How to get out of a rut

How to get out of a rut


Everyone has had periods where they feel dispirited, unhappy with themselves and lacking motivation. These simple ideas may help you climb out of a rut.

It’s fairly safe to generalise by saying that nearly everyone has had moments in which they are unhappy with themselves. Perhaps they feel that they are in a rut, or too boring, or something traumatic has occurred and they are taking a long time to recover from the sadness. So, are you feeling annoyed with your own company or general sense of self? Do you feel that you have not realised your full potential as a person? Things won’t change if you continue to mope past the point of it being healthy. Well, here are some things might help to get you out of your self-imposed box.

Say ‘yes’ more often

Saying ‘yes’ is one of the most important things a person could do in this situation. Get yourself back into the swing of things by straying outside your realm of Things You Normally Do. What is more daring and challenging than trying something new? Say yes when that acquaintance of yours invites you to a movie with their crowd, even though there isn’t anyone in your friend circle attending. Say yes when the art school needs models for figure-drawing. Say no when the slightly slimy guy you just met asks you over to his place. But seriously, if a friend asks you to fill a space in the car for a weekend festival, for example? Give it a try. Even if it’s not your type of music/event/meeting, you might have fun anyway. Perhaps you’ll make friends. Perhaps the road trip will be entertaining. Perhaps you’ll get to ride a camel. If not, at least you’ve tried and thus added to your life experience.

Don’t get hung up on your potentially negative perceptions of yourself

It’s hard to transgress your bubble if you have a fixed idea of things you don’t do or enjoy. Things will not change if you don’t alter your impression of yourself as being, say, a person who “just doesn’t” go to live music shows. If you are going through a banal phase and are unsatisfied with it, this will not change if you merely continue in your rut. And for goodness’ sake, never use negative thoughts to justify not doing anything! “I’m too fat/clumsy/pescatarian to go adventuring through a forest!” Rubbish..

Start being more physically active

I know, I know; but realise that while you despise physical activity, you’ll love results. So start skipping while the kettle boils, or kick it retro-style and do ab exercises for eight minutes a day (come on guys – you can’t complain you don’t have time when it takes less than ten minutes). Perhaps try learning to skateboard, or just go on exploratory walks/bike rides. Eventually it will become routine, and your body will thank you for it.

If possible, get out of a parentally mediated environment

Mooks still at school will probably not be able to do this one unless they go for weekends away with friends, but it really makes a difference when you have a little unsupervised freedom. Of course, nobody is advocating that you abuse parental trust, but (stereotypically) most personal growth happens during those tertiary education years. This is because we have a chance to experiment and learn lessons safely beyond parental backlash. Ten points if you do it all without negative effects!

Do something outside your comfort-zone (and preferably adrenaline-inducing)

Go kayaking or start pole-dancing, sing karaoke in public. It helps to shake things up, and even if you never do it again, it will at least make a cool story. For example, I did this.

Make the effort to see friends

It’s all too easy to crawl into an apathetic hole and make it a den worthy of troglodyte envy, but being sociable and hanging out with friends can do a lot to up your spirits and make you feel good about yourself again. Also, things with friends are just more fun. Consider dressing up as pirates, renting a paddle-boat and going for a float on a lake somewhere.

Make new friends!

Preferably whilst doing things you’ve never done before.

Revise or re-invent your image

We all know that external appearances are far inferior to the awesomeness within, but it is also true that if you are confident about the way you present yourself you will also feel good. Trying new haircuts/styles/nailpolish will also help you explore and might be a step to effecting change in your way of perceiving yourself. One of my friends dyed her hair a different colour every time she went through a traumatic breakup. Often the resulting flow of positive and uplifting reactions helped raise her self-confidence. Express yourself!

Do something creative

Always! Start a new hobby or blog; write, draw, paint, sing, take photographs, make origami. Keep a sketchbook/scrapbook, start a band; or just take a little more interest in whatever instrument you already play. If you’re rubbish at artsy things but are generally an inspired or imaginative person, write about it in your journal, or make huge intricate mind-maps of concepts and illustrate them with pictures cut from magazines. This is for yourself, so don’t be shy.

Remember to like who you are, and if you don’t, work at it until you do. Be proactive about dealing with negative thoughts and go a little wild – but also remember to stay true to what you feel is your ‘real’ self. Don’t take unnecessary risks or put yourself in potentially harmful situations. Spread the magic, spread the love.