8 Ways to Shake Up Your Routine (Even in a Pandemic)

Have you ever heard of storm psychology? Well, this is the phenomenon where people are told to evacuate their homes during a natural disaster, like a hurricane, but they simply refuse to budge.

Now some of them won’t leave because they fear looting, or they don’t have the resources to go anywhere else. But many others dig in and stay put for other less practical reasons.

Namely, they are simply too stubborn to let a storm drive them from their homes. Or they are not going to let some “outsider” on the radio tell them what to do.

This is the same principle on display when Spring Breakers refuse to heed warnings from medical professionals regarding social distancing.

Scientists call this cognitive rigidity.

And while many of us would likely heed the warning calls to evacuate during a natural disaster, or pandemic, we still remain “cognitively rigid” in many other arenas in life.

We become creatures of habit and repeat the same behaviors over and over even though the results are less than satisfying. Or we refuse to change a plan, simply because it was the plan.

When we lived in Japan, my daughter attended an international school and I absolutely loved the teaching style. Insteading of teaching and testing based on memorization, they challenged students to think. They would present a problem and when that problem was solved, the teacher would say, “Great! Now what’s another way this problem could be solved.”

This teaching technique accommodates the idea that the key to being able to survive and thrive on person’s journey through life, is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

And the absolute best way to become cognitively flexible is to shake up some of your routines. 

Here are 8 great ways to do just that right from your very own home:

  1. Change up the dog walking route (or after dinner walk).
  2. Instead of watching TV read a book or play a game of cards.
  3. Take a class online and learn a new skill.
  4. Watch a documentary on an unfamiliar subject.
  5. Clean the clutter from one area of your home that needs it most.
  6. Listen to a new type of music.
  7. Learn five phrases in a new language.
  8. Take a “virtual trip” somewhere in the world that excites you. (And resolve you’ll actually go there when we move past the pandemic.

These are just a few ideas. Do you have any? Go ahead and leave them in the comment section.