General Question

glenjamin's avatar

What do you do to get through the mind-numbing repetition of daily life?

Asked by glenjamin (2481 points ) February 7th, 2011

So we do so many things every day that are the same – EVERY DAY!

For example, wake up, get ready for work, take care of the kid(s), drop them off, go to work, work, come home, eat dinner, take care of kids, put them to bed, get ready for bed, go to sleep, rinse and repeat. e.t.c. fyi i left alot out but you get the idea. Life is the same day to day, week to week, and this could become very ‘blah’ after awhile

What are some of the things you do to help you endure the eventual sameness of every day living?

(For example, I come here periodically throughout the day as a break from work. a little thing, but it helps me keep my sanity a bit)

Part of the reason I am asking is because I need ideas myself, so any answer you might have would be welcome.

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27 Answers

picante's avatar

A mind game to be sure, but what gets me by is looking forward to something. That something can be a simple dinner with a friend, or the completion of a project (redecorating) or starting something new (a Bunco club, music lessons, etc.). As I look forward to these events large and small, I begin to mentally list those elements that I’ll enjoy about them.

I can even go years out with my pondering and imagine how much I’ll enjoy my grandchildren or being able to travel more than I can currently.

Sounds silly, but it works for me.

wundayatta's avatar

Rituals (and all these little thing we do every day are rituals) are very important for psychological health. They help us feel like things are all right.

It is not helpful to think of them as mindnumbing. Instead, many people are grateful for these rituals, and they work on paying attention to them as much as possible instead of thinking about other things. The rituals of like are what give it the most meaning. The anomalous events seem exciting and like they break the boredom, but really, they don’t last. Daily rituals do.

coffeenut's avatar

Each day I live is a unique day….Yes somethings are the same but the rest is different…..

You should find ways to make each day “A New Day” even if it starts of on small changes you work from….

YoBob's avatar

Remind myself that it beats the hell out of sleeping under an overpass.

JLeslie's avatar

I hate very regimented routines. Thoughout my adult life I have opted for a schedule that is not M-F, wake up the same time, do the same thing every day. Still there is some routine of course, and what makes it ok for me is doing things with others as much as possible. I don’t mind cleaning, if I am talking to a friend while I do it. I don’t mind working if I feel like my work is appreciated and I know I am doing a good job. I also look forward to the breaks. A nice lunch, a vacation, etc.

Starburst's avatar

remember, it is a choice. Helping other people who really need it is the most satisfying way to live.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Maybe this is because I’m boring myself, but I don’t find my repetitive life boring or mind-numbing at all. I pretty much have the life I want, so I enjoy the ins and outs of my everydays. However, vacations sure are nice :)

harple's avatar

Whilst rituals are a part of everyday life (pun intended!) I try to create variety within the rituals… For example, choosing to really dress up one day, just for the fun of it, and therefore to take joy in the act of getting up and dressed (or maybe doing my hair a special way that day, or actually wearing makeup – not something I do very often)... Or with children, creating a daft game or competition around the act of getting ready for school (you could lay their clothes out in a route across the house, and prepare it the night before, leaving a note for them where their clothes would normally be…)

Obviously, there are other varieties possible, particularly around food. Out of the blue, say sod it and order everyone a takeaway… or make a normal seeming meal, but don’t put out any cuttlery and just for fun, eat it with your hands… (perhaps make that a kind of meal that is really better with cuttlery, so that YES, it get’s messy, but also so that you can insist back on cuttlery at the next meal, hopefully without causing arguments.)

If you frequently spend the evenings in front of the telly, you’ll probably not feel like making too big a change (such as trying to convince the family they really DO want to play scrabble instead of watching the same old same old), but you could turn an evening into a family movie night, complete with popcorn, lights off, etc etc.

@BBSDTfamily makes a good point about vacations… what would you do differently on holiday? Is there any elements of that you can bring in to your non-vacation time?

For me, breaks from the norm might be making myself a “posh coffee” at home rather than making do with what I usually make… (By posh coffee I mean the sort I would spend silly money on in Starbucks or similar)...

flutherother's avatar

I like life’s routines. Every morning I have a bowl of porridge at the same time but it never seems boring to me. It always seems new. I catch the news and watch the sky and the trees outside my window and make plans for the day ahead. At the same time I like to do new things, go to new places and be adventurous but it is nice to have a routine to come back to.

suzie271's avatar

Variety is the spice of life.

Every few days you need to get away from the routine.

Get someone else to look after you kids for a day and do something for yourself. Maybe on the weekends.

It is also important to have at least one friend outside your family that you can meet up with occasionally for lunch , coffee, cinema or whatever.

Also taking a holiday once every 6 months or year for at least a week.

Doesn’t have to be anywhere expensive, could be just to another city.

Also make sure that you excercise at least 3 times a week. I find that this really takes me away from my routine life and helps me to relax and reflect on other things.

Also are you spiritual. Do you try to seek the purpose of life through religion.
Maybe your problem is that life seems meaningless to you..You don’t see the higher purpose of it.?
I know society says different but religion does add meaning to life and helps you when you are down and out.

If you don’t take breaks from the routine, you will be come a resentful and unhappy person and hence a misery to people around you.

It is important to have other interests outside the routine necessary to take care of your family.

lemming's avatar

You could try living mindfully, this is where you try to really experience everyday tasks to the fullest, doing things like pealing vegetables, eating, anything really. Check out Jon Kabat-Zinn

Ellis1919's avatar

I need routine. I also need something to look forward to. Without these things all I would want to do is sleep. Taking time for yourself to do something, even if it’s just for five minutes can make a world of difference. Read, go for a walk, have a drink, call a friend, start a project, close your eyes and just relax…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My life changes often enough, thankfully. And I’m too busy to reflect on how mundane life is.

zophu's avatar

Think feverish, irrational thoughts. It mixes things up.

gorgeousgal3's avatar

Count downs

Ladymia69's avatar

You need to change something. Look at your life in a new light. Sometimes those changes have to be forced. I would suggest going down to Peru and taking a Blue Morpho tour. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

It just never occurs to me to think that way. I’m always happy that I have the life I have.

stardust's avatar

It’s the little things that make the difference in my world. It could be anything from doing my hair differently to focusing on a new & exciting project. Ultimately, I see every new day as a new opportunity and that in itself is both comforting and exciting.

Ladymia69's avatar

Regardless of how everyone else thinks, this is the way @glenjamin sees it. So we should focus on helping.

DancingMind's avatar

My top suggestion:
Find something(s) that you’re really passionate about, and make time for them. If you want to do it/them, you’ll find time is there for you to do it/them—whatever it is, or they are.

Other ideas:
Make a part of some day an adventure, even if it’s a small one—like going on a bike ride on the weekend or something.

Find ways to slightly vary up what you’re doing day to day, and enjoy the little differences, rather than do everything in the same order always. Like, if you have three things to do in the morning before going out (I’m sure it’s more than three, but still) do 1 2 3 one day, 2 1 3 the next, 3 2 1, etc, if at all possible.

Make some meal times ceremonies: on family member’s birthdays, everyone else wake up early to surprise them with a breakfast in bed (that’s a tradition my family did for years, until we all had to be somewhere before the crack of dawn). Have homemade pizza night, with a bunch of different toppings and homemade pizza dough (a good pizza dough recipe is an online one by Wolfgang Puck).

Take some time every morning and every night (could even just be five minutes) and do some sort of meditation. It makes everything seem fresh and do-able, at least for me.

Pick a wall and pick a color that you love—take a weekend to combine the two together.
Or rearrange the furniture, even, so that you’re not looking at the same thing day after day.

Find a book that excites you, whatever genre, whatever author.

Find more than one route to work, or to the children’s school, if possible. I’ve got a few alternate routes when I’m sick of being on the same roads every day.

Hope any of that helps!

laureth's avatar

I feel much the same way as the asker. What helps me is to think, which seems hard when it’s so “mindnumbing.” But it works for me.

I think about how to do things more efficiently, or about the etymology of words I use, or about events in history that led to this moment, or what will be built on this spot in 100 years, or how I like the feel of my husband’s long hair, or what I’ll plant in my garden next Spring, or what I’ll knit next (when I have time) or what I’ll get someone next Christmas, or a better way to make pizza at home, or how I can make a cookie recipe more diabetic-friendly, or what class I should take next semester, or a better way to explain something to someone who might not understand it. You know, just about anything.

Our bodies have to make this journey every day, but if it’s sufficiently repetitive (like going to the bathroom – certain things we just have down pat and really don’t need to think about), our minds can fly freely. My employer rents my hands, but only as much of my brain as it takes to make the hands work. My mind is my own. Using it (some might say “overthinking”) is my survival tool.

YARNLADY's avatar

In response to @ladymia69 , let me be a little more clear. I get through the day by never even allowing thoughts such as those you have mentioned, and it is my suggestion you could do the same.

VS's avatar

I like the sameness of routine…it’s like the difference in wearing a pair of comfortable old sneakers or a pair of 5-inch, too-tight heels that pinch. My comfortable routine of the daily rituals are perfect for me. I have lived life on a roller coaster of ups and downs and know that, what you call mind-numbingly boring, is better by a long shot than the not-knowing-what-the-hell-is-coming-next!

BarnacleBill's avatar

The joy is in the moment. What exactly do you want to be different, and what’s stopping you from making changes to the routine that makes it more interesting?

Sometimes it comes from changing the schedule and sticking to it. Take a look at what you do and see what the opportunities are. Is your house overwhelmed with toys and kid crap to the point that you spend too much time trying to pick up so that cleaning is overwhelming? Are your kids overscheduled? Do you own too many clothes so that there’s always too much laundry? Is the television on all the time? Are the kids cranky because they’re hungry when you get home? All of this can be fixed. If you have parents in town, plan on one night a week where you eat there. Plan a movie night, where dinner is something you can eat in front of a family movie. Hire a babysitter for regular Friday nights and go out with your spouse, even if it’s to sit in a coffee shop and talk or go to the park for a few hours. Have game night once every two weeks and invite over a family or two with kids the same age. Volunteer at some place adult, like an art museum or Habitat for Humanity.

amyborne's avatar

It’s true – waking up every day and doing the same thing could be exhausting. I do things a bit differently ever y day, like walk to work though a different route, eat something different, even use a different shampoo! And when I walk my dog, I take her on a different route each day. I can tell she likes it too!

glenjamin's avatar

Wow you all have such great ideas! Thank you! I think what I need the most is something to look forward to, maybe some kind of goal(s) that is challenging, but achievable in the forseeable (near) future. Maybe I need to make ‘little’ goals so the things I do every day feel like some kind of accomplishment, rather than just going through the motions just because I have to. Whatever I do, I have to make things at least seem more fun. I know we each ‘make our own lunch,’ so to speak, so I need to make an effort if I want to see any change. I just need some kind of game plan because I don’t work well without a well thought out plan. What made me think about this question the most was the fact that I used to have so much ‘free time’ to do whatever I pretty much wanted, and now that ‘free time’ has diminished to being almost non-existent, so that my days are mostly filled with things I have to do or am obligated to do (you know, the routine).

flutherother's avatar

It is like the rain. It has been falling since the beginning of the world but it is always fresh, always new.

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