How to Change Your Daily Routine

As the last few weeks of the quarter drag out, each day can start to feel like the same. At an academically rigorous school such as Northwestern, the late nights and early mornings can make the days start to meld together.

I noticed this in myself a few weeks ago. I would wake up and be completely unenthused about my day. I felt like I was eating for the sake of eating, studying for the sake of studying, and sleeping for the sake of sleeping. I was completely uninterested in my clubs and just wanted the academic year to end. But I wasn’t depressed – I was severely bored.

I reflected on my day-to-day life. No wonder I was bored – my routine was always the same. My life operated almost mathematically with no spontaneity whatsoever. It was time to make some lifestyle changes. However small, they did the trick, and I now approach each and every day with a newfound sense of excitement.

So without further ado, here are some ways that you can add a touch of spontaneity to your life, too. 

Make Getting Ready Fun

Getting ready for the day shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a ritual performed with the same attentiveness and excitement as getting ready for prom night. Add some scented soaps to your shower and embrace aromatherapy bliss. Mix and match clothes that you wouldn’t normally pair together.  Take the time to add accents – a touch of makeup here and a necklace there. It isn’t about impressing other people, but a way to honor and express yourself.

Embrace the Outdoors

I know this is easier said than done, especially in the deathly chill of Chicago’s winters. But soaking up some sun not only enlivens you, but it is also crucial for your mental health. Lack of vitamin D can lead to depression. Take an impromptu walk, drink coffee by the lake or even walk to class instead of taking the shuttle to make you feel a little more fresh and active.

Take up a Creative Pursuit

It’s easy to get so caught up in the storm of readings, problem sets and Webassigns that you feel you have no escape. Boredom begins to set in. You may feel like the fast-paced nature of the quarter system leaves you with no time to be creative in your day to day life. If you want to integrate this into your daily routine, take up a new hobby. Try painting, singing, writing or even cooking a new recipe. Do something that makes you feel free.

Work Towards a Bigger Goal

One thing that contributes to monotony is a lack of direction. Work towards a big project or have a goal that is unusually hard to reach. Your goal can range from wanting to drink more water to deciding to film a documentary. Check in with yourself or a friend about it regularly. Working on a project gives you something to look forward to and stretches your creative muscles.

Enjoy the Present

It’s scary how fast time can slip by when you aren’t fully registering the present. College is supposed to be one of the best times of your life, and you can't enjoy it if you don’t stop and take a breath. When I was so thoroughly bored, I didn’t realize how many small things I was missing. I never stopped to truly enjoy how lucky I was to be at my dream school. So hit the pause button- appreciate your friends and ground yourself to reality in order to gain a better appreciation of it.

If the boredom blues hit, I hope that you at least feel equipped to start defeating them. Add a little magic to your life. 

Photo credits: Mihai Surdu and Alex Ortleib