We all go through times of feeling stuck in life. Our level of motivation can certainly ebb and flow. But if you’ve been feeling especially unmotivated lately, maybe you’re in a rut. Looking for some tips for getting out of a funk? Here are 21 things to do when you’re stuck in a rut.
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How to Get Out of a Rut in Life: 21 Tips for Breaking Out of Your Funk
Mindset Shifts for When You’re Feeling Stuck
1. Identify that you’re in a rut
Since the first step in solving any problem is realizing that there is one, it’s important to recognize that you’re feeling stuck for some reason.
Here are some potential causes of your funk:
You regret something – Maybe you spent a lot of time on something that isn’t working out. Or you made tons of plans to support some life path, and it’s just not what you expected it to be.
The truth is that regret only serves a purpose if it spurs you to change something. It’s never too late to adjust your path in life.
Wishful thinking – This is the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality. It’s super important to stop looking around you at everyone else’s lives and assuming they’re way better than yours.
Avoid comparing your life to others’. It’s a guarantee that they face more difficulty than it seems. Besides, what does their life have to do with you anyway?
Pipe dreams – It’s totally cool to dream big when it comes to what you can accomplish in life. But if your ‘dreams’ consist of things like winning the lottery, you’re going to be in a rut indefinitely.
Try focusing your dreams on actions you can take and control. Relying on luck won’t get you anywhere!
2. Be proud of yourself for noticing
It takes a certain level of self-awareness to identify that you’re having an issue. Recognizing that you’re stuck in a rut shows that you care enough about yourself to seek a solution.
3. Understand that this happens to everyone
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, everybody feels stuck in life from time to time. Understanding that helps you realize that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re completely normal!
4. Ask yourself what the rut is telling you
You’re most likely in a funk because something in your life needs to change. Maybe it’s a relationship, your daily routine, or your career.
Even if you think things in your life seem fine, there is a reason that you feel disconnected. Monitor your emotions throughout the day, paying particular attention to what activity (or person) lowers your mood or drains your energy.
5. Give yourself grace
Realize that it might take a little time to rebound from your funk. So now is the perfect time to start taking better care of yourself.
When you treat yourself with love and respect, you feel it. That can mean anything from changing up your eating habits to taking some time alone to gather your thoughts.
Ultimately, it’s simply your responsibility to take care of yourself.
Action Steps for Getting Out of a Rut Quickly
6. Identify what it is you’d like to change
Now that you’ve looked into the possible reasons that you’re feeling stuck, start writing down some things that you’d like to change.
Grab a pen and paper (or the Notes section of your phone), and just start jotting down anything that comes to mind.
Don’t censor or delete any of it. It’s this free flowing of your thoughts that might help you specifically identify what to do next.
Check out the Enjoy Your Life More Journal! This workbook will help you discover what is and isn’t working in your life. And how to fix it!
7. Set attainable goals
If you’ve identified what it is you’d like to change, set a couple small goals around it.
For example, maybe you realized that you’re stuck in a rut because you hate your job. You thought this career path was perfect for you, but actually it’s just not a good fit.
Set a goal to have a different job by this time next year. Or in 6 months. Whatever you find motivating enough to take action on immediately, and realistic enough that you can achieve it.
8. Start taking some small action on your goal
Often being stuck in a rut means feeling quite unmotivated. If you are having a really hard time getting moving, just take one tiny action.
If you want to lose weight, just look up a couple diet plans online. Or you could make a list of the little steps that will put you on the path toward your goal.
The beautiful thing about taking one small step is that it often spurs new momentum.
9. Move your body
There’s just something about sitting still that makes you feel even more stuck.
Even just going for a walk will change your atmosphere and your perspective.
Moving your body has a way of making you feel more alive and energized. Please try it!
10. Talk with a good friend
Hopefully you have someone in your life who you can bounce ideas off of. And who will encourage you in all the right ways.
The act of telling someone else a little of what you’re going through can help you see it more clearly. Plus, your friend will probably have some helpful insight that you wouldn’t have thought about.
11. Take a break from social media
When you’re not feeling your best, you need to avoid the comparison trap in all of its forms.
Try taking a day or two (or more) away from social media. Use that time to take care of yourself in some soul-nourishing way, instead of keeping tabs on what everyone else is doing.
12. Change up your routine
It’s difficult to get out of a rut when you keep doing the same thing day after day.
Our minds don’t really register the things we do over and over. It’s the new experiences that make new paths in our brains.
That’s why you can remember a fun vacation way more than an ordinary week in your life.
The extent to which you want to change your routine is totally up to you.
Even something as simple as taking a different route on your drive or walk can make you see something in a whole new way.
Check out Makeover Your Mornings, and learn how to create a morning routine that works for you, and stop feeling behind and overwhelmed every morning!
13. Plan something fun
Whether it be small or big, put a fun activity on your calendar. Meet a friend for coffee, plan a weekend getaway, or buy concert tickets.
The act of making the plan will have you feeling excited and energized.
14. Schedule some relaxation time
Right after you plan something fun, schedule in some time to relax. It could be getting a massage, having a movie night with your best friend, or reading a good book.
Part of taking good care of yourself means staying mindful of your energy. You won’t be at your best when you’re run down and burned out.
Rest and relaxation is crucial to your well-being. So don’t be a martyr. Or feel guilty about it taking time for yourself!
15. Help someone else
If it’s been a while since you helped someone out, know that it can be very good for the soul.
It takes the focus off of yourself, and onto someone who could really use a hand.
You could try volunteering at a homeless or pet shelter, sponsor a child in need, or babysit for a frazzled mom.
And while of course helping others is important, the secret is that it actually makes you feel way better!
16. Find a challenge
Even something as simple as a puzzle or game can stimulate you into feeling less stuck.
Set up a little challenge for yourself. Here are twenty 30-day challenge ideas to get you started.
17. Read a book
One of simplest ways to take your mind off your troubles is to read a good book.
It will transport you to a different world, help you relax, and make you feel accomplished.
18. Rearrange your furniture
There’s nothing like changing up your environment to help get you inspired. We tend to stop seeing our surroundings when they don’t change.
Rearranging the furniture in a room or two of your home will give you a new appreciation for your space.
19. Learn something new
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Now’s a great time. Take a class, or watch YouTube videos to help you learn a new skill, hobby, recipe, or just about anything else.
Remember that the act of learning something new keeps those brain signals fresh and fired up.
When you’re engaged in life, you’re far less likely to feel stuck in a rut. Plus, you might discover a new passion.
Check out Bluprint, formerly Craftsy, for fun online classes to learn everything from photography to to cake decorating to knitting and so much more.
20. Clean out your closet
Do you cringe every time you open your closet door? It might look a hot mess and leave you feeling like you have nothing to wear.
Your closet is your own personal space, and you deserve to have it set up in a way that works best for you.
It will feel really good to get rid of the stuff that’s dragging you down. Excess clutter can cause added anxiety and actual impairs your brain of creativity.
If your closet already looks good, declutter some other area of your home. Donate or sell what isn’t working for you, and don’t look back.
- How to Get Your Closet Organized Once and For All
- 10 Minute Chores: Cleaning Tasks to do When You’re Short on Time
21. Recognize your funk triggers
So you’ve given quite a bit of thought to the reasons that you were in a rut, and taken some action to dig yourself out. Now it’s time to figure out how to avoid it happening again going forward.
Keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings can really help make you aware of them more clearly and consistently.
You’ll begin to notice patterns. Certain people, activities, or seasons can affect your mood a great deal. Come up with some strategies for handling those situations.
That could mean spending less time with toxic individuals, learning to say no to commitments that drain your energy, or adjusting your expectations for certain events.
You May Also Like:
- A Year of Positive Thinking: Daily Inspiration, Wisdom, and Courage
- Good Day Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
- Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You Are
I sincerely hope that this post gave you some ideas for how you’ll approach getting out of your rut.
From understanding why you’re in a rut in the first place to planning and taking action toward feeling more alive and engaged with life.
I wish you all the best!
Disclaimer: If your ‘rut’ has been going on for a very long time and you’re experiencing a complete loss of enjoyment for life, you may be depressed. Please consider seeking treatment. Here are the symptoms of depression to look out for.
Other Helpful Resources:
- 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
- Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow