How to get out of a rut
STUCK IN A RUT. NO MOTIVATION. STAGNANT.
Sound familiar? Feeling stuck in a rut can slowly creep up on you. One day, you just find yourself with no motivation or creativity. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, especially with many of us working from home amidst a global pandemic and hearing about terrible things in the news every day. 2020 has days blurring together and the year feeling real bleak. Sometimes being in a rut can be accompanied by anxiety, burnout, or in severe cases, depression. It can definitely be frustrating to feel stuck but we’ve rounded up some tips on how to get out of a rut.
Signs that you’re in a rut
There are different kinds of ruts that you can be in. For example, you might be in a creative rut if you feel uninspired or have a creative block or a career rut where you feel stalled in your growth at work. Whichever type you’re in, it’s that same idea of feeling stuck.
Getting to the point where you feel like you’re in a rut isn’t something that just happens overnight. More often than not, it creeps up on you over time. Day after day, you might follow the same routines but eventually, it just starts feeling less like you are working toward something.
You might be in a rut if you feel like:
- You’re just trying to get through the day, week, or month but every day feels the same
- You’re no longer excited about things that used to interest you
- You’re just going through the motions and your routine but are not really present
- You want to accomplish things but you just can't seem to get started or don’t know where to begin
Motivation tips for how to get out of a rut
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Get moving. Hack your body and exercise because working out releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones.
- Practice self-care: Combat feeling stuck by taking care of yourself. Healthy food, enough sleep, exercise, and taking care of mental well-being are all important aspects of your holistic health. When you take care of yourself, you have more energy, focus, and zest for life. You do you!
- Escape for a little bit. Reading or watching a show can transport you to another world, giving you some escape and a new perspective.
- Clean the clutter or rearrange your space: Cleaning up your space can help organize your mind. And sometimes a change like rearranging your furniture helps shake things up and reinvigorates you.
- Learn something new. Learning something new has a way of pushing us forward. Choose a class on something that interests you - it just might help unblock you.
- Have a mini digital detox: Social fatigue is real. Social media often presents a curated, “shiny” view of life which can lead to unrealistic expectations and lead to you feeling like your life is not stacking up against others, which is untrue and unhealthy. Unplug and get away from the screen for a little bit. Connect with loved ones (over Facetime if need be), take a bath, have a glass of wine, or go for a walk. Studies have found that being in nature helped decrease depression, lower stress, increase mental well-being, and even boost creativity.
- Force through the block. Don’t think about it too hard and just do it. If you’re struggling to write a paper, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just start typing. This can be applied to anything. Start small with something you know you can do, then take the next step. And the next, and the next.
- Find your purpose: You might be in a rut because you haven’t found what you’re passionate about. Be it a hobby, volunteering, or something else, finding what you’re enthusiastic about can help provide a sense of purpose and pull you out of a rut.
- Break routine: Shake things up and break away from the monotony. Sometimes feeling stuck stems from boredom and repetition. Try something new or different - switch up your regular routes, start a new show, take a class, the possibilities are endless.
- Make plans: Making plans for something you will look forward to, even if it’s something small like having drinks with your friends on Friday night, can help you focus on the positives and lift your spirits tremendously.
Sometimes these feelings may be more than just being stuck in a rut and might be an indicator of a more serious health issue such as depression. If you’re unsure about what you’re feeling, please consult your doctor.