BY: JILL PHILLIPS
There comes a time in the life of nearly every human being when you start to wonder where (or even if) your life is going. You’re stuck in a rut and things seem meaningless – just the same old daily grind; your job and even your relationships become mundane.
You may look in the mirror and wonder just who you are and how you have become this person. You’re in a rut and feel hopeless. But take heart – ruts need not be permanent. Here are some things you can do to set your life in motion again.
Re-evaluate Your Relationships
While you shouldn’t chuck a long-standing relationship just because you want something new, sometimes people outgrow each other. Sometimes a relationship can become downright toxic – or maybe it always was and you just didn’t recognize it.
Family relationships fit into this dynamic as well. If Great-Aunt Minnie is a negative, fault-finding and demanding person, the fact that she’s a blood-relative doesn’t mean she can expect you to stick around in the face of such behaviour.
What to do? Gradually start decreasing the time you spend with those who are emotionally draining or just plain blah. Don’t be rude, but don’t be readily available. Foster relationships with the positive folks who treat you with respect and support you regardless of your lifestyle choices. You’d be surprised how liberating this can be.
Consider a New Job
The first is to simply find another job, any job. The second is to look for a job in the same field, but one that is a little different. For example, if you’re a nurse who has always worked in a hospital – consider home care or an outpatient surgery centre.
You might change fields entirely – move from the law to writing (both require the ability to conduct research and present facts in ways that inform and persuade other people). This takes courage, but it will always be worth your while as long as you persevere.
Even if you don’t know what you want, there are many things you can do that don’t involve the stereotypical 9 to 5 work. Just explore your options and take the leap.
Change Your Routine
What if the job is good and the relationships are working, but you still feel something’s missing? On some level, you are fed up with your life, and you might even consider going off grid entirely. However, if that’s too radical for you, there are some little things you can do to change your routine and jazz up your life.
For example, you can change your regular walking route – and while you are strolling, look for new restaurants, ethnic markets, or places to buy a new book. Explore your city; there are surely a lot of gems you are unaware of.
If exercise is a serious part of your life, maybe you’d like to consider making it competitive – weight-lifting, body-building, or a triathlon, for example. Try redecorating your house or apartment; you can DIY pretty inexpensively and may acquire a new skill such as sewing in the process.
Do anything, be persistent and see what happens.
Learn New Things
Whatever your interest is, remember that it’s NEVER too late to pursue education and learn new things. So don’t be afraid to commit to lifelong learning – you can do it for little or no money with numerous (online) resources out there.
Learning will give new meaning to your life (both the process and the end result), boost your confidence, and enrich you as a person. Exercising your brain is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a rut. In the process, you can gain new skills and meet new people. You might even wind up with a lifetime hobby, a new job or an entirely different career. So, what are you waiting for?
Go out and explore the world – allow yourself to see new places, meet new cultures, and make new friends. You can travel without blowing your budget. Perhaps you have a farm-girl cousin who wants to experience big-city life, while you want to spend some time in a quiet country setting. Swap for a week and see how the other half lives. Look for discounted fares in the off season. Although this may not be the ideal vacationing season, you’ll also find it to be less crowded.
Although you can always hit the road for real, you can also do a fair amount of exploring the world without ever leaving home. Have you seen all the local attractions? If not, make plans to see them. If yours is a multi-ethnic community, check out things like Chinese New Year celebrations, the local Italian community’s bocce ball tournament, or a Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
In any case, a trip is one of the best ways to get you out of a rut, so start moving. Traveling widens your horizons and gives you invaluable experiences.
Cultivate Courage and Optimism
All of these get-yourself-out-of-a-rut strategies have something in common: they require courage. Of course, having courage is usually easier said than done, and it’s often that first little change that is the hardest. Remember the old saying about a journey of a thousand miles – it begins with a single step. Rev up your courage and your life by taking that first step.
Have faith in yourself and practice positive self-talk. Embrace happiness and take inspiration from quotes, books, movies, and other people. Stay optimistic and never give up! Cultivating the right mindset can help you get out of that rut and give you a whole new outlook on life.
Change is not always easy, but it can have a tremendous impact on your life and who you are as a person. Make changes in your relationships, job, or routines. Learn something new and travel. Take some steps to change your life. Trust us – odds are high you’ll be glad you did.