What To Do When Your Routine Becomes Exhausting

How Choosing Rituals Over Routine Can Breakthrough Burnout

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This time of year is hard on many of us—after the holidays, beginning of year, less daylight, colder days. Add to all that, 2022 brings with it the effects of year three of Covid and the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of the days ahead. 

(Raise your hand if the prior two sentences sent you into a panic attack.)

Me too. Yet, we are all living it. It is no wonder that many of us would rather pull the covers over our heads than pop out of bed.

If that is you, then try this:

Turn your routines into rituals.

I have always been a morning person. But last year this time, I noticed that my early hour zest for life was dwindling. I thought back to what had changed about my routine in the last month. It was that the holidays were over, and I did not get to spend them with my family last year. I was missing that grounding sense of purpose that in years prior had given me the extra oomph to push through the dreary winter months. I began to approach January with my December routine.

I love everything about the holidays—the scents, sounds, gifts, and traditions. I infused those rituals into my January routine. I stumbled out of bed to light a balsam and cedar candle, asked Alexa to play Charlie Brown’s Christmas (instrumental version), and bought four advent calendars on sale to open one gift per day until springtime.

It wasn’t going back to the holidays, it was wrapping myself in the comforts of joyful, sacred rituals.

Make a list of what brings you joy.

Think about the rituals and traditions that you look forward to. Make a list and think about how you might incorporate those people, things, activities into your daily routines. Maybe it is the scent of a hand lotion that reminds of your grandmother, or a song that your kids used to bellow out from the backseat. Find places in your daily routine to visit those cherished memories regularly.

Make a list of who offers you support.

Our best memories are filled with familiar faces. Create a list of who supports you in every role in your life—as a parent, partner, leader, and friend. When you face challenges in each, who offers immediate support? Create that mental rolodex now. Put them on notice today.

Stock the emotional pantry.

When we are exhausted, we often turn to distractions and vices rather than processing the emotional baggage. We must prepare for exhaustion by answering these questions with a well-rested mind.

  • What energizes me?
  • What comforts me?
  • What grounds me?
  • What inspires me?
  • What elevates me?

Have these answers nearby. Build a sacred routine, or ritual, around them.

Stockpile the emotional pantry, knowing it will nourish you through the storms ahead.

Burnout is a signal that our routines are no longer serving us, or even worse, completely depleting us. When we become exhausted with our daily routines and habits, find comfort in the rituals that bring you joy and support.

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