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Oh, the rut.
Just thinking about “the rut times” puts a knot in my stomach.
But I know it’s something we can all relate to at various points in our lives. The rut sneaks up on us sometimes. Everything is going well and then we hit a stretch in life where we just feel stuck.
Stuck in the 9-5 grind, stuck in doubt, stuck in sadness we can’t explain, stuck in the past, stuck in resentment, stuck in a rut!
I believe everyone experiences the rut at some point.
But here’s what breaks my heart.
Some people stay stuck in the rut. Oh, no my friend reading this.
Life is meant for more and I’m going to toss all the words of encouragement and best advice I can think of to send your way to get out of the rut!
Live in the present.
Let all of the would’a, should’a, could’a’s stay where they belong… in the past.
Two people immediately come to my mind when I think of people who can’t let go of their past in very different ways.
One had a fairytale childhood and is very disappointed that being an adult comes with responsibilities and setbacks. The other is so full of rage about her crappy childhood that she can’t enjoy the beautiful life she has now. And those two individuals are sad and depressed all the dang time.
Amazing to me how life is slipping by these two people who have so much to offer in the present. I can relate much more closely to the less than ideal childhood, but I do not dwell and I do not let those circumstances define my present.
Life is happening now. Let’s not miss it.
Enjoy your present. Enjoy living a beautiful, messy ride with twists and turns along the way. Just enjoy living!
Get your nails done.
So, maybe I’m talking more to the ladies here but let me tell you about a friend with beautiful nails.
This friend is in a rapidly changing time of life. When one kid is about to leave the home and another is not far behind. When job demands are high, when their current home might not be the best fit anymore, and the budget is stretched. That’s a lot to process and could easily set her up for getting stuck in a rut.
This friend does one something for herself that brings her joy. And she says that when high levels of stress come her way, she just likes to forget about it and enjoy that her nails are done and they look great. This always makes my heart smile.
What can you do for yourself when you’re feeling stuck in a rut? Do you get lost in a good movie? Go watch one. Does a new book set a spark of ideas and enthusiasm in your mind? Read! Does music speak to your soul? Then by all means listen!
Just get your nails done!
Nothing can put us in a rut faster than comparing our lives to what we think they should look like based on how we think others live theirs.
Often, social media takes the blame. But I think we give social media too much credit. I imagine that years ago, before there was Facebook or Pinterest, or Instagram, that one neighbor invited others over to come see a newest gadget called a mechanical sweeper. Enter the feeling of resentment when the other neighbors had to take their carpet outside and shake it or whatever they did back them. Comparison steals joy!
If we’re never content with what we have, we’ll never be content. Period. Stuff is just stuff. In fact, more stuff is often a culprit in the rut because it’s bought on credit or doesn’t give us the happiness we thought it would.
Instead, look at what you do have. Replace resentment with gratitude. Gratitude is the enemy of the rut.
Embrace the small moments.
I have this pillow that has the saying embroidered, “Enjoy the little things because one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.”
I’m not going to realize it by looking back… I’m going to realize it now!!!
It’s been raining here for days upon days, weeks upon weeks. Yesterday there was a break in the rain and the sun peeked out. It was chilly but my family of three grabbed a blanket and headed out to the front porch swing. We snuggled under it while taking in some fresh air and sunshine. A small, perfect moment to enjoy.
Slow down and recognize the small moments in the midst of the grind.
Enjoy a good cup of coffee, a beautiful sky, go for a walk, sit on the front porch and just take in those moments as the little but big gifts that they are.
Help can come in the form of a therapist or trusted friend, but sometimes we just need to get it out. Sometimes we just need someone to listen. If you confide in a friend, make sure it’s someone who you know can help you take positive steps forward.
Seeking help is seeking to break free. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and, instead, it’s taking action to improve your situation. It’s saying “no more” to feeling stuck.
Consider a pet.
My dog has a strange friendship with the neighbor’s donkey. Donkey eats grass, my dog eats grass. My dog picks up a stick, donkey picks up a stick. Can I tell you that even if I were in a rut, I would forget about it upon pulling in my driveway and seeing these two?
Then there’s the cat. I don’t like cats. My husband does not like cats. But do not feel sorry for the cat.
The cat speaks human pretty loud and clear. He tells us what he wants, when he wants it and lets us pretend that we are in charge. I get random texts from my mother (see below) that the d*** cat is attacking her (fun game for him to watch her jump) and neither me nor my husband will admit that we are highly entertained and amused by all of this.
There is a reason that pets are being used in all kinds of therapy situations. They put a smile on your face. They know when you’re in a rut and they will pull out all the best tricks to get you out of it. Pets are friends who are always happy to share your company!
Focus your energy on those things that feed your soul.
Painting, writing, crafting, cooking… what’s that thing you’re doing when you’re disappointed to realize you have to take a break?
It truly makes me happy to organize under my sink and for someone else that might make them physically ill! Others may find joy in creating a gourmet meal from scratch whereas the thought of that makes me want to run, hide and just find a Chick fil A!
My mother feeds her soul by digging in the dirt and turning whatever she touches into a beautiful plant, tree or random flower and thankfully my yard holds some of her works of art!
Thank goodness we all have different passions and pursuits. This world would not be nearly as exciting if it were only full of those of us who like to make labels (no offense, my label making friends) or crochet thingies. Instead, all of our different interests and passions are what makes our world an exciting place!
Friend, get out of the rut. There’s so much more waiting on us when we live fully, freely and enjoy the ride!