Being in a rut can mean a lot of things, but it is most commonly defined as “to not have changed what you do or how you do it for a very long time so that it is not interesting any longer” (“BE IN A RUT | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary”). Being in a rut can sometimes allow you to slip into a depression, where you may feel like you are stuck in the same spot for a period of time. When you are living in a rut, you may feel unfulfilled and unmotivated. While in a rut, it can be difficult to see it for what it is – a temporary setback. It may be challenging to see anything outside of the monotony and depression that you’re experiencing, and it may feel as if it will continue on indefinitely. I have had a lot of experience with that feeling and I know how isolating and damaging it can be. However, contrary to what you might think, there are a lot of ways to get out of a rut and move forward stronger.
When trying to get out of a rut, it’s most important to acknowledge and appreciate progress, even if it’s small. Taking a lot of small steps rather than trying to make larger, immediate changes can be more productive long term when trying to bring yourself out of a rut. Taking care of yourself is a critical component to getting out of a rut – even the small things like drinking water, getting enough sleep, eating three nutritious meals a day, doing some form of exercise, and spending some time with your friends can be small forms of progress worth celebrating! It can seem daunting to try and fix everything at once, so you may want to split it up and focus on one thing at a time.
Another important change you can implement to combat a rut is making time for things that make you happy. Reallocating your time to allow more room for your passions or hobbies can be helpful. If you don’t have any hobbies, it can be fun and exciting to try picking up some new ones! A few hobbies you can try include writing, reading, crocheting, cycling, yoga, cooking, dance, or jewelry making. Find some new music or podcasts to accompany you, and schedule some events or hangouts to look forward to. Anything that adds something new to your life can be helpful and remind you that this rut is only temporary. Furthermore, spending time outside can help as well. Whether it’s taking a nature walk and appreciating your surroundings or just taking your work out to your porch, being outdoors has been proven to decrease some feelings of depression.
Another thing to try to help you get out of a rut is practicing daily gratitude. Every day, practice writing down everything you’re grateful for. Try to think of a variety of things, both concrete and abstract. You can write down anything from your friends and family to your favorite food or a nice bath. Taking your mind off of the negatives and focusing on the positives can be difficult during times of depression, but daily gratitude forces you to do just that. I have been doing this for the past year and can attest to the positive effects of it.
Regardless of whether you feel your improvement or not, know that you are always moving forward. No rut is permanent, and even if you don’t feel it or know what it is yet, you matter and your life always has meaning.
“BE IN A RUT | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary.” Cambridge Dictionary, 10 May 2023, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/be-in-a-rut. Accessed 12 May 2023.