How To Find Inspiration When You Feel Stuck In Your Daily Routine, According To Experts

by Julia Guerra

I’m a creature of habit, but it’s not what you think. For example, I need to have a cup of tea every morning with breakfast, but just because the beverage is a constant in my life, doesn’t mean I drink the same flavor each and every day. Do I love routine? Absolutely. Structure is great, but it can get real old, real quick. Still, boredom isn’t necessarily incentive to turn your life upside down for the sake of making things interesting. When things get dull, the best way to beat boredom is to play off your everyday routine. You don’t necessarily have to go out of your comfort zone or take a spontaneous trip to spice up your life; you just have to look at how you do things on a regular basis, and approach them with new perspective.

There’s actually a name for when something that initially brought you joy, falls to the wayside, adding on to the pile of material goods and behaviors you’ve adopted that just lost that once-exciting appeal — and that term is hedonic adaptation. According to Psychology Today’s findings, the term was coined by psychologists and refers to the idea that anything that makes you subliminally happy has a shelf life. Eventually, you get used to your smartphone's new camera upgrade, or the spiralizer you just had to have so you could transform every vegetable in your kitchen into noodles. It’s not that these things stop bringing you pleasure, but the initial pizazz of a shiny new toy will inevitably fade out. C'est la vie, right? Well, maybe not.

The Conversation reports that a new series of studies, expected to be published soon in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that the key to beating boredom in your everyday life is actually really simple: do the conventional things, unconventionally.

I know myself, and when I get bored of something, like my hair color, for instance, I either buy a box of dye or set up an appointment at the salon, switch up my ‘do, and while it’s awesome at first, after a month or two, I’m usually already planning my next color or cut. Not only does this strategy literally suck the dollars out of my pocket, it could potentially do a whole lot of damage to my hair, whereas, if I'd just styled it differently, like in a French braid as opposed to wearing it down, it likely would have the same, exciting effect on my psyche.

So rather than splurging on a new workout wardrobe (but hey, if you’ve got the money, honey, go for it), try to find new ways of wearing the pieces. If you love having eggs for breakfast, but you're bored of your usual scramble, add some spices or experiment with new recipes. The key to intrigue is perspective, and if you need inspiration, here are a few examples of how to beat a boredom rut when you’re over your everyday routine.

Experience Your Food In Different Ways

I'm convinced that you cannot, under any circumstances, have the same, satisfying experience eating Chinese food or sushi with a fork as you do when you use chopsticks. Don't make that quizzical face at me, friends, because apparently, I'm not alone in this: Science agrees that eating any kind of food with chopsticks is just bound to make the entire experience more memorable and exciting.

According to The Conversation, during the aforementioned studies exploring how to beat everyday boredom, a group of 68 participants were divided in half, and 34 people were told to eat popcorn with their hands, while the other 34 were given chopsticks to pick up each and every kernel. The results showed that those who used chopsticks not only enjoyed the experience more, but they said their popcorn tasted better just by changing up their eating utensils. I mean, hey, if nothing else, it saves you a load in the dishwasher, right?

Take The Backroads (Literally)

Sometimes, all you really need is a change of scenery, but if that can't translate to taking a week off and exploring somewhere entirely new, find ways to see your hometown in a different light. For example, if you're always driving to and from work on a highway, take the backroads for a change, or if you use public transportation, try a different line, or get off a stop or two early and walk a bit to get some fresh air. It might be a slightly longer commute, but a new view might be exactly what you need to kick your boredom to the curb.

According to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical therapist, combating boredom requires two things: spontaneous experiences and switching up your regular schedule in intervals (i.e. every six months, once a year, etc.). So take advantage of Google Maps on your smartphone, or just get in your car one day after work and drive aimlessly. You'll find your way home eventually, and getting lost is, at least in my experience, always an adventure.

Get Lost In A New Podcast On Your Way Into The Office

Pedram Shojai, a doctor of Eastern medicine and best-selling author of the book The Urban Monk, tells Elite Daily that "boredom often comes from being lulled into a dreary sleep by society." Personally, listening to the news every morning is a one-way ticket to either snoozeville or stressed-AF city.

If you can relate, then the best advice I can offer for snapping out of that morning trance is to turn off the news and turn up the volume on something that inspires you, like an upbeat playlist or a funny podcast.

Read Your Favorite Genre, But Explore Different Authors

Dr. Forshee tells Elite Daily that, as humans, we need a balance between certainty and uncertainty. To me, that means sticking to the hobbies you like, but maybe finding new ways to enjoy them.

For example, when I find an author whose style of writing I really enjoy, it's likely the next time I pop into Barnes & Noble, I'll pick up a few of his or her books to binge-read. This is great, of course, but writers have a tendency to narrate stories with a similar theme (I'm looking at you, Nicholas Sparks). You don't have to abandon your favorite genre, but maybe do some research about what authors inspired your favorites throughout their own career.

Get A New Look, Without Buying New Clothes

If you're feeling bored with life as you know it, Shojai says the key to beating that "stuck" feeling is to be 100 percent honest with yourself, and become more aware of everything you do and how it makes you feel. Ask yourself if you're truly enjoying the things you do each day. What are you gaining from your everyday routine? What would make you feel more inspired? As far as Shojai is concerned, this is the time when it's actually OK to be critical of things; just don't be too hard on yourself in the process.

To put this in real terms, whenever I'm uninterested in anything I have in my closet, I know myself, and I am super quick to blame myself or my body, when really, it's not the clothes that are making me feel annoyed, it's how I'm wearing them. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe to feel excited about the pieces you're wearing; all that matters is how you wear them.

Try browsing Pinterest and Instagram, and look for items that you already have in your closet. Take inspiration from how other people are rocking your signature staples. Pretty soon, your closet will feel like a goldmine, and in six months or so, when your favorites feel tired again, go back to the drawing board! Or, you know, treat yourself.