Stuck In A Rut? Here’s How To Get Out
For most of us, the global health crisis has made things tougher than tough. From physical ill-health, missing loved ones, isolation, and generally feeling like someone pressed the pause button on life without warning, it’s not been an easy ride.
It could be that you’ve used this unexpected downtime to commit to a hobby or learn a new skill. Or, like many of us, you might have found yourself spiraling into a Netflix vortex with a lack of motivation sapping your energy levels, leaving you feeling despondent and deflated. While endless TV series might not be your poison of choice, the reality is that increasing numbers of us have taken a nose-dive in the motivation stakes. Rediscovering your get-up-and-go might seem like a distant dream, but there are plenty of small changes you can make to help give your routine the shakeup it needs.
Stay Away From Screens
Remember all those hours you’ve spent scrolling through Instagram being inspired by uber-successful influencers or watching YouTube videos that are destined to change your life? Not a lot seemed all that different once you pressed the stop button, did it? Psychologists have recently pointed to the fact that it’s a piece of clever mind-trickery; watching motivational content can make us feel like we’ve achieved something by the end of it when in fact, we haven’t.
So, once you’re done reading our tips, switch off your screen and immerse yourself in another activity. Fold the laundry, stretch your body out or open the window and enjoy the feeling of fresh air on your face – whatever you do, make sure there’s not a screen in sight! If you find it hard to notice when you’ve been scrolling for too long, try using a Pomodoro timer to alert you at the 25-minute mark and take the next 5 to do something completely different.
Learn Not To Overthink Change
For many of us, the idea of change can seem appealing, the actual act of changing less so.
To combat anxiety triggers, try taking a few minutes each day to relax your mind and be fully present. Set a timer for 3 minutes, sit comfortably, and listen to your breath. Notice how fluidly your chest rises and falls and, each time your mind wanders (and it will), bring your attention back to the breath. While it’s tempting to give up the moment we feel the tug of distraction, aim to finish your 3-minute session. Once you’ve mastered that, increase your session to 4 minutes and so on.
A little time out each day can help you rationalize negative thoughts and enjoy the process of change rather than subconsciously battling against it.
Take Small Steps
What are you hoping to achieve? When we find ourselves in a rut, it’s tempting to think that we need to overhaul our entire lives. New jobs, relationships, hobbies, or homes can all be targets for our motivation to change. But it can be more effective to start small.
Acknowledging smaller changes can help us feel more accomplished in everyday life. Whatever size your goal is, make sure it’s personal to you. It could be something as simple as trying a new food once a month or walking to work instead of catching the bus.
Just remember that each change carries significance and what works for you doesn’t necessarily work for the next person. Learning that a friend is moving to the other side of the world for a dream job could leave you feeling downcast about the small-scale changes you’re implementing. Try to remain focused on how you feel each time you accomplish a step on your journey rather than how you feel when comparing yourself to someone else’s transformation.
Time For Action
To give your daily routine the jumpstart it needs, write a list of the small things you could change over the next week, month, and three months. Divide your list into the areas of your life where you want to make alterations – think personal, health, home, family, work, or finances. Before you take action, write down how you feel now when you think of each point on your list and then how you think you’ll feel once you’ve made the change. When it comes to ticking off goals as you achieve them, rather than focusing on what you’ve done, write a note on how you feel having done it.
Limiting comparisons to others, taking time away from screens, starting small, and becoming more present for a little time each day can be much more effective ways to getting you back on track than visualizing a fairytale existence can. Putting small changes into action and celebrating the moments when you feel content rather than elated could mean getting out of your rut is a little less like climbing to the top of Everest and a little more to do with appreciating the view from where you are right now, at this moment.