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How to Get Out of a Rut When You Feel Mentally Defeated

Most people at some point feel stuck in a rut, whether that involves their relationship, sex life, career, or just life in general.

Maybe you’re there right now.

You feel like you’re pressing on the gas as hard as you can, but no matter what you do, you’re just stuck. You can’t seem to get the silly car out of the ditch.

You’re doing the same routines and activities but not feeling like you’re going anywhere. The things that excited you before don’t excite you as of late. Everything is kind of “blah” and uninteresting. If anything, you can feel your frustration growing with every passing day.

So, how can you get out of a rut? In this article, we’re going to outline the steps you need to take to get motivated, excited, and moving forward once again.

What Does it Mean to Be “in a Rut”?

You might not really pay much attention to it at first. You assume it’s just a phase. It will pass, the usual.

But then, as life continues, you begin to feel more and more stagnant. Sure, you’re doing things. Yet, you don’t feel like they are moving you forward. And you kind of feel like you’re merely passing the time.

Yup, you’re in a rut. Welcome to the club.

Other signs of feeling in a rut? Let’s get more specific:

  • Each day is the same. Same routine. Same environment. Same people. Same. Same. Same. And the days are beginning to blur into one. What day is it again?
  • You’re all about getting through the day. You don’t have any particular goals. It’s just about getting to the end of the day, and that’s it.
  • You’ve lost your passion. You used to be so full of life and so ready for an opportunity. But everything has taken on a dull glow. Maybe you want to break out of this comfort zone, but you don’t know how to.
  • You lack motivation. Again, you don’t know how to motivate yourself, and you don’t even feel like it.
  • You have begun to fear change. Newness would be nice, yet at the same time, it terrifies you. You don’t love the idea of taking risks right now - not even a little bit.

Now, before you move on down the path of getting out of a rut and strategies for getting out of a rut, I want to touch on this real quick.

Some of these signs can indicate something more serious is at play, such as depression. If you feel you may be depressed, I encourage you to talk to your doctor or seek therapy.

We all need help once and a while, and there’s no shame here!

How to Get Out of a Rut

business woman sitting at her desk in frustration

1. Digitally Disconnect

If you’re feeling disconnected from yourself or reality, it’s time to create some space. Try a digital detox, or simply using your social media and technology less.

Social media is made to draw you in. It’s designed to be enticing.

And if it’s the first thing, you’re turning to in the morning and the last thing you see at night, it’s time to cut that out. I’m not just saying this for you, but myself too. I’m 100% guilty of spending far too much time in the digital world and less and less in reality.

The truth is, we could all use a reality check now and again. Social media can lead down slippery slopes of comparison and serious time-wasting.

If you think you really can’t do without, delete the app or all of them. This is a sure-fire, no-excuses way to get out of the cycle and quit reaching for your phone every two minutes. Alternatively, you can also download an app that will set time barriers on how much you use certain apps, such as Offtime.

Make sure to read: 10 Quick Tips to Unplug From the Digital World

2. Try Something New

Alright, you’ve been thinking about it. You just can’t bring yourself to do it. Well, let’s take baby steps. There’s no need to go and blow hundreds of dollars on a new hobby.

How about just simply trying an online course you’ve been eyeing for a while?

Sure, it’s new, but maybe not that new that it causes you to run away in fear. Plus, you often don’t have to do it all at once. If you want to improve your mental health and anxiety, take a CBT course on Udemy. Do a few minutes or a half-hour at a time.

Want to learn to draw sketches well? Again, Udemy has likely got it. There is so much you can choose from, and it’s all right at your fingertips.

3. Set Boundaries & Limits

The first step here is to know what your limits are. Get honest with yourself. It’s okay to feel all the feelings. In fact, sometimes this is a good thing!

So, if everything is not fine, don’t pretend it’s not.

Write out how you feel. Sift through those complex emotions and begin to understand them. This is the first step toward feeling better and perhaps mustering up some motivation to get out of a rut.

You can also check out: How to Create Healthy Boundaries With Love Instead of Fear

4. Strive For Progress, Not Perfection

Perfect doesn’t exist, plain and simple.

The sooner we accept this, the better. It’s not about not having flaws or being the perfect person all the time. Instead, life is more about small improvements and progressions each day or over a set amount of time.

For example, so you’re in a sexual rut when it comes to your relationship. It happens. The initial spark fizzles. But focusing on it and creating heightened awareness over the absence of it doesn’t necessarily help. Nor does trying to have the best sex of your life.

Instead, take baby steps. Try new things with your partner or talk it out, without emotions or perfection getting in the way. Keep it simple. Go for progress over the top prize.

5. Gain a New Perspective

Easier than it sounds, right?

But not impossible!

Go for a stroll in a new area of your neighborhood. Read a new blog or book. Focus on small stuff over the big stuff. Do you catch my drift?

Something that can be really useful here is practicing gratitude. This can help you narrow in on the small things that bring you joy instead of always looking at the bigger picture and panicking.

Lastly, break-through your routine. Adopt a new one. This can flip your perspective and help you dig yourself out of that rut you find yourself stuck in.

Ruts Aren’t Forever

Everything is temporary. This is one of my favorite go-to sayings.

When I’m sad, I remind myself of it, so I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When I’m happy, it forces me to really appreciate the present moment and the people or things in it. Everything passes with time.

And so will this rut!

Related article: The Negative Attitude Detox - Change Your Perspective in 10 Days

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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