When Life Feels Like a Chore, Try These 7 Tricks
I don’t know if it’s the hot and slow days of summer, the stage of life that my kids are in, or what, but lately life has been feeling kind of lazy and, I cringe to even say this out loud, kind of like a chore.
I’m choosing not to feel embarrassed because I’m sure you’ve experienced it too at some point. The days blend together because they follow the same routine - morning rituals (dictated by you or your little one), work, evening routine, chores, vegging, and sleep. And even if you schedule fun activities like an afternoon at the pool, a trip to a new playground, or a date night, it’s never enough to jolt you out of that feeling...
That feeling that you’re just moving through your days instead of living them.
That feeling of guilt that you’re not enjoying life to its fullest (as so many Instagram photos encourage you to do).
That feeling that you’re not creating memories that your kids will look back on and ask to repeat as soon as possible.
Sometimes days, weeks, or even an entire month goes by without you noticing that this is happening. And the hardest part is when you get so used to feeling this way, even when you know that something should change, it's a struggle to figure out what should change, or how.
Logically we know that really, this funk that we're in is caused by what we're thinking. You've heard me talk about this before. But even the best of us struggle with changing thoughts that have quickly become a habit.
Sometimes, one of the best things we can do to jumpstart that process is to take ACTION. Trying something new and seeing things from a different perspective can be just what we need to make life feel more fun, and less like a chore.
If you're ready to take action and to reclaim your days, try one of these ideas to shake things up a bit.
1. Get Off Social Media
As much as we say it helps us keep in touch or “zone out” when we need it, when you’re in a funk, social media is doing you no favors. Just seeing others out taking adventures and exclaiming how amazing life is can be enough to make you feel even worse, whether you realize it or not.
One of my favorite instagrammers posted recently about how she takes mini-breaks from Instagram by deleting the app off her phone for a few days to a week at a time. She never fully deletes her account, she just realizes when it’s time for a break.
So maybe you try that approach rather than going cold turkey. See what it does for your outlook and your productivity. What new perspective does it provide?
2. Change Up Your Schedule
Pick a part of your day that is so routine you don’t even think about it. Maybe it’s your drive to work, your breakfast choice, your dinnertime routine, whatever. Now think about how you could change it just a little bit.
Can you take an alternate route to work, or make a pit stop for a special coffee treat?
Can you try a new breakfast recipe? Instead of the usual oatmeal or hard-boiled egg, try overnight oats or a smoothie.
If you always eat dinner together at the dining table, can you eat outside on a picnic blanket, or have an impromptu pizza party with neighbors?
Make a break from routine. Give yourself something different to look forward to. Practice being spontaneous. Not all the time, just this one time (or more if you love it!).
3. Make Something With Your Hands
I know not everyone is crafty. I have even gotten away from my days of knitting and DIY projects, because...time. But there is something so satisfying about working with your hands. It takes you out of your thoughts and gives you something to focus on that you can see through to completion, unlike work days filled with never-ending inboxes and projects that last for forever.
So what could you make? Could it be an art project with your kiddo or a play-doh creation just for fun? Could it be an adult coloring book or a quick painting project around the house (I know I have a million little things I would love to spray paint for added color!)? If you’ve got supplies lying around, go crazy. If not, what you can do that you already have? I would love to watch youtube videos on hand-lettering and just doodle for an evening.
4. Take a Day Trip
There is a reason people go on vacation, and many argue that travel is the best source of inspiration. We need something to look forward to and we need a change of scenery.
Can you try letting go of the weekend chores and prepping for next week? Say no to over-commitment of activities and anything else, and pick somewhere new you’ve never been.
Try taking a short drive to a new restaurant you’ve never eaten at before.
Find a summer festival in your town or neighboring one for something different.
Visit a museum, a park or anywhere else nearby that you haven’t seen before.
Remember, it can be about you and your kids can just be along for the “adventure”. Our trips don’t always have to center around a place being “kid-friendly”. I know I can get stuck on this a lot, but when I challenge my kids to find something cool about where we are going, they always enjoy it even if it’s not necessarily geared toward them.
5. Buy (or make) a Fun Card
I’m a big fan of snail mail. Always have been, always will be. With so many amazing options for cute, funny and touching cards, I have no excuse but to be sending mail to those I think about.
Just last week I couldn’t resist a card from Trader Joe’s (and they’re only $1) so I bought it on a whim and put it in the mail to a friend. I shared a sentiment that easily could have been shared over text, but why not change things up a bit?
Is there someone who has been on your mind lately to check-in with? Could you send a funny card, just because, instead?
Thinking about others takes the focus off of us. And when you’re in a funk and feeling like life is mundane, I say it’s the perfect time to do just that.
6. Set a Silly Goal
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but never felt it was “necessary” or “worth the time”? For me, don’t laugh, I’ve always wanted to go through and watch the entire filmography for Diane Keaton. I love her as an actor and I know I would enjoy creating a list of all her films and slowly making my way through it. But it always seems frivolous and most evenings I can’t justify giving up on chores or work to sit in front of the TV devouring movies.
But if it could change up my life enough, give me something interesting and crazy to talk about, what’s the harm? Chores will be there for the rest of my life. This silly goal? It would be fun.
So what’s something that you could do this summer, to set for yourself as a silly goal?
Is it baking a certain number of recipes from your favorite food blogger’s website?
Is it listening to all the albums from a decade’s top 20 list?
Is it taste-testing every dairy bar in town?
Do something crazy, frivolous, and downright silly!
7. Write Down What You Are Grateful For
You’ve heard it a million times, and for good reason. There is science behind the claim that keeping a gratitude journal and writing down what you are thankful for really does start to rewire the brain.
I admit this has been a habit I struggle to maintain. When I think about getting out my Five Minute Journal, and actually writing it down, it feels like a project. There are so many things I have to do, how will I have time? Plus, what if I end up writing the same things every day? That will get boring.
Well, the reality is that it takes me less than 2 minutes to complete my list of 3 things and who cares if I write the same thing every day? No one is reading my work or judging my list.
Try it for a week. Set a timer if you're worried it will take too long. See how you feel at the end of that week. Maybe you'll notice something great about life that you had completely forgotten about.
We Need the Low's, to Love the High's
We all go through different seasons and stages. I believe that life can't be fun 100% of the time. We need the sad days, the boring days, the frustrating days to make the good ones that much sweeter. But if you're feeling that those not-so-fun days are sticking around a bit too long, it could be a sign that you need to try something new.
Don't overthink it. Pick one of these ideas that stands out to you, and take action. Shake up your routine, and shake up your thinking. Hopefully, you'll see that there is more to your life than just chores and routines. You just need to take a minute to enjoy it.