I talk about the importance of self-care a lot, but in the last month or so I have been stuck in a rut. I have been feeling unmotivated and lazy and basically living my life as a trash goblin, which has been great, but now its time to get back on track. I have neglected self-care, let myself get overwhelmed by life, and basically coped with stress by eating my body weight in popcorn and watching friends.
When I find myself in a rut in any part of my life, I feel the ripple effect in other aspects in my life, if I neglect to eat healthily, I don’t feel motivated to work out. If I feel too lazy to study, I don’t feel motivated at work. It’s a vicious cycle that has a domino effect on your life, once you lose motivation in one thing, everything else suffers.
I personally was feeling burnt out because I was working a lot, in the middle of exams, and in my down time all I wanted to do was watch netflix and be lazy. So I stopped taking care of myself, which seemed easy at the time but meant that I was falling deeper into a slump. It was time to evaluate why I was stuck, and what aspects of my life were no longer inspiring me.
For me, I was burnt out with university work, I had slacked off creatively, and my self-care had pretty much fallen off the face of the earth. Once I had identified the problem, it was time to put a plan into action, what parts of my life had put me in a rut? For me, it was mainly my exercise regime that was uninspiring and the constant grind of study and work that had left me feeling burnt out, and this was mainly because I had put some unrealistic expectations on myself and what I could achieve. Meaning that I was almost constantly dissatisfied with myself.
One of the most important realisations that comes from being in a rut is that you put yourself there, so you’re responsible for getting yourself out of it. Identifying why you’re in a slump, and being proactive about getting out of it.
Planning to get out of a Rut
One of the best ways to get yourself out of a rut is to put a plan in place (this might just be me) because it’s largely a mental exercise. I wrote down everything that I had control over, and then everything I wanted to me. I want to be someone who has their shit together, exercising regularly, happy in their career and university and have the time and mental space for the creative projects and people in my life that I care about.
After I got clear on my priorities, I then had the responsibility to myself to hold myself up to those ideals. And the challenges, like time management, and laziness were really just challenges to the person I want to be, not insurmountable obstacles. I think that the internal shift makes being in a rut your own responsibility, not a problem of your circumstances because, in the end, you are in control of your own life.
After coming to terms with my internal shift, which was undoubtedly the most important part, I decided to do some concrete, physical things to try and help me get out of my rut.
I had lost the habit of meditating and journalling regularly, and it had really effected my mindset. It’s coming into winter so I didn’t want to get out of bed early to work on self-care. But I need to make time for these things to let myself take care of myself. I started forcing myself to meditate and journal every day, even if it was only for five minutes because the hardest part of any task is starting.
I also cut down my phone time, I was astonished about how much time mindless scrolling was taking up, I mean its so easy to look 20 minutes without even noticing! I started making a conscious effort to not touch my phone unless I had an actual reason too, and it really helped me to think critically about my phone usage.
I was starting to get bored with my space, I am someone who constantly has to be rearranging things and making my space feel fresh and new. I bought some things that lightened the space and made it seem cosier. It’s coming into winter in Sydney so re-arranging my space to seem cosier helped the space to seem more welcoming.
This is also a great chance to reduce the amount of crap I owned, its a great excuse to declutter and clear out anything that you no longer need. I cleaned out books I didn’t like, clothes I don’t wear, and food I won’t eat. It was so refreshing.
Your environment also consists of the media you consume, read a book or immerse yourself into something that makes you feel good and interests you. Even better, reading a book that inspires you (I am currently reading ‘big magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert) is a great way to kick yourself out of your rut and help you to move forward, there are also some fantastic podcasts about personal development. It seems really trivial, but engaging with inspiring media
Sometimes, your goals can no longer be as inspiring as they were when you first set them, people change, and contexts change and sometimes the goals don’t suit you anymore. One of the best ways to get out of a rut, is to re-evaluate which goals still inspire you and create a plan in small, manageable steps to achieve them.
For example, if you want to get fit, commit to walking 10 000 steps a day, or if you want to read more, commit to one chapter a day. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!
Sometimes the smallest physical change can inspire you to be better, it could be a haircut, a style or anything that stops you from feeling ‘stale’. I’m not suggesting you change everything about yourself, just something little to make you feel fresh.
If your change is coming from a place of improvement, not of self- hate, its a positive step towards getting yourself out of a rut. It could be some new clothes, a new style of anything that makes you feel good.
How do you get yourself out of a rut?