Getting Out Of A Rut: What To Do & What To Avoid


Being stuck in a rut is the worst. It could be that you’re not feeling fulfilled, whether it’s in a relationship or at your job, or maybe you’re ready for a change and aren’t quite sure what that change should be. But no matter if it’s personal or professional, a rut can be one hell of a bummer, and getting out of one can be really hard.

I will admit that I’ve been in a bit of a rut this month. Without getting into too many details, I am in a weird transitional period at work, which makes my job less motivating than usual. I hate waiting for things to happen, and I am definitely in a waiting period right now. I’m also coming off the holidays and being ill, so my exercise and eating routines have been suffering. My sleep schedule is off. Basically, I am not feeling motivated like I was a few weeks ago and my productivity (and mood) is suffering for it.

I have a mood tracker in my bullet journal, and you can see that I started off this month feeling pretty good, but then things took a real turn into craptown. I’ve been fairly “meh” all month, with a few dips into “depressed.” Not fun.

My mood tracker for January

There are a lot of ways that I deal with being in a rut, some healthy and some less so. The following are some things I do–or try really hard not to do–when I am feeling stuck.

Do:  Force yourself to go out

Something that immediately happens when I am feeling low is that I curl inward. I stop texting friends, stop posting on social media, stop going out with people. I avoid running errands. If it gets really bad, I reschedule appointments (even small ones, like going to the dentist) because I feel like I can’t be bothered to go out. This is pretty common, I think, when you’re not feeling great, but it can also start some unhealthy patterns. Forcing yourself to go out more–even if it’s just to the drugstore to pick up a few things–can give you a feeling of accomplishment and provide some much needed encouragement.

Don’t: Nap

Don’t get me wrong: I love naps. Naps are super great when they’re bringing you necessary relaxation. But when I am feeling listless or sad, I find myself napping just to nap. Sometimes, I’m not even tired, you know? I just don’t know what else to do with myself, so I lie down and fall asleep. In the end, this type of napping just makes me feel sluggish and gross. It throws off my sleep schedule and disrupts my day.

Do: Start a project

Trying something new–or reigniting an old hobby–can be a great way to pull yourself out of a rut. It can be anything you want–find a cool DIY project on Pinterest for your home, or reorganize your closet. If you’re the creative type, draw or paint something.  For me, this creative outlet is blogging, but it can be anything that gets your mental juices flowing. It helps your brain become un-stuck.

Don’t: Overdo it with retail therapy

This might just be a “me” thing, but when I am in a funk, I find myself ordering everything humanly possible on Amazon. I suddenly need all the things. Literally, in this past week, I have ordered a new shower curtain rod and liner, a second pair of brown boots, and two step stools for the house. Not one–two! WTF? Online shopping can sometimes be a little too convenient, and my wallet often suffers for it. Filling the void with too much retail therapy is a no-no for me.

Do: Get on a schedule

I really like routines. One of the worst things for me about being in a rut is that my schedule gets completely out of whack. One way to fix this is to get on a schedule. That might be a strict daily to-do list or some other type of routine that helps you set daily goals and achieve them. Something like a 30-day challenge (fitness is a good one, but there are so many out there to choose from) can help bring normalcy back to your day-to-day. This might not work for everyone, but I find great comfort in a regimen.

Don’t: Push yourself too hard

If you’re sad, you’re sad. It happens! You’re allowed to have a bad day. If you need to, indulge the urge to turn off your phone and curl up in bed for the afternoon. Practice a little self care, even if it feels “lazy” of you. This might sound contradictory to everything above, but I am a firm believer in giving yourself a break sometimes. As they say, tomorrow is actually another day.

I am still trying to pull myself out of this current rut and doing my best to follow the guidelines above. What do you do when you’re stuck in a rut?


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