Wednesday, April 22, 2015

6 ways to get out of a rut (none of which involve a tow truck)

It's mud season in my home state of Vermont, and the term getting out of rut is taken pretty literally right now. Especially after this winter.

image courtesy of
 To most people, however, that rut isn't a muddy dirt road, it's the feeling we get when life gets boring. "Same ol', same ol'," "Daily grind," etc. It happens to the best of us. (Well I can't speak for the whole world, but I'd say it happens to all of us.) How do we get out of the rut? What do we do when life is boring? When it's the same thing day in and day out?

  1. Start a gratitude journal. Or, if that is too touchy-feely for you, every night before you turn the light out, jot down on a scrap of paper three good things that happened. The idea is to make an effort to recognize the good things that are happening in life, even if life doesn't feel so great.
  2. Take one thing that you do every day and do it differently, perhaps even better. The easiest way for me to make my day a little better is through food. I cook a special dinner, bake a loaf of bread, or make a dessert. It makes a regular Tuesday a little more interesting.
  3. Get some loving. From a simple hug to something a little more x-rated. Get some love into your life. Human touch has proven health benefits like releasing oxytocin and dopamine.
  4. Move! But make it fun. If you love the gym and it makes you happy, go there. But if "working out" is a chore, do something different. Put on some music and dance. Go for a bike ride. Find a kid and play tag. Find a dog and toss the frisbee with it. A little bit of exercise and movement and, most importantly, play will lift spirits.
    I don't know what this "sport" is called, but these adults were having a blast playing on a Saturday afternoon.
  5. Be spontaneous. Instead of driving straight home from work or from picking the kids up at school, go somewhere. Go out for pizza. Stop at the deli and pick up sandwiches and have an impromptu picnic dinner. Call a friend you haven't seen for weeks, or days, and meet for a drink or a walk.
    An impromptu trip to a beachside hotel let this boat kid jump on the bed. Something she's only had the chance to do a few times in her life and which she thoroughly loved. The joy that resulted from our spontaneity!
  6. Think of a more sustaining way to keep from slipping into "same ol', same ol'." Brainstorm a list of things you like to do, or things you wish you could do more often and make an effort to do them. (Practical things. I love snorkeling over coral reefs, but since I don't live near any crystal clear, tropical water, that's not possible. I'll keep that off the list.) 
I feel like getting stuck in a rut is such an easy thing to do. We go through the daily motions of life - doing what is necessary (eating, working, cleaning, sleeping) and what is easy (Facebook, TV) and we forget to take a break from the necessary and the easy to do what we like. There is a little effort involved, but by acknowledging that the rut exists, and that, yes, life can be boring sometimes, will help you get out of that rut, wipe the mud off, and start making daily and weekly life more interesting, more fun, and more inspiring.

1 comment:

  1. Loving your pictures and the genuine, honest way you have put your story across - you're an inspiration and I am following your journey - awesome work!