How to get out of a rut

Blogposts are finally back yay! Happy New Year 2019 and welcome!

After being sick for almost all of December (moms with toddlers know how challenging it is to fight all the bugs they bring home) and then breaking my ankle after finally being healthy enough to work out, I wanna share some of my tips and tricks on how not to get bogged down by your circumstances and how to get out of a funk or rut as quickly as possible.

Acknowledge what’s happening

Being stuck in a rut usually means you have spent a fair amount of time doing or thinking the same negative and unproductive things, and acting opposite of what would be conducive to reaching your goals. From talking to friends and family this winter, I noticed that many people seem to feel down after the holidays and and well into the first weeks of the New Year. You might either feel overwhelmed by the pressure of starting the year off right or even depressed about not knowing what to do and where to go with your life, scared to waste yet another year. Or you might have broken your foot like me which forces you to stop working out (my passion and outlet) for a good 6-9 weeks and you feel stopped in your tracks. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to go through these lows and realize what they are, after all we need them to appreciate the highs properly and to work towards them. If your low energy keeps lingering, you might have some useful strategies handy to get back on track. Here is what I do:

1. If nothing changes, nothing changes

Do something that is completely out of your comfort zone and do it now. May it be a work out you never tried before (be careful though and wear ankle braces, sigh), signing up for the psychology course you always wanted to take, or finally write that email to take a business opportunity that scares the heck out of you. The simple act of facing an unknown situation, getting your adrenaline going and forcing your brain to rethink your boundaries will give you a real rush in the best case or at least make you forget about your current situation for a while since you have to adjust to something new. It does not really matter what it is that you are doing, the simple act of getting over yourself and conquering that annoying little voice in your head telling you to stay within your limits, will give you a real confidence boost. Get as uncomfortable as you can, and watch what other new feelings and ideas this sensation triggers.

2. Stop thinking

Yes, altogether. Maybe there are people out there who don’t have a thinking problem – I suspect those are the same people that make amazing strikers on the soccer field. They don’t think, run straight towards the goal without any doubt they will score and usually succeed because of it. In the same group are the people that can fall asleep within 3.5 seconds every night, or any given moment for that matter. I am married to someone like that, and it’s the thing I envy most about him. It’s not that he doesn’t worry or is not constantly planning, working and strategizing. It’s that he doesn’t OVER-think decisions or future or past situations, because it is not logical or helpful to do so (!!!). That is always his baffling answer when I question his peace of mind. As for me, I could work 14 hours in a coal mine or have a 3 hour bootcamp workout, take a sleeping pill, listen to crashing waves and meditate before bed – I will still manage to fit in an hour long overthinking session starring every decision I ever made. Speaking for myself, these thoughts are NEVER helpful or even factual. Nothing good comes out of overthinking anything, and I can say that from 3 decades of doing it every night, which means loooot of hours wasting sleep and serenity. What I try to do nowadays is, whenever my mind wants to obsess about me not being (________ insert adjective of choice) enough, I force myself to immediately focus on something positive about me and my life. It takes practice and seems impossible at first but once you get into the habit it almost happens automatically, the brain is really cool like that. Think about it (pun intended): If you would spend all the energy you waste worrying about not succeeding and would instead use it taking steps towards your goals, how much closer would you probably be to reaching them?

3. Find out what moves you

Whenever I get the chance, I listen to or read about people’s success stories, inspiring journeys through struggle and hardships. The most fascinating people to me are the ones who endure pretty much a whole life of working hard before achieving success. Success that must have seemed unreachable after decades of setbacks. I am personally not interested in success alone, never have been, unfortunately I am also not driven by money (if you are, you are more likely to make a lot of it btw) or impressed by it in any way. What interests and moves me is the darkness people have go through to overcome obstacles, I am inspired by resilience and survival instinct. Artists eg. who live out their passions without ever reaching any kind of measurable success and still not straying off their path, fascinate me. However, I know a ton of people who dream about lots of money, and that is their number one driving force. Look for whatever motivates you and moves you, you can usually feel it immediately in your body, you might even get flushed or get feel those warm tingles, to me that is my soul telling me this is where you belong – stay and investigate.

4. Avoid the perfection trap

This one is really straightforward. If you are like me and hold yourself to standards a normal human will not reach in one lifetime, this pressure might paralyze you to the point of you not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Perfectionism is a real bummer and nothing to strive for, if you are an overthinker on top of it. Some people are perfectionists in a really productive and wholesome way, which usually makes them highly successful in whatever field they are in, but for me personally, it’s a concept that holds me back. Having my son helped me tremendously in that regard – I am so busy with him that I usually have to do things extremely fast and efficiently. I wrote this blogpost within 20 minutes while he was building a Lego tower. Nowadays, I just wing things. Winging it is a wonderful way of doing things before you had the chance of dissecting and destroying them (before they even happened), and I am a huge fan.

5. Applaud yourself

If I could travel back in time to tell my younger self that this is where I would be in 10 years, I would make a happy dance and be incredibly thankful and excited for the future. So why is it so hard to be happy and thankful for what you have in the present? So many of the dreams I dreamt and visions I have manifested have come true and my life is better than I could have ever imagined. Is everything perfect? Of course not. It will never be perfect. But it is so important to sometimes stop running, jump out of the hamster wheel and actually look around what you have accomplished and maybe even give yourself a round of applause. For making it this far, for holding on, for improving, for trying, for failing, for getting up.

6. Let it go

This is my very favorite tip and I am just sort of starting to learn about it but it already had a huge impact on my life and outlook. Instead of pressuring yourself and the universe and trying to force something into existence, try to let go of the urgency and let things happen as you are receiving them. It sounds very abstract and I know many people write about it calling it different names, but to me, it represents a certain confidence that the future already looks exactly like I dream it, I just have to believe that I deserve it and let go of any obstacles and restrictions in my head.

Let me know if these tips helped you and what your own methods are to get out of a funk! Most of you probably found their way here through my instagram vanessa_vanita, I also have an inspirational poems account called @poems.for.elliot that is very personal and dear to my heart, and I would love for you to check it out.

Love always,

Sarah Vanessa