Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ah, routine

Today I have about five loads of wash to do. (Some of which I will, once again, attempt to dry on the clothesline, even though clothes out there have not really gotten dry recently. Hope springs eternal.) I'm also planning on catching up on some basic housecleaning -- sweeping, dusting and the like.  The holidays are finally over and this will be the first routine day I've had in several weeks.

Funny things, routines.  Do them too many times in a row and they get tedious and boring -- even depressing, if you do them long enough without taking a break.  But take a long enough break and, IF your day-to-day life is in the right place (a big if), you will find yourself quite happy to get back your the usual routine, once all the hustle-and-bustle passes.  
A lot of routine

And a little chaos, thrown in for fun

Routines are not only important to our mental health, they're also crucial to our physical health and well-being.  People who do shift-work, where it's day-shift this month and graveyard next month, have demonstratively greater health problems than those who go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  Even the human body craves routine, but without at least a little challenge, it too will fall into an entropy that's almost as bad as a constantly-changing schedule.  No, the trick is balance.  A lot of regularity, with a little chaos and challenge thrown in to mix up the scenery once in awhile and keep our blood pumping and our eyes open.  

Yesterday morning, I jumped into a cold Pacific ocean in my pajamas, and later drank wine and ate chili with my husband and some new friends at the winery.  Today I will be washing, cleaning, and cooking dinner for the family (something I expect to do a lot of for the next several days).

It takes wisdom and self-care to know when it's time to resume our routines and when it's time to break free from them and change things up a little.  But if you know how to create normalcy within crisis times and, conversely, create fun and diversion during times when nothing much is going on, you've gone a long way towards doing what it takes to stay sane.

Too bad it takes most of us 40 or 50 years to figure this all out, but better late than never.

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