Lately, I have been receiving more and more comments on my website about what to do when one is in a rut. I thought about it and wondered if I have ever been in a rut. What is a rut? Defined on my Apple dictionary, a rut is a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change. So the answer for me was no, because I have to be productive every day. Training celebrity clients, creating new recipes, filming in celebrities' kitchens for my Sunday Set-Up™ program, teaching step classes, being a mom to three boys, writing for The Huffington Post, worrying and taking care of my aging parents, taking my vitamins... Wait a minute!
I know I am productive and not one day goes by that is dull, however, I have to admit at times it feels robotic, as if I am on a treadmill and can't get off.
Take a workout, for example. We start something with lots of enthusiasm and hope. We have boundless energy and excitement to do it. We love it, and it feels great. Then week after week of doing the same thing over and over again, the newness starts to wear off and we get bored. Enter the rut.
The pattern is pretty recognizable in just about everything. How you eat, what you eat and where you eat. What you wear, what you do on Saturday night, what you watch on TV or who you hang out with. Relationships are a prime example of where ruts can start, from how you communicate, to expressing your emotions and to the simplest act saying hello. Do you still greet your mate like you did when you first met? Falling into a rut is a habit you create by doing the same thing repetitiously. Not to say that there are some things that we do over and over again that won't change, like brushing your teeth or bathing. It is not just the act of what we are doing, it is how we are doing it, what we are getting out of it and how it's making us feel.
Back to the treadmill. For a while I have been just going through the motions. Not feeling anything, yet getting everything done. Going to sleep on a Monday night and suddenly it is Friday. Or, the best one yet is finally get upstairs to get ready for bed just to take off my clothes and throw them in the same pile that I picked them up from. Then I grab the flannels and T-shirt that are in their own little pile just where I left them 12 hours ago. Day in and day out...
Of course there are reasons for some ruts, such as going through menopause, the economy, divorce, death, jobs, illness, depression or other issues that can get you a ticket to go and visit
What to do, what to do. I have always been one to change things up and try something new! I suggest trying a new hairstyle, or adding a new accessory or piece of clothing to your wardrobe that's different from your usual style, or just move your furniture around. My kids aren't joking when they tell their friends they are not sure what the house will look like when they come home from school. Change can be as simple as planting new plants or putting something on your wall that inspires you. Read a new book or start a hobby! Little changes like this can make you feel fresh and get you moving again. You get back from your effort, and for me it is energy.
Getting stuck is a common enough feeling that many of us can relate to. The first step of getting out of a rut is acknowledging that you are, in fact, in one. Try identifying what the cause of the problem is. If it's a relationship issue and you feel like the relationship isn't going well, attempt to figure out what the problem is. So start with something simple. When you leave or arrive home, greet those around you. Say hello, give a hug or kiss your spouse on the lips. If you live alone greet your pets or your plants. Greetings are very important, as they are the gateway to communication.
Has your get-up-and-go gone up and went? It's impossible to have or maintain any motivation when you're tired, and we all seem to have sleep deprivation which is now a chronic problem. You can get an energy boost and clear your mind with a power nap. Sleeping for only 10 to 20 minutes can refresh and energize you for the rest of the day. For years, I trained many celebrities in one day. Driving from home to home, working out. I relished the times that I got to one of my clients early so I could recline my car seat and catch a quick snooze. It really works.
Sometimes we just need an incentive, creativity, inspiration, imagination to get us up and shake things up. Make the extra effort that will break you out of that rut. If you made a list, what would be the first thing you want to do? Take the afternoon off and get a massage. Rearrange your closet. Take a friend and drive to a near by city and visit a museum. Take a long soak in a bath. Start a collection or learn a new craft. Take a class or start a club. Take a walk. Go to church or volunteer. Laugh... a lot!
Also, moderating what you eat is important to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Certain foods really affect your mood swings. Too much processed food, salt, sugar and alcohol can wreak havoc on your body and how you feel. Eating healthier foods will give you more energy and keep you balanced.
We all fall into a rut now and then, losing our motivation and grinding to a stop. But we don't have to stay there. Figure out why you're feeling disenchanted, and then try one or more of the techniques above to get energized again.
Try small steps to regain your health back and make it fun while doing so.
As my treadmill starts to slow down, I realize that the age-old sayings that I heard my grandparents say are true. Take them to heart, I am reminding myself to do the same.
- Make each day like your last.
- Everyday is a new day.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Life is short.
- Don't sweat the small stuff.
- Laugh every day.
For more by Kathy Kaehler, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.