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Stuck In a Rut? Here’s How To Get Out!

December 12, 2018

Throughout your lifetime you will have moments of sheer joy alongside unparalleled happiness, but you will also have to endure hardship and points of despair. This is the roller coaster of life. Hopefully, you will have more ups than downs, but it is the way that you manage those downs that can impact on your entire well being.

Being stuck in a rut is one of those more chronic moments in your life that can feel hopeless. Without being proactive, you may find yourself burying your head in the sand. Your life may not be that bad, you might have a good wage, a house, a brood and a flourishing social life, but for some reason, you can still feel stuck. It is this sensation of feeling unfulfilled, unchallenged and simply plodding along that can see individuals entering into periods of depression and anxiety. Couple with this the emergence of social media, and all of a sudden everyone you know seemingly has better lives. They go on swanky holidays, take perfectly filtered selfies and enjoy the most gastronomic delights. But this isn’t real. It is simply how people wish to project themselves to the world.

Stuck in a rut? Take a proactive approach

If you do find yourself stuck in a rut, whether this is emotionally, socially or professionally, there are ways that you can combat this. First of all, you must take a proactive approach.

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If you have been doing the same role for the past decade or more and can do your job pretty much without even thinking about it, the chances are that you simply aren’t stimulated enough. Sure, the job is easy, you get home by five and the wage isn’t too bad but are you really fulfilled? You could choose to stay in your current position and spend forty hours a week feeling worthless. Or you can make a change and do something about it. Wallowing will never see an opportunity fall into your lap; you have to go and search for it.

Consider enhancing your resume ready to make job applications. Take a look at the types of role you are interested in and spot your skills gaps. If you need to undertake some training, go for it, even if it means forking out some of your own hard earned cash. This shows determination and drive. If you are in a middle management position and wish to seek a promotion, consider undertaking an MBA. If you are specifically involved in engineering why not specialize with an online computer engineering program. If you aren’t based in a blue chip corporation at all, you could look into improving your soft skills such as team work, public speaking or financial management.

When you are eventually ready to take the plunge into a job search, you should take a nuanced approach. Always create a bespoke personal statement for every role you apply for. Address a named person, do some research on the company you want to work for, and explain clearly what you can bring to the table. Show off your communication skills within your letter of application, don’t waffle and be direct. Company bosses see dozens of job applications every week so it’s vital that you can make yours stand out from the crowd.

You never know, you may be able to secure a position within the company you already work for. Simply by asking the right questions, you can open up new professional doors and work in a more challenging and fulfilling role.

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If you are feeling practically stuck, then consider taking a break from it all. Whether you have two weeks, two months, or two years, you can plan a trip that could take you off the beaten track. Rather than following the hordes of tourists to a generic Balearic, take a jaunt to Asia, the Far East or South America to get your wanderlust kicks. A change really is as good as a rest. With any luck, you can be immersing yourself in new cultures, sampling new cuisine and meeting new people. To be able to pack a bag and travel to anywhere in the world is empowering. Plan effectively, get your paperwork in order and ensure that you have met all visa requirements. If you have the funds, traveling to see the Northern Lights, to marvel at the Grand Canyon or to trek the Inca Trail can be mood enhancing in the extreme.

Going it alone is a good option if you really want to get away from it all. While the thought of traveling across the world on your own may be a daunting, plenty of travelers do it and thrive so the chances are you won’t be any different. Plan your itinerary, book your flights and accommodation and consider learning the language of the destination to which you are traveling. Learning even the basics will enhance your travel experience ten fold. Rather than being treated like a tourist, you will be able to converse with the people you meet on a more meaningful level. The level of respect you show by learning the language will be reciprocated.

Sometimes your life needs a major shake up to really break you free from a rut. Traveling is the ideal way to accomplish this. You will meet new friends who you will bond with for life. As a traveler, you will learn about the destinations you visit as well as yourself. Your confidence will grow, your self esteem will increase, and you can return home refreshed, reinvigorated and with your mojo in tact.

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Doing something different can help that sensation of feeling stuck in a rut. If your working week seems monotonous and you follow the same routine every day, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. You need to break the boredom and do something different. Start small and go out one or two nights a week to change your pattern during the week. You might want to head for dinner with friends, and socialize more. You could take a weekly trip to the cinema, catch a movie and dinner. Seeing different faces and having more conversations can lighten your mood.

An alternative is to take up a new hobby. Consider what it is that you’ve been wanting to try for as long as you can remember. You might have a hankering for a spot of rock climbing, you might want to have a go at kayak canoeing, or maybe you want to learn the piano. Whatever it is you want to do, book yourself an introductory session. Only you can make that happen. Don’t be fearful of not liking the experience. You might have the time of your life, or you might wish to embark on a different hobby after testing the waters. Developing a have a go attitude is important to ensure that you can remove yourself from the rut that you feel you are in.

Don’t stop at one or two new hobbies and explore as many ways to utilize your free time as you can. You will inevitably extend your social circle and make new friends along the way.


Alongside feeling stuck in a rut may come a secondary effect of feeling low. Mild bouts of depression don’t usually require medication from a professional, but it can sometimes be good to talk through your problems and feelings. A problem shared really is a problem halved. Coupled with depression and low mood is a lack of care with regards to diet, exercise and sleep. It’s vital that to remain healthy, you should be eating a nutritionally balanced diet. Try to eat an array of fruit and vegetables every day. Enjoy experimenting with whole grains, coupling lean meats with green leafy vegetables and enjoying nuts and dried fruit for snacks rather than chocolate and candy.

While exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are stuck in a rut, you don’t have to be heading to the gym every day. Get outdoors and go for a walk or a gentle cycle ride. Natural light is a nature’s mood lifter and will release dopamine into the bloodstream. This can help you sleep better and maintain a better bedtime routine.

If you are struggling to sleep, you must try and rectify this straight away. Chronic insomnia can be hugely debilitating. Banish smartphones and tablets for at least two hours before you hit the sack. Take a long hot bath and enjoy reading a book to help you feel sleepy. With any luck, this new routine will help establish a healthier sleeping pattern.

Feeling stuck in a rut doesn’t have to be a perpetual sensation. It’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand and wait for a mythical opportunity to come knocking. This simply won’t happen. It is up to you to break free from the shackles of feeling hopeless. Follow this guide and implement some of the strategies explored so you can feel rejuvenated, more confident and empowered to move forward with your life.

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