I'm a total creature of habit. If I can get myself on a schedule, then you better bet I'm sticking to it. I love having a routine so that my life is streamlined and easy, but I do occasionally want to step outside my comfort zone for the sake of doing something new.
Nobody likes to be stressed or anxiety-ridden, and that's why many of us fall into our comfortable routines in the first place. According to Alan Henry on Lifehacker, "Simply, your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress."
But, as Henry also said, "...your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It's a natural state that most people trend towards...We all need that headspace where we're least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it."
If you're looking to shake things up, get yourself out of a rut, or simply try something new, then here are a few ways to get yourself out of your comfort zone.
1. Switch Up The Little Things
Every day you wake up, eat a bagel, walk the same sidewalk to work, sit at your desk all day, walk the same route home, and fall asleep to the same TV show. For some this may sound like a dream, while others may think of it as a 'Groundhog Day' nightmare. If you need to break up such a routine, Henry suggests you "recalibrate your reality" by doing everyday things differently. Wake up a bit earlier, take a different way to work, or go to a new restaurant for lunch. You can even do little tasks differently, like brushing your teeth with your opposite hand (it's incredibly difficult), just for the sake of jogging your brain awake.
2. Wear Something Different
Give me an entire closet full of v-neck, light knit sweaters and you'd make me a very happy lady. In the winter they are all I wear (well, with pants, of course), and it can get a bit monotonous. If you're like me, then you may want to consider switching up your daily uniform. Go to work tomorrow with a bright lipstick that kind of freaks you out, or chop off all your hair. Whether you do something small, or something huge (get a pixie cut!) you're sure to snap yourself out of your comfort zone.
3. Do Something That Scares You
For some people, getting out of their comfort zone means doing something that scares them, like speaking in public or getting on a plane. If you have a phobia, it can be much easier to just avoid what you're afraid of until you're old and gray. But what kind of a life is that? Of course it's easier said than done, and that's why you should do little things each day that scare you in an effort to build up to getting over your phobia. Let's say you're afraid to walk around your town because you hate crowds. Go for a walk each day when no one's really out, and then work up to walking more and more blocks until you find yourself getting used to it. Experiencing little bought of discomfort each day can add up to you getting over a fear.
4. Get Rid Of Your Old Stuff
Everyone knows the feeling you get when you clean out your closet and donate all your old stuff. It's like you have a new lease on life, even though all you did was get rid of some stretched out shirts. But for many people the prospect of letting go of their things can be pretty difficult. I'm constantly fighting my hoarding urges, so I totally get it. And also of the opinion that if it scares you or is something you don't want to do, then you should probably do it.
5. Hang Out In New Locations
If you frequent the same places every day, try switching it up and going somewhere different for once in your life. It can be a new place for dinner, a new coffee shop, or a new bar with your friends. But if chilling at home is more your speed, it can sometimes be as simple as sitting on a different part of your couch. As Henrik Edberg notes on The Positivity Blog, "If you have favorite chair or part of the sofa where you always sit then try another chair or place to sit today. It can give you a new perspective at work or at home. And I have found that it can even give me some new and fresh thoughts and perspectives on life."
6. Have Some Alone Time
Many of us get stuck in a rut because we're running, running, running and never take a moment to catch our breath — or even realize we're in a rut in the first place. Take time to remember that you're a person and not just a working robot machine. It's important to recharge, so make sure that you take some time for yourself, and evaluate if that comfort zone of yours is even where you want to be.
If you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone, you should probably take some steps to break yourself free (whether you want to or not). Stepping out of your comfort zone will allow you to see the world with a fresh perspective, help you combat your fears, and force you to try new things that you never considered before.
Images: Pexels (1); Giphy (6)