Many memories are created when you least expect it. They’re not forced nor are they planned. They come from the experience and feeling of the event. They can be made at large family events, or during the smallest moments – like baking cookies with your kids, taking a walk with your parents, playing a board game with your family, the laughter of a moment, or the tears of another. They can be based on traditions, rituals, or every day life, and often happen when we find ourselves breaking out of our daily routines and experiencing something new.
If the idea of breaking your routine sends chills down your spine, I, too, know this feeling. And the more I think of it, the harder it becomes. What I’ve learned is that breaking out of a routine doesn’t have to be challenging. The simpler you keep it, the easier it is, both to do AND to experience.
Here are 7 simple, low stress ways to break out of your routine and hopefully create new memories:
- Try something new. We all have hobbies and things we love to do. Most likely, we don’t share all our same interests with our kids, our spouse or our friends and families. Why not try something you’ve never done before and see what happens? If your spouse loves playing video games to relax, try playing one with him. If your kids play soccer every evening in your yard, try joining them one night for some family fun. If one of your friends loves hosting parties and cooking new foods, offer to host and cook for a future party. You might find you enjoy these new experiences so much that they start to become part of your ‘new’ routine.
- Take a walk. Being in nature can refresh your mind, body and spirit. Taking a walk and getting fresh air can turn a bad mood into a good one. A walk by yourself can allow you to be more present in your life. You can also walk with others. For those of you with children, a short walk can be the perfect time to hunt for treasures, identify different types of cars, flowers and trees along your stroll. With your partner, it can be some quiet ‘we’ time.
- Go on a trip. Whether it be a three hour or weekend get away, taking a trip can be a good way to get out of your routine and have new experiences. Even a one hour trip to a new playground, park, beach, or even shopping mall or thrift store – being in a new environment can open you up to new experiences to take home as new memories.
- Be creative. When my oldest son was three years old, he was painting on some paper. He decided to take it a step further and see what would happen if he painted himself. The next thing I knew, his entire arm was painted red and blue. He told me he was Spiderman! Despite my anxiety at the thought of cleaning him up, I couldn’t help but laugh at his imagination and creativity. You don’t have to be an artist or a crafty person to create. All you need is imagination. Whether it’s colored pencils, paint, stickers or a sheet of paper, you have easy tools at your fingertips. Sit down by yourself and give yourself permission to have fun. No masterpieces allowed! Just the feeling of freedom and experience that comes from the simple act of creating that allows for a new memory.
- Find a cause and volunteer. Do you have time on your hands and are feeling bored? Consider volunteering for an event. There are plenty of options as organizations are always looking for volunteers. Take part in a charity walk, write letters to soldiers, sick children or adults in the hospital, or walk dogs at your local animal shelter. If you have children, enlist them in volunteering as well.
- Be spontaneous! As a planner, I love and need routine. Oftentimes, it’s hard from me to stray from what I’ve planned out in my mind, and my written planner. But, I’m learning to be more spontaneous, if only for a half hour or an hour … even a day. I’m learning to take one day a week to just go with the flow of the day. I guarantee you, you’ll have new experiences and from this and new feelings and memories to consider. And finally….
- Let your kids make the plans…and be present with them. If you have children, why not let them plan the day? Let them take the reigns on how to spend a few hours or even an entire day. Maybe they want to play with Legos, color, bake cookies, or just watch movies all day. Or maybe they want to do a variety of things, inside and outside. Whatever the day brings, document it with photos. You might even want to capture some of their comments in writing for future use. Be present with your children, play with them – experiencing and helping to make memories with them, for them and for you, but also give them their own alone time, time that also assists them in memory making.
Getting our of our daily routine can open new doors to create and welcome fresh memories for yourself and loved ones. What could be more wonderful than this?