We all have routines that we follow:a usual grocery store, a regular route to work, a standard time and route for jogging. Although we don’t usually think of routine as anything dangerous, it can provide a potential attacker the opportunity to plan an assault. Although some assaults are opportunistic (ie: the attacker carries out an assault simply because it is convenient), many stalkers and other assailants will take the time to learn your routine as a way to take advantage of you when you are alone and vulnerable. Having a predictable day-to-day schedule means a potential assailant knows when and where to find you.
Changing your routine is easy to do, and is good for both your mental health and your overall safety. Mixing things up can prevent you from getting stuck in a rut – and can also keep you safe. It’s all about not becoming too predictable. In essence, all you’re doing is making little changes to your daily life to reduce the possibility that a potential assailant could use your routine against you.
There are a number of things you can do to mix up your schedule, including:
-Changing your route to work and the time you leave or return.
-Shopping at different stores.
-Going to different restaurants, cafes or bars.
-Changing your work schedule
-Reordering the tasks and chores you do everyday
We sometimes forget how much of our personal information is out there and available to the world. Little changes to your routine can include making sure your address and phone number are unlisted, changing your phone number, getting a dog, reducing deliveries to your home (use a PO box for special orders and deliveries), and asking a friend over to hang out whenever you need a repairman to come to your property.
Protecting yourself is serious business. Prevention is easy to do, mostly free of charge, and only requires a little common sense. Professionals will advise you to stay alert, listen to your gut instincts and keep things fresh. Mixing up your routine can keep things interesting for you – while also making it difficult for someone else to take advantage of you by learning your schedule.
You can, and should, make substantial changes if you feel like you are in danger. Taking self-defense courses and purchasing self-defense tools like pepper spray and stun guns can help you feel more comfortable and prepared should you need to defend yourself. However, changing your routine is a first line of defense that will decrease the opportunity a potential assailant has to learn your routine, plan an attack around your routine, and assault you when you are at your most vulnerable.