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Wash, Rinse, Repeat
The joy-sucking nature of monotony
How many of you feel like the 1-2 years we spent in active pandemic mode are a blur? You don’t have many significant memories, other than life changing moments, from those years.
The not-so-scientific reason for this blur is that you didn’t do much outside of the home. Work, leisure, relationships, family, etc. all happened within the confines of your four walls and often over an electronic device. Those years took on a “wash, rinse, repeat” rhythm, without a whole lot of deviation.
The scientific reason behind this blur is that you didn’t experience much novelty in that timeframe. No trips to far-away destinations. Few to no family reunions. No nights out at the theatre with friends. Your life became pretty monotonous—at least mine did. Wake up, work from home, eat dinner, go to bed.
Why is this important to distinguish? Well, your brain craves novelty. When you experience something that is new, you experience a rush of dopamine, which creates a feeling of happiness. Dopamine also helps you to create memories. During the pandemic, you didn’t experience many new things so therefore, fewer memories developed from that time, leading to the blur feeling.
I recently read a great article How to Make Time for What Matters that gives a great tip for keeping out of the “wash, rinse, repeat” rut—have one big adventure and one little adventure each week. The author suggests to do two things out of the ordinary each week—one less than an hour and a second that is three to four hours.
For the little one, you could actually eat lunch away from your desk (like you say you will do but then don’t) or have coffee with a friend or take a short class online. For the longer activities, the ideas are endless. See a movie, take a cheese class, take the kids to the zoo.
I’m excited to try out this idea and will keep you posted on my adventures.