“I’m Stuck In A Rut – Now What?”

Many of us have found ourselves stuck in a rut at some point in our lives.

Sometimes it lasts a day, a week, a month or perhaps even longer.

It’s painful to go through this, I know – and at times, you can feel like you’ll never crawl out of this pit you’re in. You still have to get through your routine because you have responsibilities, but it sure is tough to get motivated.

So with this in mind, how do you deal when you’re in a funk?

I have some ideas. Out of all of them, I’m confident you’ll find at least one thing you’ll connect with.

Stuck in A Rut? Here’s How You Crawl Out

Find something – anything to make you feel better.

And when I say anything, I don’t really mean anything.

Anything can include activities that might seem like a good idea, but in reality, will offer consequences that’ll only add to your problems.

So you want to be mindful of what activities you’ll choose to involve yourself in.

For example, things like alcohol, drugs (even the legal ones) and shopping (retail therapy) seem appealing because they offer a temporary sense of pleasure, but these things can also come with a hefty price tag.

The idea behind finding activities that will help you to feel better are geared toward well-being.

These are the things that can not only bring a sense of happiness to your life, but may get you in a better place altogether.

I know it’s tough to feel anything other than despair when you’re in a rut. It seems like everything you attempt to do either doesn’t work, or you can’t enjoy the things that generally make you happy.

So instead of trying to do things from a place of productivity, just do them from a place of seeking relief.

What might that look like?

Well, depending on you, the ideas could vary.

If you’re someone who needs to feel productive, then you’ll find something that can produce a tangible result.

Such things may include:

  • Cooking
  • Art
  • Writing
  • Exercise
  • Gardening
  • Sports
  • Music (playing an instrument or singing – meaning, creating music)
  • Taking a class

When you engage in these activities, you don’t want to focus on the result. You just want to be in the creative process.

By being result’s oriented, you may wind up unhappy with what comes out of your project, and this can push you further into feelings of failure – which will only keep you in the rut.

Instead, just be in the moment of what you’re doing. Use this as playtime.

I do this when I’m stuck in a rut and it works, even if it’s temporary.

I’ll get in the kitchen and think up something to create. I don’t care how it comes out.

I put my music on, work with the food and stay detached from the results.

More often than not, I end up creating something cool. The feeling of “playtime” distracts me from my problems and since I stay involved in what I’m doing, instead of needing it to turn out a certain way – I release the resistance within me and allow my imagination to flow freely.

Now if you aren’t interested in doing something creative, you can engage in other activities that can act as a soothing agent.

These include:

  • Reading (preferably something that at least doesn’t involve violence or depressing topics).
  • Watching movies (same idea as above).
  • Listening to music.
  • Eating something delicious (however, NOT from a place of abusing food – which is easy to do in this state of you aren’t careful). You’ll want to practice mindful eating here, so try to find something healthy that you love and use discernment with portion control).
  • Listening to audios or podcasts designed to inspire you or expand your level of consciousness.
  • Hanging out with someone you enjoy spending time with.
  • Watching or listening to anything that makes you laugh.
  • Venturing out into nature by walking on the beach or simply being outside.

I used to live by the beach. I loved it, and I miss having such easy access to an environment that brought me peace.

I would go and walk on the shore or just sit on the sand and listen to the crashing waves. I didn’t solve any of my problems by doing this, but it sure soothed the pain, even temporarily.

These days, I’ll either go to the park and sit on the bench that has a view of the water, or I’ll hang out in my backyard and admire the beauty of the surrounding trees, along with the plants I’ve grown from seed.

Just observing nature and refraining from interacting with my thoughts will do the trick. Sometimes inspiration hits and I become creative, other times it doesn’t.

But the change in scenery helps.

I’ve also found that watching movies offers me a sense of relief when I need it most. I’ll choose something that either has an inspiring message or one that simply allows me to get lost in the story for a while.

The idea is to make the conscious decision to stop ruminating and find joy.

When you do this from a place of caring about yourself, you’ll engage in activities that do no harm – to yourself or others. They may even lead you to a place where something wonderful transpires – as long as you aren’t attached to an outcome.

Being in a rut sucks. No doubt about that.

But if you follow the steps listed above, you’ll find that you don’t have to spend every waking moment of the day in misery.

Within yourself, you’ll stumble across a level of trust in life. You’ll realize you aren’t as alone as you think you are – even if there’s no one around to spend time with.

If nothing else, you’ll discover how you best handle being down and out by trying new things.

Maybe you’re the type that has to be still for a while. Or perhaps, you’ll find you need to take action to propel yourself to new heights.

This will be a personal endeavor. There is no one way to crawl out of a rut.

So experiment a bit. The ideas presented here will help you to discover what makes you tick.

And remember, we all go through this.

You truly aren’t alone.

Want more bullshit-free wisdom? Check out my latest book “Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity).”

Grab your copy at any of these online retailers.

Amazon Kindle

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Dana Gore

Author of the books "A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety (What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You)" and "Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity)", Dana Gore is a health and fitness professional, wellness coach, and freelance writer. Dana brings guidance to the public about how to achieve optimal health in a safe and structured manner while inspiring her readers to seek self-awareness and inner peace as a means to well-being in all areas of life.

12 thoughts on ““I’m Stuck In A Rut – Now What?”

  • at 5:00 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    You said that you once lived by the ocean. For me, that is an effective Rut Buster as I love to head to the beach (or preferable board a plane to a tropical destination) when I have felt stuck. The next house we purchase will be by the ocean!

    As you know, most of the time feeling in a rut is the result of our self talk. Every day, we each “speak” to ourselves, providing feedback on how we’re doing. Oftentimes, it is negative feedback.
    As a result, we feel worse – and end up stuck in a rut. By changing our self talk we can actually begin to feel better.

    Reply
    • at 6:31 pm
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      Hi Rachel,

      Yep, I agree about the self-talk. It’s powerful – and it takes over when we aren’t aware of it.
      It sure can contribute to being in a rut. One thought leads to another and before you know it, you’re completely wrapped up in a story with some dark twists.

      If you do end up getting a place by the beach (or on it), you’ll love it. I miss being by the ocean. I used to walk on the shore and listen to the waves crash. So wonderful.

      I appreciate the visit. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 1:50 pm
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    Hi Dana. I enjoyed your post. Everyone gets stuck in a rut every now and then. The important thing is what you do to get out of it. For me, being stuck in a rut means that my energy or the energy around me has become stagnant and I need to get it moving again. I work from home every day, so what works best for me is to open the windows and clean the room that I spend most of my time in. It’s kind of like a change of scenery. Get some fresh air, stir up the dust, light some incense or a candle and maybe rearrange some furniture (furniture is more my wife’s thing).

    Reply
    • at 6:36 pm
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      Hi Ben,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Yep, I think a lot of us find ourselves stuck in a rut from time to time. Even doing something to provide temporary relief in the form of well-being is an effective way to start to crawl out of it.

      It’s true that changing things up in your environment can make a positive impact. I know how I feel when I give the place a good cleaning, light a candle or some essential oil and put some music on. Even in a rut, it can break the cycle for a while.

      I appreciate your contribution Ben. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 4:13 am
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    Hey Dana,

    Getting stuck in a rut is a very obvious thing for many of us. The frequency may vary – but the feeling is similar.

    Though I find it challenging to get out of the mood immediately, but try to indulge in something which gives me freedom (for me it’s either to experiment in the kitchen or a long drive 🙂 ).

    I too agree that short term indulgence can’t be an alternative way to get out of it. Thanks for sharing. Take care.

    Reply
    • at 3:04 pm
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      Hi Manidipa,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂

      I know a long drive can do wonders for people (of course depending on the drive itself – it can either be freeing or incredibly frustrating). And yes, getting in the kitchen can be a creative outlet (it is for me often).

      Yep, looking for a temporary fix can help or hinder, again it all depends. Sometimes it’s great to just remove yourself as long as it isn;t something that creates a dependency or contributes to additional problems.

      I think many of us go through this in varying degrees as well. It takes the ability to observe with some sense of neutrality (tough to do, but not impossible) to gain insight into how to best navigate through it – or even use it as something that contains a hidden gift.

      Many times, these things can offer incredible insight into self as long as we don’t ruminate.

      Glad to see you’ve found your way here. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 8:21 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    That darn rut. When it hits me I do find joy with my dogs, or just sit by the ocean. Now that I live right by the beach I love that sound of waves crashing against the rocks. It is so soothing. Even when it is winter, I’ll sit in the car, take in some sun and listen to the waves.

    When all else fails….shopping does the trick all the time. Yes…there are never enough shoes, bags, tops, etc. But I don’t shop…rather hunt. I love a good deal and it gives me a rush.

    -Donna

    Reply
    • at 3:15 pm
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      Hi Donna,

      I’m right there with you about the sound of the waves crashing. It’s so soothing. I bet you love living by the beach. I sure did. It was my “back yard” for a while.

      I know animals can certainly bring out the best in us when we’re down. I don’t have any pets at the moment, but I did have a dog – and I adored him.

      I think I know you well enough to know how you use shopping. Some people have a “buy now pay later because it’ll make me feel better” mentality and more often than not, it doesn’t do good things.

      You, on the other hand, have a healthy attitude and I know you like finding cool, vintage stuff. It’s sort of like a sport or a creative project for you. Completely different approach – and that makes all the difference between whether it’s healthy or not (from my experience).

      I’m glad you stopped by Donna. Thanks for your insights 🙂

      Reply
  • at 6:25 pm
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    Hi, Dana

    When I get stuck, I do something I love to do. I like walking, seeing movie, and light cooking. This is scientific proofs that when you relax like that by doing something you love, new resolutions or new idea will come to you .

    Have a nice week!

    Stella Chiu

    Reply
    • at 6:26 pm
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      Hi Stella,

      I don’t doubt that one bit.

      Lessening the stress and anxiety can have profound positive effects. The key is to actually stop and do them instead of ruminating in the rut (which is easy and common to do).

      I enjoy the same things you mentioned. If we lived closer, I’d say let’s take a nice walk 🙂

      Reply
  • at 2:49 pm
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    Hey Dana,

    Your articles hit me right in my gut, girl. When I get stuck, I turn to my furkids and horror movies for inspiration. LOL Yeah, the horror movies might seem a bit odd for when I’m in that “funk”, seeing people get diced up makes me better. haha

    Back in my early years, I used to turn to the beach as well to clear my head. I’ve always dreamed of living by the shore, preferably in the New England area. I find such peace there.

    Thanks for the Sunday inspiration. Oh, btw, I love your new home page! 😉

    Have a great week ahead, gf!

    B

    Reply
    • at 4:03 pm
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      Hey Bren,

      Yeah, the furkids can be so helpful when you’re in a rut.
      As far as the horror flicks, LOL. I used to read some of those books and they did get my mind off of things for a while.

      Being by the beach was so wonderful. I lived in two beachfront condos, one was private and the other was a public beach. I went to the private beach more often, but both were heavenly.
      There are some awesome places in New England. I’ve seen some pictures of the views and they’re breathtaking.

      I’ve moved away, but still have access to beautiful outdoor scenery. It’s amazing what this does when you’re in a rut.

      I love the new homepage too. You do fantastic work Bren 🙂

      Reply

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