The need for routine

Christmas is over, New Year has passed. We look around at the fallout of the festive period with decorations no longer making us smile and Christmas cards gathering dust.  Weeks and weeks of preparation and it is all over in the blink of an eye.  It has become so evident to me that as humans we all need routine and getting back to our own individual routine brings comfort and the feeling of being secure.

I am not saying everyone’s routine is one they would like or that it makes them happy, but when our routine is changed in any way it puts us off balance. Routine gives the mind clues as to what day of the week it is, such as Friday was fish for tea when the fish man came round. It is an age old thing, going back centuries.  If we look back at history days of the week were noted by the tasks completed: washday, payday and so on.

For me routine is my comfort, without a doubt.  Having had two weeks off over the festive period, going back to normal routine today has brought a sense of peace to my stress.  I have had a lovely break and being around family and friends celebrating is treasured, but the need for normality builds up inside of me like a boiling kettle.  For the last three or four days I have been setting my mind on today.  I needed to be able to look out the kids’ school clothes for the next day.  I wanted to get my work organised to get stuck in.  I ached to have everything in order.  The last two weeks is called a holiday and under these terms, yes, the usual pattern of daily tasks alters. We no longer set the alarm clock, we eat at all the wrong times of the day and even housework chores are put to the back of our mind.  This in itself sounds great.Why would we want to go back to the norm? It is like any holiday: in the beginning it is all about relaxing and switching off then as the holiday goes on your mind cannot help but return to thinking about after the holiday ends.  The kids even start to flake around me as they too need to get back to their routine, back to normal sleeping times and school. Not that they would say it, but it is almost as if they are subconsciously begging to go back to normal.  Huge friction can be felt in the house.  He also needs to go back to work: like most men he is bored and needs work to make him feel a man again.

We all have different levels of routine: those who need to spend each moment of the day with an itinerary and those whose routine is as long as they have lunch at 12 and dinner at 6. For me it is knowing I have the day’s routine scheduled by the hour.  Having said this, I am not sure this is the best way to be, but it is comforting.  The kids know where I am throughout the day and I can function as a parent. I also know my mother knows my routine and so, if for any reason I am not around or unable to do my duties, my mother can step in. I have back-up if needed.

I do not generally make any New Year resolutions. Mostly because I cannot fit anything new in, but I have told myself this year my aim is to try and switch off, not feel everything has to be so perfect in all aspects of life, work, kids and home.

Who is in charge: me or the routine?

*Louise Smith is in her 40th year of life and currently runs a  and ever growing construction company along with her husband. She has three children and a busy life with challenges along the way. Living in East Lothian and with a little bit of humour, she juggles working life with being a mum and wife.

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