Stuck in a Rut? Try these 10 Quick Tips to Dig Yourself Out!

Stuck in a Rut? Try these 10 Quick Tips to Dig Yourself Out!

Stuck in a rut? Try these 10 quick tips to dig yourself out!

It’s been a LONG time since I posted anything on Far too long! I could make excuses, but let’s just say life got in the way and I was unsure what to post next. I was stuck in a rut! So I brainstormed some ideas to get my mind going. Low and behold, I came up with a post! Now I’m sharing my 10 quick tips to dig yourself out of a rut.

Are you stuck in a rut? Try these 10 quick tips to dig yourself out!

Most of these tips can (and should) be completed solo. The exception is if your activity involves someone else, then it may be helpful to complete together. Each tip is designed to get you thinking in a different manner relatively quickly. However you have been thinking ~or not thinking if you’re procrastinating~ is keeping you stuck! Be open-minded, not self-conscious. Don’t worry about what anyone else would think or say, just focus on one or more of these tips. Please share in the comments what you found useful to get out of your rut!

1. Exercise

Go for a jog, hop on your bike and start pedaling, jump rope, lift some weights, whatever strikes your fancy. Get those endorphins moving and you will feel better. In addition to these 13 awesome benefits, you might come up with some stellar ideas while pushing your physical limits.

Even if you only have 15 minutes, exercising is worth it!


2. Go for a meditative walk

This tip is listed separately from exercising because the intent is different. On your walk, relax and go slowly. Do not rush, you are not in a hurry to get anywhere. This is a time to be mindful of your surroundings – smell the scents of nature, see the pretty views, feel the ground as you walk, taste a snowflake or raindrop on your tongue, listen to the sounds of animals and the wind.

Allow your mind to wander & wonder, it will likely take you to an unexpected place!


3. Read something inspiring (and short)

This blog post, perhaps?!? The reason I suggested a short read is so you don’t spend all your time avoiding the activity you’re stuck on. It’s easy to immerse yourself in an over-abundance of research instead of moving forward on your goal. Is there an article you’ve been wanting to read? A question that’s been at the back of your mind? A poem you used to love?

Allow your reading material to provoke interesting thoughts (and then write them down)!


4. Analyze a piece of artwork

Find a piece of art you haven’t spent time much time contemplating before. This could be a painting on your wall, a photograph in your camera roll, a famous gallery piece, anything. Study the piece, and try to put yourself in the mind of the artist. What was he or she thinking about? What does this piece mean to the artist?

Analyze a painting to get out of a rut
A lovely $3 Goodwill find, this painting hangs in our apartment. After several years I just realized there is a person in the top of the lighthouse!

Expand your empathy, and get yourself thinking from a different perspective!


5. Disconnect from devices

There are countless articles and posts on the hidden and very apparent benefits of unplugging for awhile. The goal here is to minimize distractions. If your phone and laptop are in the other room, it’s a little more difficult to check Facebook when you should be brainstorming instead. For me in particular, I find that it’s nearly impossible for my creativity to flow when I’m sitting at the computer. For nearly all of my writing, I like to brainstorm, outline, and write a first draft in my notebook. When I’ve had a creative session (unplugged), only then will I connect to the online world. I save all my research, spelling checks and resource verifications to do at the end, after the more creative work is complete. 

My blog post planning, away from the internet. Pen and paper are all I need to get a great start.
My blog post planning, away from the internet. Pen and paper are all I need to get a great start.

If you were trying to work on the same problem 20 years ago, what would you do? Stay unplugged until you attempt another solution!


6. Create something, anything really

Pick up your kid’s crayons or watercolors and create your own masterpiece. Grab a Post-it or an index card and just start doodling.  Zentangles are pretty cool and easy to do, especially on a small 3”x3” Post-it. 

Doodling for a few minutes on a 3×3 Post-It can get your creative juices flowing!

Don’t stop to think, just create!


7. Do something you love

First, get a timer ready. Then pick an activity you truly love but don’t always get to do. Your goal is to spend 15-20 minutes recharging yourself. Dance like nobody’s watching, pick up that old guitar and strum some chords, have a cup of coffee in your favorite chair, play with your kids, read that novel you’ve been meaning to get to. Immerse yourself and focus on this one activity you love. Think of nothing else.

Once the timer goes off, smile about what you just did, and go do something else positive!


8. Donate something

By making someone else feel better you can improve your state of mind. Spend 10 minutes gathering unneeded items from around the house and box them up for Goodwill. Have a friend participating in a cancer walk or other fundraiser? Take 5 minutes to send her a check or donate to the cause online. Schedule a blood donation appointment (Red Cross is always looking for donors).

Giving back is so wonderful – you get to help someone else and feel rewarded at the same time!


9. Talk with a loved one, or a stranger

Sometimes when you’re stuck, all you need is a friendly voice to calm you down. Is something on your mind that’s preventing you from making progress on your goal? Even if you don’t get (or want) advice, hearing yourself say something out loud can help you reach a solution. Call up a close friend or relative and say, “I’m stuck on [your topic]. Do you have 5 minutes to talk about it?” Or just chat up the person in front of you at the coffee shop. Afterwards, ask if there’s anything they’d like to talk about for a few minutes. Helping someone else is also very rewarding.

Another set of eyes and ears can provide valuable feedback or help generate ideas!


10. Make a plan, and execute it

It may be most helpful to pair this tip with another one you completed already. Once you have some momentum going, let’s use that to get over the rut. What is a goal you’ve been working toward that was making you feel stuck? Grab a sheet of paper or an index card and write down the goal/problem/issue.

Plan with 3 small steps
List your goal. Then add 3 small steps you can do RIGHT NOW to get closer to achieving your goal.

Next, identify 3 small steps you can take to help you make progress. These are small (easy) steps that you can complete NOW. While you may not fully achieve the goal you will be well on your way. Write down your 3 small steps. Then, execute them.

After you’ve completed your incremental steps, write down what you accomplished and how it made you feel. Congratulations, you are officially un-stuck!


One More Bonus Tip: Catch Your Zzzzz

Although not a quick tip, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of getting enough quality sleep to help you out of a rut. I’m simply not myself (you can ask John about this) without my 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night. There are so many health benefits to getting sufficient sleep. From personal experience I know that my overall demeanor, ability to solve problems, and my creativity are drastically decreased with sleep deprivation. I also lack the energy and motivation to achieve goals, exercise and live a healthy balanced life.

Wondering if it’s better to spend that last hour of the day accomplishing more tasks or turning in for the night?

They don’t call it beauty rest for nothing – sleep makes you beautiful inside and out. Keep the bigger picture in mind here…sufficient sleep is your best bet.

Please share your comments!

Let us know what helped you the last time you were stuck in a rut! What quick tips do you have to share to propel you forward?