{Breaking Out of Your Life Rut – Part 2}

In {Breaking Out of Your Life Rut – Part 1}, I postulated that whether it is a career rut, a workout rut, a creative rut, etc., we all get stuck at one time or another. In those times we need to tweak our routine to break out of the rut. In writing this two part post, I wanted to draw a parallel between ways to break out of a workout rut and ways to break out of a life rut; therefore, I used the former as a model for the latter–breaking out of a “life” rut. The article I used to develop my framework (for part 1 and 2) was How to Break Out of Your Workout Rut in which the author outlined 5 steps that I’ve modified for those ready to bust out of their life rut or it could even be anyone preparing to sit down to make life plans. This is really a high level view of general actions a person can take when examining their life to get unstuck. If the examples don’t resonate for you, I encourage you to read each suggestion and then think of an example of how to apply it to your current situation.

{Breaking Out of Your Life Rut - Part 2}

Things to Do to Break Out of Your Life Rut – Part 2:

Part 1 addressed: 
1.) Warm Up
2.) Trick Your Brain
3.) Go Harder

4. Change Frequency. If you are on a set schedule and seem to be stuck, maneuver things on your calendar to spice it up!

  • Break Up Sessions. For me, I was blogging once a week and now I’m blogging twice a week. If I get in a rut, I’ll change the amount of times I’m blogging per week.
  • Be Flexible. If you normally create a list of things to accomplish at the onset of your day, consider making your list each night sometime before bed as a way to clear the tasks from your mind and feel more prepared for the next day. Chances are, you may look at the list with a fresh perspective the next morning. You may even decide to re-prioritize the tasks. By selecting a different time of day and having a break between writing it and preparing to take action, you may have more gusto because your energy can be focused on accomplishing the tasks as opposed to making sure you record every task that needs accomplished.

5. Cool Down. I have two different approaches here, so this could look like dichotomous thinking but hear me out and see which one works better for you to wind down. The first way {Soak Up the Sun} may mellow you out at the time, but can improve your working memory. The other way {Meditation} may quiet your mind (after intense, though-provoking efforts to shake your life up a bit). However, I believe both could provide the clarity one needs to feel refreshed and ready to tackle life-changing change!

  • Soak Up the Sun. OK, so this one won’t help you cool down physically, but it can help you chill out (say if you’re laying poolside, on the beach or in your backyard sipping lemonade), pump up the positivity and expand your thinking. According to 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science, “Making time to go outside on a nice day [] delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…”.
  • Meditation. The same article states, “Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm”. Changes take place in our brains when we meditate; the overall difference is that our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. {See image below.}
    • Getheadspace is an awesome app to get started with meditation. The mind can be unpredictable, but meditation can help you understand the dynamics of the mind.
Meditation Calms the Brain and Increases Happiness Over Time
Here you can see how the beta waves (shown in bright colors on the left) are dramatically reduced during meditation (on the right).

6. Make Time to Recover. Give yourself permission to relax. Ahh, I love giving myself permission to do things that are good for me, don’t you? To relate this to exercising, “you actually get fitter between workouts—it’s when your body repairs (aka builds) muscle”. Using that comparison, I’d like to draw the conclusion that you actually gain clarity (sometimes) in between life space moments. In the context of a being in a life rut, this increased clarity may strike between life planning or coaching sessions, goal setting meetings, researching personal development courses, etc. With that in mind, let’s look at ways to add R&R to your plan:

  • Try Active Recovery. Do an easy activity (a light review of your project list as opposed to a deep dive into 5- or 10-year plans) on days between intense life activities. This will give you rest while you still nudge the needle on your objectives to get you slightly closer to your end goals. But make sure you are truly allowing for time to recover, for you need your rest in order to “heal” during this sticky time that you’re in a funk.
  • Take a Day or Two Off. You need at least one non-introspective day each week. If you don’t take a break, you’re at a risk for a metaphorical injury because you’re not giving your mind enough time to repair for all the work ahead during the rest of the week. Plus, without the day or two off, you’re mind won’t perform as well on days you’re going all out.
  • Occasionally, Take a Week Off. If life’s been hitting you hard or you’ve been over-achieving five to seven days a week for months, take seven days of downtime. With regards to plateauing in physical fitness, “Plateaus can be a sign that your body is tired and needs extra time to recover,” says Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., a women’s-strength specialist in Los Angeles. I’d argue that the same is true of your mind if you think of it like your muscles: if you keep plateauing when it comes to anteing up, consider that you mind is tired from over-compensating or overworking and it is ready to take several consecutive days off. Taking the necessary time will prepare you to return to the game we call life refreshed and ready to kill it once again.

Hopefully {Breaking out of Your Life Rut – Part 1} and { – Part 2} gave you some ideas you are eager to try out. Please provide your feedback in the comments below to help improve my tips or lend insight into how any of these tips work for you; and if you haven’t taken the poll in {Part 1}, feel free to pop on over to that post and be a part of the polling!

If you would like to work with a coach to help you break out of your life rut, I welcome you to reach out to me to schedule a free consultation to see how I can help you put a plan together to jump over your current life hurdle and be better prepared for the next one to come!

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