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14 Simple Things To Do When You’re Feeling Stuck In a Rut

Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Need some practical tips to feel better? Use these simple tips to feel better and get out of your rut.

This past month has been a rough one.

And really, I have absolutely no reason for feeling this way.

When I look at my life and all the things I have going for me, it seems ungrateful for me to ever feel like my life “isn’t enough,” but between a sudden breakout, not feeling inspired in my work, and just generally feeling like my body has been working against me, I haven’t felt like myself lately.

But here’s the deal: everyone feels this way at one point or another.

Even the most #blessed people go through low points. Unless you happen to be the Dalai Lama and you’ve got the whole gratitude thing down like a true pro, you’re going to feel like this at certain points throughout your life. It’s normal.

If you’re also going through a period in your life where you’re just not feeling like the best version of yourself, here are 14 things you can do to help move you forward and get you out of your rut.

Trust me, it might feel all doom and gloom now, but eventually, if you work at it, you’ll come out on the other side using some of these tips:

1. Accept your rut

It’s okay to feel not so great.

Let me repeat that: it’s okay to feel not so great. 

In a world where people are always talking about gratitude and shoving positivity in your face like it’s the freaking cure to all life’s problems, you’re allowed to feel poorly.

Yup, I’m going against the grain, but I truly believe ignoring your negative feelings is just a bandaid cure that won’t do you any favours.

The faster you stop beating yourself up for feeling poorly, the quicker you’ll be able to move on.

Remember: it’s a normal part of life to feel a little blah and you’re allowed to feel that way.

2. Do something small to feel better

Now, as much as I think accepting your rut is great, I also know that sitting on the couch for the next month feeling badly is NOT the way to go.

Accept that you’re not feeling your best, but also recognize that to start feeling better, you have to actively make changes to get there.

These don’t have to be grand, elaborate actions.

You don’t have to tackle all your life goals in one shot to feel better.

You just have to do something to get there.

Maybe it’s something as simple as going for a walk to get your coffee in the morning rather than sitting on the couch.

Perhaps it’s treating yourself to a freshly baked cookie at your favorite bakery rather than staying indoors and reaching for that bag of chips.

Get out there and make the small changes to help yourself. Each time that you do, it’ll build momentum and you’ll be more inclined to make bigger changes as you go.

3. Focus on nutrition

how to feel better

You know how I just mentioned that freshly baked cookie?

Well, as much as we all love giving ourselves those little treats, it’s also HUGELY important to nourish yourself with foods that are going to make you feel good.

Stuffing yourself with pizza and cookies might sound good in the moment, but it has a bigger impact on you than you know.

I’ve been reading a lot about gut health and our gut microbiome lately, and never have I been more aware of the fact that each time I eat, I feed my gut with the nutrition it needs to thrive.

I’m not going to go into how the gut microbiome plays a role in your mood, but just know that eating healthy is about more than just your weight. It also impacts your mood, your energy, and your brain function. If you’re interested, I highly recommend reading this article on how the gut microbiome impacts your mood.

You can also check out these quick and easy dinner recipes, and these healthy lunch ideas, if you’re looking to make some healthy changes in your life.

4. Get off social media

I’m not going to linger here because this is something that we all know we should do when we’re feeling down.

Social media notoriously feeds into negative emotion. It makes us feel “less than,” and it has an awful habit of occupying our time in a non-productive way.

Delete Instagram off your phone. Don’t even let yourself be tempted by the app. It’s easy enough to download back onto your phone when you’re feeling like you’re in a better spot mentally.

5. Listen to a positive podcast

Tread lightly here because sometimes I find listening to something overtly positive can actually have the opposite effect on me.

It makes me feel guilty for feeling poorly, and these kinds of podcasts can have a tendency to make me feel like I have to do all these cheesy “self-love” actions in order to feel better.

I added this tip in because this podcast from Deliciously Ella, in particular, has a good track for making me feel better.

You don’t have to listen to the episodes on plant based nutrition if that’s not your thing, but these episodes are so easy to listen to and they’ve always managed to add a little pep in my step when I listened. Give it a try!

Episode: Happiness As A Choice

Episode: How Our Brains Control Our Happiness

Episode: Lessons in Happiness From Around The World 

Episode: Cultivating Happiness and Living With A Glass Half Full 

6. Do something with friends

stuck in a rut

Whenever I start to feel poorly, there’s often a correlation between how poorly I feel and how long it has been since I’ve been around my friends.

As I’ve gotten older, I see my friends less and less, and largely this just has to do with everyone being busier. Between jobs, relationships, vacations, and moving away, this is to be expected.

However, there’s also a laziness component to it (yup, I’ll admit that).

It can be hard to coordinate things. Sometimes it’s easier to sit on the couch and watch reruns of Gilmore Girls rather than trying to figure out a time and place to go out for dinner (sad, but true).

If you find yourself doing this, too, recognize it, and do your best to override it, because, trust me, the more active you are in trying to be around other people whose company you enjoy, the better you’re going to feel. No ifs, ands, or buts.

7. Make the best of negative situations

I hate myself for even saying that because it sounds so generic, so let me tell you a quick story to illustrate my point….

Last Friday, I really wanted to get out of the house and do something fun. I bought a new skirt, curled my hair, and actually put on makeup. For somebody who works from home, this always feel like a big deal, but after texting some friends, I quickly realized my night out wasn’t going to happen…

I sat on the couch probably for a solid 20 minutes, scrolling through Instagram, feeling badly for myself until I came to the conclusion that I at least needed to get out of the house for a little. I decided to walk over to a cafe and grab a treat. I figured a night to myself, watching a movie, and having a treat wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

And guess what? In the act of doing this, I actually ran into a friend who was going to meet up with other friends, which lead me to one of my favorite patios in the city, which lead to a whole night of wine, food, and friends.

I ended up having the night I originally intended simply because I made the choice to turn a negative situation into something positive.

I know things don’t always work out this way, but this little situation reminded me that more often than not, embracing the positive leads to things working out.

8. Switch up your routine

make the best of negative situations

If you often find yourself having the same morning/day/night over and over again, switch things up.

Maybe your night typically consists of watching the same show on Netflix. Or maybe you’re consistently feeling bored by your daytime routine.

Whatever the case, when you’re in a rut, try switching up your routine.

For me, a couple weeks ago, this meant walking over to the drugstore, grabbing a magazine, picking up some dark chocolate and herbal tea, and watching The Notebook, rather than simply settling into the couch and binging the same show.

I didn’t end up doing anything elaborate, but just that little deviation of going out and getting myself something little and having some time to myself definitely made me feel better.

9. Establish some routine

On the other hand, while sometimes breaking routine is what we need, sometimes establishing routine is just as good.

I find I crave routine when life is a little chaotic, but I need to break routine when things are feeling mundane.

Decide where you are, and either establish some routine, or switch things up. Either way, I find both are necessary.

10. Write it out

writing to feel better

I get it: not everyone is a writer.

For me, writing things out has always been therapeutic. It helps me make sense of my thoughts, and get to the root of things that are bothering me.

Having said that, if you’re not a writer, I still think something as small as writing out to do lists and making small notes can really help in getting you out of a rut.

You can even just make notes and lists on your phone if pen and paper isn’t really your jam.

Personally, I’ve really been into doing my reflection in my bullet journal. It’s less rigid this way, and I simply make notes about how I’m feeling when I’m inclined to do so (i.e. if I had a bad day I might simply write something like, “wasn’t feeling great today; here’s why; here’s what I should do differently next week”). It’s more bullet point note taking this way, but I find myself much more able to stick with this rather than writing long journal entries everyday.

11. Do something productive

When you’re in a rut, doing something productive might sound like the last thing you want to do, but oftentimes, I find it’s the thing that’s going to help make me feel my best.

Be realistic here, though. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to run a marathon tomorrow, because, well, that’s probably not going to happen.

Simply acknowledge something small that you’ve been meaning to do, and then JUST DO IT.

Perhaps it’s something as simple as changing a lightbulb that’s burnt out. Or maybe it’s trying out a recipe you’ve been meaning to make?

Just pick one thing that’s been on your to do list, and then just do it. That small act of accomplishing something always manages to make me feel better, and move me forward out of my rut.

RELATED: How To Manage Self Doubt When Pursuing A Dream

12. Do some yoga

Again, I know not everyone is into yoga, and I know some of you might read this and think yoga is only for a certain kind of person, but honestly, I think we could all use a little more yoga in our lives.

You don’t have to do an elaborate practice, and you don’t have to be experienced with yoga in order to get some of the uplifting benefits.

Try something really small. Personally, I can’t say enough good things about Yoga With Adriene.

Her videos are so approachable for all different types of people, and even if you’re not into the idea of yoga, there’s no denying her videos are soothing and comforting.

If you’re stuck in a rut, try this video:

13. Get dolled up

feeling blue

Whenever I’m in a little rut, there’s often a sense of not feeling my best physically.

And, while I know a lot of people will say we shouldn’t focus on the physical, well, I just don’t think that’s very realistic.

If I don’t look my best, I don’t feel my best. That’s just the honest truth.

And so, when I find myself in this situation, often, the best thing I can do is get dolled up.

Actually do my hair beyond the standard top knot. Wear one of my favorite dresses that always makes me feel good. And, oh yes, you better believe I’m putting on some makeup.

Sometimes this can backfire, because, depending on my mood, there’s always the possibility that no amount of primping is going to make me feel good, but sometimes, when I get my outfit just right, getting dolled up has the power to shift me right out of my bad mood.

14. Don’t expect miracles//be patient

And lastly, I think it’s important to end by saying, as much as it’s important to accept your rut, it’a also just as important to accept that it might take some time to get out of your rut.

It’s not as if you’re going to do one of the things mentioned above and then just suddenly feel like a whole new person.

Try to make the best out of your negative situations, try to make small changes, and try your best to move forward.

Eventually, if you keep doing these things, your rut will end, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be back on a high.

The highs and lows of life are normal, and the faster we all accept that, I think the better will all start to feel.

Anyone with me on this?

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feeling stuck

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