By Becka Wall –

Sometimes you need to shake it up.

You know the feeling I’m talking about – you’re happy with your life, you feel good about where you are, but things just feel so… meh. You’ve been eating the same thing for dinner, visiting the same places, doing the same things.

I know, I know – breaking the routine and stepping out of your zone can feel intimidating. Impossible even. You’re thinking, “How could I possibly do that without spending a million dollars or planning a million things?”

You’re in luck! I’ve spent the past two weeks breaking out of my comfort zone in little tiny ways without leaving town or spending more than an hour to do it. Here are five easy suggestions:

Busy being fabulous. #bornthisway

Go out to dinner… ALONE (like batman). No friends allowed. Books and magazines are alright, but no cell phones, laptops or Palm Pilots (just in case you’re stuck in 1997 and only have a Palm Pilot). Put the digital devices down and take yourself on a nice date. It sounds scary to eat alone, but I promise you it is the best dining experience you will ever have. I took myself out to dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant and had a veggie burger with pepper jack cheese, sweet potato wedges and a nice tall hard cider while reading three chapters of a book about presidential assassinations. It was glorious. You don’t have to compromise on an appetizer or share dessert. BRILLIANT.

Sign up to do something totally different after work. In my case, this meant signing up for an event at my local library to give a history talk on Theodore Roosevelt (he’s my favorite president). I spent a few minutes digging up my favorite Teddy stories, jotting down the highlights and then grabbed the mic and went for it. It was a little daunting, but so much fun – not only did I challenge myself and do a little public speaking (eek!), I heard some really interesting presentations about Einstein’s brain and the Pythagorean Theorem. If that isn’t your speed, consider going to a class on gardening or a poetry reading or something along those lines. Learn something new!

Try a new food. I mean a real new food, not a new flavor of Oreo (although you should try those too – the S’mores ones were surprisingly delicious). Head to your local farmer’s market and pick up a new vegan dish or order the duck appetizer you’ve never heard of at your favorite Thai place. You might spit it in your napkin, but then again you might come up with a new favorite snack. I personally am now obsessed with fudge made with goat milk. I thought I would hate it and now I’m OBSESSED. YUM.

Or dress up as President Lincoln and run a marathon through DC. Whatever you are feeling that day!
Or dress up as President Lincoln and run a marathon through DC. Whatever you are feeling that day!

Talk to someone new. Whether it’s inviting a new coworker out to eat lunch or just making a point to learn the name of the security guard in your office building; you never know what might happen when you open up and talk to someone new. I went to a fundraiser this week with a few friends and ended up making friends with an incredibly cool guy who does cycling in the area and has a dog that he brings on cycling trips who wears goggles. I REPEAT: A DOG WHO WEARS GOGGLES.

Break out your creative side. Pick up a guitar; whip out your canvas and paints; or try a hip hop class or make something totally new – whatever your creative side fancies! Use it to let off some steam; or to help you process a difficult, happy or interesting moment in your life. I love to write, so I wrote a small poem about my experience visiting the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in South Carolina two days after the shooting this past June. It was such an emotional moment, the only way I felt I could fully process it was through a poem.

Now, no excuses – get out there and break out of your shell.