Routine can be a good thing.

I feel like we constantly hear about the importance of mixing up your routine.  In general, I am a major advocate of changing it up.

However, recently a friend drew my attention to some of my weekly routines, that had become an essential part of my self care.  Interestingly enough, I hadn’t even realized it was worth mentioning?!  These routines were as essential to my week, as waking up in the morning!

Almost all of my routines involve co-workers.  This does not surprise me as we are doing emotionally taxing work which can be easier to discuss and process with those who “get it.”

I’m happy to share these routines with you, though I by no means am advocating that any of these are important for YOU.

Monday night– I meet up with an old friend and we act and film a series we are creating. It uses another part of my brain that is not usually tapped at work, and it’s a total blast. We also laugh like hyenas for most of the time.

Tuesday night– Having just finished a double, I take the train back to Brooklyn with one of my colleagues and we have a debriefing/therapy session.  We are super strict about this being OUR time.  If we run into co-workers on the train, we politely explain this is our rare time together and we will catch up with them later.  A couple times we didn’t do this and were resentful the rest of the ride.  So now we are honest with others, and have learned to protect that time.

Wednesday night– Having just worked my second double and I join another one of my colleagues to a bar that we have now frequented for 3 years.  We are also super strict about this being OUR time and have had to navigate this for the past 3 years, unwittingly hurting some feelings along the way.  We each order one margarita (rocks no salt) and share nachos.  The bartenders know us and the drinks are being made the second they spot us, which thrills me every time!

Thursday lunch– I go to lunch with another colleague, to a diner where the waiters always know what we’re going to get.  We pretend every time we’re going to get something different and then don’t.  We eat, talk and then walk a little bit before we have to head back.

The rest of my week is up for grabs, this is where I can be totally spontaneous, make plans or be a hermit depending on my mood.

But my weekly routines?  I don’t mess with those.  They have been implemented into my life for a reason. These interactions keep me from becoming cynical, depressed or stuck in other routines that aren’t healthy.  They are my self-care routines.  You may notice that I am strict on the one-on-one time with these folks.  I realize this may be very uncomfortable for some who don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  BUT, I maintain that I am the best version of my self when I am protective of sacred time rather than trying to make everyone happy at the detriment of my mental health.

Do you also have weekly routines you hadn’t even realized were an essential part of your self-care?  If so I encourage you to appreciate the self-care routines you’ve already established in your day to day life.  And if it looks like you could do with some, take that risk and reach out to someone or make a weekly date with yourself that you don’t break!

Final thought, try to refrain from making the routine an opportunity to complain with someone.  This doesn’t tend to have an effect that feels good for very long, and you may be more apt to cancel or avoid that routine if instead of giving you energy it takes energy away.

Take care of YOU!

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