I can’t count the times I’ve discussed with my friends the feeling of being in a rut. In most cases, their lives were good. They had good jobs. They earned enough money to support their respective families. Their families were in good standing. There seemingly was nothing to be unhappy about in their lives. Yet they felt like things were just blah. A lot of times these friends didn’t know how to articulate that blah. However, as they continued talking, it became clear they were in a rut. Lost to the rat race. Lost to an unexciting existence. They get up every day, spend time with their families, work, and then come home. Do it all the next day. Everyday. My friends who’ve discussed this with me almost all said, “There should be more than this to my life.”
This is something, I think, we all deal with internally to some degree. Not everyone has a job they love. Not everyone achieves their lifelong dreams. Think of the lifecycle of romantic relationships. You meet. Excitement and arousal is high. You have the honeymoon phase. Then daily life sets in. Years pass. Unless you work extremely hard at maintaining your relationship, it too can fizzle. It requires hard work. Like all things. Like life. And like getting out of a rut.
Usually, this is my advice.
Change up your routine. Rut is another word for routine. Routine, while there’s nothing wrong with them in general, can lead to boredom and mental stagnation. Switch things up. If you wear contacts and always put your right eye in first, switch it up. Put your left eye in first. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand you usually utilize. Change the route you drive to the store or to work. The smallest changes, like these, make your brain work differently.
Do something for yourself. Find a hobby. Ask yourself: What have you always wanted to do? What did you used to do that you wish you still did? What is something you think you’d enjoy? The answer could be: run a marathon, take a cooking class, explore painting or photography, write a book, volunteer at the nearest homeless shelter or church or community organization, or playing a sport. When you work, have a spouse, and children, most of your day is spent devoted to other people. Some of each day should be spent on you.
Listen to the experts. But don’t take it just from me, click these links for additional ideas:
- Set attainable goals. If the goals you’ve set for yourself are unattainable, you could feel like you’re in a rut.
- Take inventory. Maybe you’ve just forgotten how great you really are.
- Most importantly, get started. Nothing will change if you don’t do something.
Russell Martin is a freelance writer from Florida. He doesn’t just write about building positivity in people’s lives, he also writes about business relationships, traveling, and food, to name a few topics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.