In the crazy times we're living in it's easier than ever to find yourself stuck in a rut. Maybe you're lazing around more than usual? Eating rubbish? Not motivated to do anything?
You might even be in a situation where you've become miserable, stressed out, anxious or you're even starting to think there might be something wrong with you.
Rest assured, all of this is completely normal. Even when you're not being told to stay home because of a global pandemic.
It would be awesome if life was amazing every day and you never felt bored, tired, miserable or in a rut. The thing is, life has a wonderful habit of throwing up challenges that make that almost impossible. So expect to find yourself in a rut sometimes.
What can you do if you're in a rut?
The most important thing for you to do is realise that you're in a rut, and then accept that you're not stuck. Once you've done this, it's all about making changes.
Know that being in a rut is another form of having habits that aren't helpful. These habits might be to do with either your thoughts or your actions. And they tend to happen gradually.
It's unlikely you simply decided to feel how you feel right now. To be miserable. To stop being active. To choose to eat junk food more every day.
It probably started by having one day where you had a late night or slept in. Then maybe the next day you repeated it. And by the third day you couldn't be bothered to go and exercise. And by the end of the week you were ordering your third takeaway in four days.
This means that you're now out of the habit of sleeping well, you're in the habit of eating junk food and you no longer have the right balance of exercise, nutrients and rest to make the positive judgements and decisions you usually would.
And this means you're prone to feeling down. And if you can't go get your hair or nails done, have a shopping spree or a night out with friends because of the lockdown then you're probably feeling even worse!
So now you know this. You know that it's normal and you know it happened because of a few little things that crept into your routine.
The great thing about this is that as quickly as you found yourself in a rut, you can start to reverse it! Step-by-step. Day-by-day. And before the end of the week you'll have some new habits.
How do I create a new habit so quickly?
Easy! Start doing something positive. And repeat daily. Seriously, it's that easy!
Let me explain...
Take your sleep pattern as an example.
If you're not sleeping right (going to bed late, sleeping in, not having enough sleep etc.). When you're tired your body doesn't work properly. And your decision making is pretty shoddy. So if your sleeping pattern is rubbish adjusting it will make a huge difference in all of your other habits.
Maybe the quickest fix for you is to go to bed one hour earlier. Even if you don't sleep straight away, the extra hour of rest will make it easier to wake earlier in the morning. It might take a couple of tries and after a few days you'll find you're ready to sleep earlier and your resting better through the night.
Or what about exercising more?
This is probably the easiest thing to change if you're in a rut and inactive. Try these things.
Every time you need the loo just stop at the door, do 2 squats then carry on. By the end of the day you'll have probably done around 10 squats. Do it again tomorrow. And the day after. This isn't extensive exercise but if you weren't doing this level of activity yesterday, you're already winning!
Or maybe you could set a timer on your phone for 1 hour. Each time it alerts you go for a walk up the stairs and back down. Then reset the time. Repeat.
These small acts will get your body being more active than you were. And the more you do the more you'll be able to do. And the more active you are the more tired you'll be at the end of the day. So you'll be able to go to sleep earlier.
And what about eating better?
If you don't want to eat junk food and your house is full of it, or you have quick access to online takeaway ordering then fine, just reduce the amount.
If you're cooking a meal, fill your plate with colourful veg. Or snack on fruit between meals so that you're less likely to eat a chocolate bar. Instead of a pile of chips on your plate cook half as many.
Are you a fan of crisps? Or cake? Don't stop eating them if you can't. Just eat less.
Whatever your approach to changing your diet, try it step-by-step. Start by making small changes to each meal/snack and repeat it every day. Whatever you do, try to avoid making a wholesale change because this will make it much more difficult to stick to.
And what if a rut for you is your mindset/inner voice?
This affects so many people, especially those who live alone or have a negative self-view. And it can feel soul destroying when you hit the lows. So here are a few things to consider.
First - if you need someone to talk to, ever, drop me a message - if you're reading this you're either on my website (my details are on their) or you've come through Facebook (you can message me on there). You never need to feel like there's no-one to talk to, because I'm here.
Secondly and most importantly tell others how you feel. Your partner, parents, friends or if you don't feel comfortable doing that and are in need of immediate mental health support, reach out to people like the Samaritans, Mind and other charities who exist to help people in need of support for mental health crisis.
If your mental rut is not a crisis and you just need to feel a little more mentally active, stimulated or you want to change your internal voice, take a look at some of the free learning resources I have available. Or join the Free Coaching Group (here) to get access to tons of helpful bits and pieces to help you master your own mindset.
You might even benefit from reading a book, watching a though provoking film, documentary or you-tube show. These kind of things get your brain firing, get the ideas flowing and you'd be surprised at how much better you can feel if your brain has been engaged by something more than scrolling through social media or doing chores.
And again, repeat it. The more you do it the more your new positive mental approach becomes a habit.
You've probably realised that all of these things can affect the other. Just imagine how quickly you were out of your rut if you tried one thing to focus on your sleep, your activity levels, your diet and your mind each day! You'd be in a much better place in as little as a few days. And it will have taken you just minutes each day to make the change!
Okay, so what now?
I can promise you that small steps every day will create new habits. And if you focus on creating positive habits you will get out of your rut.
I can also promise you that if you need more focused support I'll gladly help (just drop me a message) and I can assure you that everyone finds themselves in a rut.
The rest depends on whether you're prepared to try. Nothing happens without you taking the first step out of your rut. So ask yourself if you really want to spend the next few weeks, months or years in your rut. Or do you want to get out of it today?
I'm guessing that if you've read this far you want results now. And you're ready to work at it today. The things I've mentioned might just be that first step you need. And if you something more specific, let me know.
It's your life. Live it your way and be the reason you succeed.