Ruts are something I am painfully familiar with. Whether it’s a creative rut, fitness rut, mood rut, you name it I’ve probably struggled to find balance with it time and time again. This past year I’ve been really digging in and trying to find things that work for me to help pull me out of a rut, and I thought it would be fun to talk about those with ya’ll.
Let’s just start with a quick reminder here that I am not an expert at pretty much anything. Heck, even my job was something I jumped into and have just learned from experience. That’s who I am - jack of all trades, master of none. So when I give out any advice like this, know that it’s coming from my experience and may or may not be the right answer for you. We’re all incredibly individual and, while I share these in the hopes that they can help you as much as they’ve helped me, you need to find your own path.
Listen to how you talk to yourself
Being more conscious of how I talk to myself has been a big effort for me this year. After reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” I’ve made an effort to correct myself when I think “I’m a bad person” (which I so often do) and instead changing that to “I did something bad, but I’m not a bad person” and just that little switch has helped my mindset significantly. Living for years I’ve told myself that I’m a terrible person, and guess what, it only made me feel way worse, and drug me right down into the pit (“the pit of despair!” ten points to anyone who gets that reference) .
Take a good look at how you’re talking to yourself and make a conscious effort to stop and correct yourself when you feel you’re going down a negative self talk track. Telling yourself your terrible ten times a day won’t fix your problems or make you feel any better, I promise.
Pay attention to what you’re ingesting
No, I’m not just talking about what you eat (although it’s definitely good to be mindful of that as well, especially when you’re not feeling yourself!), I’m talking about what movies and tv you watch, music you listen to, books you read, everything you’re putting in your brain. I’ve found being mindful of what I’m taking in during times I’m feeling in a funk can make such an impact on how long I feel stuck. Set aside that sad story or movie and find something motivational or inspirational to remind you that things will turn around. It sounds cheesy, but just like “you are what you eat” you tend to adapt thought patterns and habits of what you’re mentally digesting too.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
This is still something I’m learning to do, but I think is incredibly important. Recognizing when you need to reach out to someone you’re close with, or even if it’s time to grab the phone and make an appointment with a therapist or other professional, is key. Keep yourself open to identifying when you need help and try not to wait until you’re deep in the mud to reach out.
I used to hear about greatfulness practices and ROLL MY EYES. No joke. It seemed cheesy and felt super uncomfortable, like one of those awkward times when a friends parents made you go around the dinner table and talk about what you’re thankful for (can’t we just skip to the food part?). But guess what, it really really really is important and can make such a difference. Taking time to think about focus in on the good things instead of wallowing permanently on the bad can really help pull you out of a bad spot.
If you don’t have a gratefulness practice then it’s going to feel super weird the first few times. In fact, you might have literally no idea what to write down, but push through! Even if they may seem silly starting with simple things like “having a place to live” or even something as basic as “having access to fresh water”. Those are all great things to take a second to appreciate. Whether it’s committing to make a list in your head first thing when you wake up, or taking the time to sit down and right them out during the day, taking inventory of the good can really help you feel more balanced when things feel like they aren’t going your way.
That’s it! They are so simple, but have made a big difference for me this past last year and would recommend them to anyone who’s been struggling with ruts or just funky moods you may pass through. Let me know if you guys have anything you do that have helped you in those times!