Feeling stuck in a rut is a common emotion. Many people experience it at various points in their lives. How that point is interpreted is what determines how quickly you’re able to get yourself out of the rut. If you’re the optimistic type then you’ll see a rut as nothing more than a temporary set back you can overcome.
What does feeling “stuck in a rut” mean?
Finding yourself in a situation you struggle to get out of. You might be experiencing a feeling of being ‘stuck’ in one spot. Or, you could be feeling unmotivated, lethargic, uninspired, lacking in excitement, like your life feels boring and your days drag on. You could have a list of tasks to do, but just can’t seem to get your act together to do them. This could be at your job, relationship, family life, your social life or your health.
Since my dad died on March 15th this year, I’ve been stuck in a creative rut. My ruts are often accompanied by a feeling of needing to get back on track but not having the mental energy to do so. Once upon a time I’d get so down in the dumps about this. Now I’ve learnt how to embrace those periods of my life and not let them get me down. With awareness, age and experience, I’ve learnt to see my ruts for what they are – temporary blips, so they don’t steal my joy.
What you need to do to get out of a rut.
Recognise what’s happening to you.
Accept that ruts are a part of life and don’t beat yourself up about being stuck. Spend time creating awareness around your situation to identify the cause of your rut. You can’t get out of a rut if you don’t know what’s causing it. Figure out what’s causing you to feel like you’re not making progress, down in the dumps and unmotivated. In a nutshell, what’s making you feel stuck?
Daily gratitude practice and meditation.
Start each day by listing or thinking about what’s going well in your life. Realise that not every part of your life is stuck in a rut and be grateful for all that’s going well. Meditation and the gratitude exercise are great ways to boost your mood when in a rut. As a Christian, I usually start my day with prayer, thanking God for his mercies and everything – what’s going well and even what’s not going well. As hard as it may seem sometimes, if we think about it, there are lessons to be learnt when things aren’t going well for us.
Do things that bring you joy daily.
Think of the things that bring you joy, and do them daily. Being stuck is no fun, carving out time in your day to spend on fun activities will help lift your spirits and boost your mood. Do things that’ll make you laugh or feel exhilarated. This’ll shift your attention from your rut and relieve you from the feeling of being stuck.
Look for ways to get yourself “unstuck”.
If you’ve managed to get through steps 1-3, the pressure of your situation should be easing and you might be feeling happier and more clear headed. It’s now time to start taking steps to get to the bottom of the situation. Look at your situation and make a list the things you can do to improve your situation. Go through your list and do the easiest and quickest thing first. Take a step, no matter how small. If it doesn’t seem like you’re making much progress, remember, a micro step is progress. What does that look like? As a content creator, just writing a sentence daily is something that’s quick and easy to do when I’m stuck with writers block. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for every micro improvement.
Do some form of exercise daily.
Exercise is essential for overall wellbeing. Exercise releases feel good hormones into your system. It has a positive effect when anxious or depressed because it creates a euphoric feeling. This is my medication. I give it a lot credit for my mojo when I’m stuck. Something as simple as leisurely walks can energise you, help clear your head, eventually paving the way to a solution.
Don’t compare yourself or your journey with others.
Social media is full of people who project perfection. It may seem that your peers are speeding ahead of you, understand everyone’s life and journey is different and resist making comparisons. However, if you find it difficult not to compare, stay off social media till you’re out of your rut.
You’ve done all but you still can’t seem to shake your “rut” off? Consider working with a life coach. A life coach will help you with clarity around your situation. Coaches help you get from point A to B quicker than if you were trying to get there by yourself.
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