How To Find Rest In A Routine

I love a good plan. Planning out my day, a night out, or even a vacation makes me happy. I’ve talked about the importance of planning, and am a person who’s good at forming a routine. While it is hard for me to adapt something new to my routine, once I have it down I’m set.

Mind you, my routine and schedule are slammed. It can almost feel impossible to add one more thing into the mix. And as life has shown, things never go according to our plan which can make a routine seem pointless. 

The Routine Ways of the Monks

A monk’s way of living can seem so radical to us. While we have the ability to go wherever we please or do whatever we like, monks keep to their monasteries and have their set assignments for each day. Both have their freedoms. 

We are free to plan our days as we wish, but monks are free to be present in their set schedule. I learned this truth through my work with the Monk Manual. It has taught me the value of a routine, and the freedom it can bring to my life. 

“We find a radical way of living in monasteries. A way that flips contemporary thinking on its head. Where the world says focus on more, the monk says focus on less. Where the world seeks to master outcomes, the monk seeks to master himself. Where the world fills our lives with noise and distraction, the monk fills their life with quiet and focus. Where the world pursues a life of independence, the monk pursues a life of trust, walking the path of life with God and others. Where the world medicates, the monk meditates.”

The mission of the Monk Manual is “to fix modern productivity and help people live full(er) lives. Inspired by the wisdom of monks, and rooted in psychology, we design practical tools for peaceful being and purposeful doing.” 

While I honestly haven’t used my monk manual in a long time, I have carried the lessons I’ve learned with me in my daily, weekly, and monthly life. 

Routines Allow Us to Be Present

Surprisingly, having a routine or plan can allow us to be more present. When we know what we are supposed to be doing and what happens next, we can be present and focus on where we are at. 

When we know what we are supposed to be doing and what happens next, we can be present and focus on where we are at.

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For example, I have allotted two hours to write this blog, and the hour after that is for cleaning my room, and the hour after that is for reading. In each task, I am being fully present now that there’s a time set for my other tasks. Setting aside time like this, or putting together a set schedule can seem rigorous and constricting, but in reality it can be fruitful. 

We often hear “do what you feel is right” and we should take our own feelings into consideration, but it can become impossible to get things done if we only ever “do what we feel like”. Right now if I were to do what I feel like, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a blog but binge reading my latest book. But because I have set aside time to sit here and write and other time to read, I can do my best to be present in my writing.

Having a Routine + God’s Plan

A routine can help us be present. However, we must be flexible with what life can throw at us. We can’t get all bent out of shape when something doesn’t go according to our plan. In the end, it’s God’s plan for us, and He can place different things in our path to help us on our journey and oftentimes not in ways we expect. 

At so many points in our lives, we beg God to give us signs, to just show us what to do, and we will gladly do it. Give me a big neon sign saying, “This is the right way to go.” But that never happens. Instead all we can do is give God a blind yes

I often get anxious when saying yes to God, thinking it may entail Him making me uproot my life and change everything on a whim. But I’ve learned that God blesses whatever path we choose, no matter if it’s the “right” one. Because when we allow God into our lives, every path becomes the right one. 

I can simply rest in the knowledge that God will be with me no matter what path I choose.

Finding Rest in a Routine

With all of this being said, I have discovered ways for myself to find rest while going through my busy routine of life. Here are some of the ways I find rest:

  • Make holy the Sabbath – Yup, that’s right. Actually resting on Sundays like we’re supposed to, who would’ve thought? If it’s not Sunday, I will allot a day (usually evening) in my routine for no work. For me this day tends to be Thursdays after my work day.
    • God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.” -Genesis 1:31
  • Find goodness in the ordinary – I have always tried to make joy and gratitude my mindset, and tend to look at the ordinary with such love. When I find my commute to work annoying or my lunch bland, I think of how blessed I am to have a job to commute to or food at my table. I find God’s goodness in my ordinary routine.
  • Plan for something spontaneous – No, it’s not weird to allot time in our schedule for something spontaneous. I do this occasionally when I know I need an extra moment of rest in my routine BUT I plan for this spontaneous something. It’s planned so when I am doing my spontaneous fun activity I won’t be stressing over something else I need to be doing.
  • Abide in God – Too often do I forget how powerful a short, simple prayer in my routine can be. I’ve formed my healthy prayer habits in my routine, such as praying the Rosary in the morning, but really abiding in God in between is what can bring us rest. 
  • Add Adoration to the Routine – Weekly adoration has been a part of my routine since 2019. While I have missed some weeks occasionally as life happens, I will always put weekly adoration in my planner. Nothing is more peaceful than resting with the Lord. 

Not too long ago, I took a mini-vacation to Orlando and was able to visit the Disney store. I found this cute pair of Winnie the Pooh ears that I knew I immediately wanted. I was attracted to the headband’s cute fuzzy ears on top, but it wasn’t until I picked them up that I saw the Pooh quote sewn down the side: “Today is my favorite day.”

Right when I read it I started to feel emotional, it was so simple yet so meaningful. We are only ever present today, and we should always make today our favorite day. Now, I always wear these ears in the morning to push my hair back when doing my makeup, and everytime I pick them up I’m reminded to make this day my favorite. 

About Author

Alyssa is a 23-year-old master’s student studying communications. She lives at home in sunny Florida, enjoys watching movies and binging tv shows, hoping to one day produce films of her own in which to act. Creatively she enjoys writing in any medium, fashion, doing makeup and dressing up in costumes. She loves to travel by plane, train, car and especially cruises, and hopes to see the world. Caring, kind and loving, she tends to see the good in all people. Alyssa’s calling is to make people smile through her creativity, sharing God’s message of love through how she lives. Her motto is to live every day with a spirit of gratitude.

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