Not being able to point out what’s making us feel not-quite-right can be a daunting emotion, leaving us thinking that maybe something’s wrong. Florence Keck explores ways in which we can tackle feeling like we are stuck in a rut.
Being stuck in a rut is one of the most frustrating feelings, one that myself and most others I know are familiar with. Coming to university in particular can be a time in which this feeling thrives. In the wild stories that we heard about university and its never-ending excitement, we can be left confused and a little low when we find ourselves stuck in a routine.
As a self-acclaimed rut expert, I thought it may be useful to share how I deal with these emotions.
Learning to identify your feelings and write them down can lead you to find the source of your worries
I am a wholehearted advocate of the powers of journalling. Admittedly, I initially found the concept a little cringey. Scribbling down my feelings in a notebook felt infantile, something I’d be embarrassed for anyone to find out that I did. But after swallowing my pride, I came to realise it’s an abundantly powerful source of motivation.
Learning to identify your feelings and write them down can lead you to find the source of your worries, or even the source of the things that make you happiest. Knowing the source then helps to either cut out the things making you feel low, or focus on the things that make you happy.
Being able to visually see what’s in your mind is such an important skill that I think everyone should have, no matter how useless you think it might be at first. Learning to understand your mind is a great starting point to escaping a rut.
It’s not a race to take the world by storm, it’s okay to let yourself not be okay for a while
Celebrate the small wins
One of the hardest parts of a rut is that critical self-talk is a common symptom. You may tell yourself that you’re not doing enough, or that you’re not strong enough to get out of this feeling.
We too often forget to treat ourselves the way we would a friend, with compassion and care. If you feel burnt out, or your body is telling you it needs rest, listen to it. Ignoring your intuition when it comes to self-care will only prolong this feeling you have, so it’s vital to slow down, and start afresh.
If all you did was shower and tidy your room a little, that’s okay. It’s not a race to take the world by storm, it’s okay to let yourself not be okay for a while.
Cutting out social media
As much as social media claims to connect us all together, it’s safe to say that it can make us feel more alone than ever. Stories, posts and reels of hundreds of ‘friends’ doing spectacular things all the time can make us feel as though our lives are dull and stuck in a rut, when we are simply experiencing life in all its mundanity.
As someone who struggles cutting back, even knowing the downsides, I know how I feel after spending hours staring at someone else’s life presented as a highlight reel. This downside can be hard to remember against the glossy screen, which is why it’s so important to manage our usage of these beautifully dangerous apps.
Instead of scrolling for an hour, I now try to call family, or plan to try a new restaurant with a friend. Any alternative to social media is most likely going to make you feel better (within the confines of the law, of course – no murder/arson).
Life doesn’t have to be thrills every day, so don’t panic if you have an off week, or maybe even an off month
Switching up your routine even just a little can be a great starting point to getting out of a rut. But also, life can simply just be monotonous sometimes. That’s okay, too. Life doesn’t have to be thrills every day, so don’t panic if you have an off week, or maybe even an off month. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong – it just means you’re human.
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