Every day feels the same. You want to get things done but you just haven’t got the motivation. You’re tired all the time. You fantasize about a major life change. But… you just keep doing the same things and feeling the same way – miserable. Sounds like you’re stuck in a rut. And this pandemic isn’t helping. So, how can you come unstuck?
Clear your mind of any preconceptions or judgements. Ask yourself, why are you feeling this way? Maybe your living situation is frustrating; you’re working remotely and the kids are attending school remotely and you feel claustrophobic. Maybe you feel stuck in a dead-end job. Once you find the source of your rut, it can be tempting to dismiss your feelings. You may think, at least I have a job in the pandemic, I shouldn’t complain. But this type of thinking is only going to keep you stuck. It’s important to honour your feelings.
So, you know why you’re feeling down. It can be tempting to plan a complete overhaul of your life. You’ll buy a new home. You’ll quit your job. You’ll take some grand step that will fix everything. But these grand plans will not come to fruition now. Instead, think of small changes that you can make. Maybe you can clean your workspace at home so that you feel less claustrophobic. Maybe you can suggest working on a project you’re passionate about to your boss. Don’t underestimate the power of small changes in building positive momentum. According to Business2Community, “Less than 0.5% improvement every day, makes you over 8% better at the end of the month, and over a year makes you 250% better.”
We all know that we’re supposed to take care of our physical and mental health. But these good habits can disappear when we’re feeling stuck. You don’t have to reform every unhealthy habit immediately. Pick one area of your life and work on it. Maybe you’ll try to get seven hours of sleep a night. Or maybe you’ll exercise three times a week. You’ll be amazed how much more energy and passion you have when you take care of yourself.
Put the phone down. Step away from the laptop. Unplugging from technology has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness and give you more time to appreciate the pleasures of life. Nature is therapeutic so why not go for a walk or even sit in your garden? You can also take a power nap or even just let your mind wander. These practices will boost your creativity and improve your problem-solving skills in the long term.
Some routine is good but too much routine can leave you feeling robotic and uninspired. There are healthy ways to be impulsive; say yes to new opportunities such as a training session at work or a chance to catch up with an old friend. Try waking up a little earlier one day and practicing mindful meditation. If you feel like having something different for dinner, order in! Every decision you make will add some much-needed variety to your life.
This may sound counterintuitive. You’re the one who needs help! But helping others can give you a sense of purpose and renewal and boost your self-esteem. You can give to charity. Find a way to contribute to your community. Or practice acts of kindness. Maybe you can watch the kids so that your partner has an evening to themselves. Bake a cake for the neighbours. Or call a colleague who may be feeling overwhelmed. You’re doing good for others and you’re filling your own cup.
Perfectionism causes you to criticize anything once it’s not perfect and it engenders procrastination as you only want to begin a task when everything is just right. But this is the very behaviour that’s going to keep you stuck! Instead of trying to do things perfectly, try to do them well and accept that mistakes are inevitable and OK.
Right now, you may be feeling tired, frustrated and burnt out. But you can start taking small steps today so that you can feel vibrant, motivated and happy again. Embrace the journey and you’re well on your way to climbing out of that rut.