7 Tips on How to Deal When You’re Stuck in a Rut
I’ve been in a rut lately.
Creatively, I feel paralyzed. Like I have all of these big ideas and the pressure of their potential is just too much for me to handle.
Emotionally, I’m teeter-tottering between the facade of “having it all together” and being a complete and utter wreck. (I think I cried every single day of the week last week, all for varying reasons?)
Career-wise, I’m earning more than ever but feel as though I’m drifting further and further from what I’m actually supposed to be doing; from my actual career goals. Because there’s a very succinct difference between making a living and actually living; there is a great divide between making money and igniting your purpose with your passion.
Mentally, it’s not as if I’m “losing it,” it’s just that I happen to be human, and humans get stuck sometimes. Like I might be ashamed to admit all this, if I didn’t happen to know that Instagram is not in fact, real-life, and these ruts, funks, and struggles are 100% a part of the human condition.
Perhaps my current state is all just a symptom of it still being 2017 and I’ll snap out of it as soon as the ball drops, but I don’t love to leave these things to hope and chance. So, for both your sake and mine (mostly mine, at the moment, TBH), here are 7 tips on how to deal when you’re stuck in a rut.
1. Try Something New
The quickest and easiest way to find ourselves stuck in a rut is if we are not being challenged.
Work is stagnant — you could do your job with your eyes closed.
Your social circle is un-stimulating — you spend your Friday nights talking about the same old stuff, with the same old people, at the same old place.
You have effectively completed 12 weeks of BBG three times in a row, and your body is no longer challenged by the workouts.
If this is the case…
The quickest and easiest way to get ourselves out of said rut is to try something new — ideally, something that challenges us.
Consider your own life — where are you not being challenged? What can you do to change this status?
Getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to mix things up, get yourself unstuck, meet new friends, find new passions, talents or otherwise.
2. Find a Creative Outlet
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I’m just not creative,” then I would probably be writing this from a villa over the water in Bora Bora.
The fact is, creativity can be expressed in numerous ways, outside of the traditional definitions of painting, drawing, writing, photography, etc. You are already being creative every single day — from the way you do your hair, apply your makeup, or get dressed. Cooking is a creative act. Pitching a new idea to your boss is a creative act. Giving a speech at your best friends wedding is a creative act.
Whether you realize it or not, you are a creative being and finding an outlet to nurture that creativity, express yourself, and cultivate catharsis may just be the key to getting yourself unstuck.
Between social media, wireless headphones, and online banking we are more “connected” than ever before, so much so that we’re disconnected to our internal center. We’re so inundated with media, ads, and information that we’re not even sure what we want, what we need, what we like, or what makes us happy anymore.
Sometimes, in order to reconnect with ourselves, we need to disconnect from the world — just for a little while.
Meditation can come in many forms — think guided audio meditations, breath work, yoga, kundalini, coloring, among others. The goal is simply to silence the outside world and go inward. Meditation can offer you an increased sense of well-being, lower your blood pressure, help with anxiety, and perhaps even help you deal when you’re stuck in a rut.
4. Use Your Body
Another form of meditation, stress management, and release is exercise. If you are feeling stuck, stunted, or in a funk of any sort, an excellent antidote to these paralyzing feelings is exercise.
Not only does engaging in physical activity release endorphins (which, as anyone who's ever watched Legally Blonde knows, make us happy), but physical exertion is a therapeutic outlet. I’ve used a sweaty pair of boxing gloves to deal with my anger. I’ve had some of my greatest ideas while on the treadmill. I’ve had complete out-of-body experiences on my yoga mat that provided me with a totally new perspective.
And at the very least, a good sweat always does the body well. (To use your body is to love your body.)
5. Don’t Forget to Love Yourself, First
We often rely on our partners, families, or friends to love and care for us. But really, it is our responsibility — and our responsibility, alone — to cultivate our own sense of well-being, confidence, and ultimately (self)love.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. If you’re lacking on the self-love front, it’s worth putting in the work necessary for improving the relationship.
Not sure where to start? That’s what Love Bomb Bootcamp is for.
6. Do Something for Others
Is it selfish to help others, knowing it will make you feel good? Maybe. But it’s also a win-win situation for everyone involved. Giving back, or helping out others with no thought of getting something for it in return, is a great way to make you feel good.
Help your friend paint her living room.
Do some baking for a local organization.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Buy coffee for the person in line behind you.
By giving back and taking notice of how other people in your community live, you may be offered a new perspective on your own life — maybe you will realize that your rut isn’t quite as deep as you realized.
7. Pause for Reflection
Self-reflection is a powerful tool if practiced correctly. To show up for yourself honestly and authentically, with the bravery to take off your rose-colored glasses and see things as they are can offer you new insight and perspective to what’s really going on in your life.
Pro tip: Journaling is an easy way to practice self-reflection. Simply write what’s on your mind — holding nothing back.
We often put so many unnecessary pressures and expectations on ourselves, they can get in the way of us being able to achieve our best. When we tune into ourselves — mind, body, and otherwise — we become more aware of what’s going on, what’s causing our funk, and how we can get out of it.
What does your self-reflection reveal?
Unhappy with work? Start looking for a new job (ideally one that unites purpose and passion).
Struggling with addiction? There now exists online drug rehab sites.
Feeling uncomfortable in your body? Here are 15 ways to love your body, RN.
Your turn! How do you deal when you're stuck in a rut?
*This is a collaborative post.
*Feature image vie We Heart It.