Bust Out of That Rut and Get Back to Being Fully You

At some point, we all get stuck. Leaving us feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled, and uninspired, ruts come in all forms: emotional, professional, creative, and physical. They can be minor (visiting that one restaurant for the third time this month), or they can be big, quietly wreaking havoc at work, at home, and in our relationships. While getting unstuck is never easy, the good news is that ruts rarely last forever. Even better, there are several tried-and-true ways that you can bust through your rut and get back to being your best self.

A dark-skinned woman with red lipstick sits at the edge of a piano, with her chin resting in her hand and her elbow on the keys.
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Acknowledge Your Rut (and The Reason You’re In It)

The first step to breaking out of a rut is knowing that you’re in a rut. You can’t move forward if you don’t even know you’re stuck.
Just as important is figuring out what got you there. Are unhealthy or unhelpful behaviors going unchecked? Or expectations unmet? Is it because you’re going through something, and it’s dragging your attention and energy down? Or is it a sign that it’s time for a change? Knowing why you’re stuck can help you not only take action but take the right action for your situation.

Try Something New

Activate your brain and your energy in new ways by shaking up your routine and challenging your mind. Read a book by an author you don’t know or on a topic you want to learn, try a new recipe (tacos maybe?) or restaurant, take a class, or even just take a different path to a familiar place. For work ruts, attend a conference or learn a new skill to reenergize or even position yourself for something better.
A light-skinned woman with tattoos on her arms, hands, and leg sits with a book open in her lap.
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Take a Break

When life gets hard and you’re just trying to get through, don’t beat yourself up for not being all in. Take time to care for your body, mind, and spirit. Book a trip, take a few days off work, or even just go for a walk, giving yourself a few minutes to rest. Take your break outside for even more of a boost.

Get Some Exercise

As a famous blonde once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy.” Even low-intensity activities get your blood flowing through your body and your brain. If it’s your workouts that need a jolt, find creative ways to breathe life into your routine. Move your run to a trail, invite a friend to join your workout, or join a sports league to add some fun and competition to your activity. If you’re not quite up for leaving the house, there are great at-home workout options you can do too.
A light-skinned woman dressed in workout clothes and a ballcap with taped hands ties her shoes while boxing gloves rest on the floor next to her.
Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

Take Small Steps

 Sometimes, the best thing we can do to get out of a rut is to just keep moving. However, don’t give in to the idea that you have to tackle everything at once to get unstuck; this mindset only sets you up for failure. Instead, break things down into realistic, manageable steps. Focus your attention on accomplishing one thing at a time, and celebrate each item you check off the list.

Let Go of Perfection (It Doesn’t Exist)

We’ll say it again for the folks in the back: perfection is an illusion. So whether your quest (and/or failure) to achieve it is the reason you’re in the rut, or why you’re having trouble getting out of it, one of the best things you can do is to simply let it go. Instead of dwelling on the negative, celebrate the good things that you have, and find ways to work toward the ones you want.
Remember, ruts usually don’t form overnight, so it takes some time and effort to come out of them too. But with a little patience and a little effort, you can climb out and be back on your way to being fully you.