STUCK IN A RUT? TIPS + TRICKS
When was the last time you found yourself in a rut, an emotional downward spiral, or a period of your life where you felt uninspired or just plain unhappy?
Whether it’s caused by a breakup, difficult times with friends, losing a job, struggles at school, or just straight up being unhappy, these seasons of life are something we all go through, and often times they’re the most difficult to talk about. We’re embarrassed, confused, frustrated, and don’t exactly know how to voice our feelings or explain what exactly it is we’re going through.
For the majority of my life, I’ve gone through the motions of doing everything I thought I was supposed to be doing. I graduated high school, went to university, and immediately started working in the corporate world. I moved up at each job I went to and always felt like I had great relationships with my coworkers and bosses.
In the summer of last year, I started a new job that I was really excited about. I thought this would be an opportunity for me to be happy at the same company for a while, and couldn’t wait to see the potential of where the new role could take me.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
A week before my probation period ended, I was let go from my position. The worst part about it, long story short, was that I was given no explanation why. I had never felt this kind of rejection in my career, and I was angry, confused, and hurt. I was in a complete state of shock and all I could think was, “Did that really just happen?” and “What did I do wrong?”
Of course, that night I drowned my emotions in carbs, wine, and scotch. However, a big part of me thought “I’m not going to let this get me down!” and I immediately tried to push my emotions aside and get to work on what I was going to do next. I maintained this mentality for about a week before I completely broke down. I was emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, and to be completely honest, I was just sad.
While I did try to stay busy and positive, I had a hard time pulling myself out of this rut. I woke up every day feeling lost, emotional, and discouraged. My self- esteem had taken a serious kick to the gut, and I struggled to build it back up. My boyfriend and I ended up going on a vacation, the holidays came and went, and then we arrived in the New Year. During this time I really thought about my life, what I wanted out of it, and what I should do next to try and get myself feeling motivated again.
Here are some of the steps I went through in order to get through this difficult time in my life; and while I feel like I’ve made significant progress, it’s still something I’m learning how to navigate on the daily. Regardless of what the situation you’re in is, from losing a job to going through something difficult with a friend, these steps can hopefully help you clear your mind and get you back onto the right track.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
In my experience when you’re going through a hard time it’s always easiest to turn and blame yourself.
Why did I let this happen?
What could I have done better?
The list goes on and on. The reality of the situation is a lot of the time the things we’re going through we have little or no control over. Allow yourself this time to reflect on the situation you’re going through without tearing yourself down immediately.
I get it, this can be easier said than done, but reminding yourself of the qualities you love about yourself daily, the things and people in your life that you’re grateful for, and setting goals is a great place to start! I keep a journal that I write in every morning to mind dump all of my crazy thoughts, write down goals, and things I’m grateful for.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Right when I let go from my job I immediately felt an extreme amount of embarrassment. I didn’t want to tell my friends or family, I started to dread going to family dinners because I was worried someone would ask about my job, I’d sometimes just start crying (and tbh still do) if a friend asked how interviewing was going. I wanted everyone to think I was doing fine and didn’t need any support.
This is still something I’m struggling with three months later. It’s okay to ask for help from your loved ones, but it’s also okay to set boundaries.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or insecure and need to talk to a friend or family member, try to remember that you aren’t inconveniencing them with your feelings. They’re there to help and support you. If you aren’t ready to confide in someone in your personal life, seek out the help of a therapist or trained professional. Talking to someone about how you’re feeling is a great first step in trying to move forward.
Or if you simply just do not want to talk about it anymore, TELL. PEOPLE. THAT. This is something I also struggled with because I didn’t want my friends or family to think I was ungrateful that they were concerned for me and cared. But, I got to a point where this was hurting me more then helping and I needed to set that boundary.
Don’t ignore your feelings, but don’t let them take over
Allow yourself to take a breath and actually process how you’re feeling. Rushing onto the next boyfriend, girlfriend, job, friend, whatever it may be without actually going through the motions of how your feeling, in my opinion, is setting yourself up to potentially fail.
Once you’ve taken a little bit of time (and by a little bit of time I mean a week or less) to binge watch Housewives and eat cheesy carbs, it’s time to get back out there. Some ideas could be to start making to-do lists every Sunday night to keep yourself busy, write down companies or businesses you’d be interested in working with, make a list of things in your life that you want to change, join a new gym, sign up for a class that will enhance your career or brand, rearrange your living room furniture, organize a GNO (girls night out), or, do it all!
Not every day is going to be perfect while you’re going through this; but focusing on the things that make you feel happy, productive, and motivated is a start! Remind yourself daily what a kick-ass person you are, and it will help you move in the right direction out of your rut.
We all go through these periods of feeling stuck. Remember, you aren’t alone, and you have the power and ability to change the course of your life. I hope these tips and tricks can help you the way they’ve helped me!