband gave me pottery classes. I’m so excited! I’ve wanted to try hand-built pottery for quite some time. The neat thing about it is that we are going to do it together. So as this year gets underway, I already know that at least once a week I’m going to have an outlet to be creative AND have some designated time to spend with him, too.
  • Letting go. That’s a hard one for me, but I’m learning. There are countless schedules online for rotating exercise regimens, meal planning, and household chores. Find one that works well for you and your family. Ask for help, hire some help, trade off with a friend. Carpool, organize meal swaps, use a meal kit service, and for Heaven’s sake – give yourself some grace. That last one is for me, by the way.

Whatever you need to do to stay focused, motivated, and on your game – do it! Set your goals, determine your plan, and make changes as needed. Keep looking forward and stay on top of your dreams. We’ve got this!



Published by Elizabeth Sharpe

My name is Elizabeth Sharpe, but to most, I'm just "Beth". I am a wife, mom, educator, and lover of all things good and kind. I love to share my stories and reflections to connect with others. It is my hope to encourage and inspire readers in some small way as we journey life together.

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