Routine Is A Dirty Word.... Or Is It?

If you’ve been following me via my blogs or on social media for a while now, you’ll know I’m a self-confessed control freak (In the unlikely event that this is new information for you, you can go back and read my previous blog post about it here!). I like to have all my ducks in row, meaning that in my self-styled mega-lifestyle of freelance arts manager/musician/yoga teacher, I tend to schedule everything to the nth degree – not only to be able to squeeze extra hours out of every day, but also because being super organised ultimately helps me to manage my energy levels and reduce stress.


However, there’s a tipping point with personal organisation, at least for me. After a while, this micro-managing of my time becomes counter-productive. I become so attached to the DOING of activities and tasks in a particular order, to achieve particular outcomes, that I can easily run myself into the ground through intense whirlpools of overwork.  I recently realised that in all my years of being a super organised Type A person, I have never once planned ahead to have time out in my week for self-care or rest. Free time in my calendar is very quickly re-purposed into project development time, side hustle time, music practice time, house cleaning time… basically for all the other stuff that I feel needs to get done, and that I haven’t managed to fit in elsewhere in my week.


I’m working a 9-5 job with Melbourne International Jazz Festival for the next few months, and with only two days of ‘free time’ amidst chaotic weeks I have watched in despair over the past few weeks as my weekends have become rapidly swallowed by an enormous list of chores or ‘shoulds’. Unaccustomed to scheduling down time for myself, I would walk into work on Monday morning feeling more depleted than when I left on Friday afternoon. Something needed to change. Enter my new ‘thing’…. I call it Positive Routine! 


For me, Positive Routine is the concept of creating regular self-care or resting time, and making it a non-negotiable in my weekly schedule. The ‘positive’ part is self-explanatory, but for me it’s anything that could be the antithesis to hard work – reading, taking a bath, having a massage, going to sit by the river and meditating under the trees, the list goes on.  The ‘routine’ part is the clincher in this new deal I’ve made with myself. If I don’t build these activities into my lifestyle regularly, there is no consistency and before I know it I’m back to having a day off every three months (this is not healthy and if this sounds like you, I hereby grant you permission to change your lifestyle and carve out more self-care time!).  So far my ‘Positive Routine’ package looks like this:


-       1 x massage PER FORTNIGHT (Wednesday nights at Lakshmi Thai Massage in Flemington – they will rock your body like nowhere else on earth)

-       1 x day trip down to Torquay/Barwon Heads for a surf session with my husband PER FORTNIGHT

-       1 x weeknight ‘off’ PER WEEK (no working, no practice, just chilling at home reading or watching Netflix like a regular human)

-       1 x weekend day ‘off’ (see above) PER FORTNIGHT

Niels surf.jpg

I know what you’re thinking: “But you work in the arts! You play gigs! How are you able to have one day free out of every second weekend?!” That, my friends, is the kicker. If I want this to work for me… if I want to have a more spacious, mindful, and moderately paced life, instead of running all over town like a crazy person, working all the festivals, playing all the gigs, doing all the things…. I HAVE TO SAY NO TO POTENTIALLY COOL STUFF that would eat into this time. And that’s hard to do, because FOMO, and social media, and everything else that we already know about. However, I’m committed to this plan right now because I love how it’s making me feel. As a society, as especially as an arts community, we have this affliction in which we’ll happily fill our calendars with work and gigs, because we need money (even though some of the work we take on is below minimum wage), because we need stimulation, creative release, validation, you name it. The concept of scheduling ‘down time’ sounds nuts when you say it out loud, and even more nuts when you try to implement it. But in order to thrive we need to get good at saying no, not only to others, but to ourselves. Otherwise we’ll just run ourselves into the ground, feel shitty, lack inspiration, lack energy, lack soul vibration.


There’s a place in the world for you to feel peaceful, calm, and still be involved in everything that you love. You just need to build it. Build it, commit to it, and make sacrifices for it, because nobody else is going to prioritise your wellness.


If you’d like to start implementing some Positive Routine into your life, what better place to start than by booking in for my Open Space Retreat this July in Daylesford!


Love Holly x