What to do when you’re stuck in a rut | OPINION

It was last week that I smacked my alarm, rolled out of bed and turned the shower on. I thought, didn’t I already do this yesterday?!

It wasn’t my personal hygiene I was exasperated by – it felt like my life had switched over to autopilot.

Hour after hour during the day I was mentally checking off things that have been a part of my daily routine for the past 18 months.

Everything I touched seemed so mundane, so boring.

At that moment, my idea of excitement was wearing my hair in a ponytail or having something fun for lunch.

I just wanted to slip out the back door and book myself a one-way plane ticket to the Maldives.

I was in a rut. Admittedly, going to the Maldives was a little over the top and not exactly within my budget.

So, here are some cheaper suggestions for un-rutting yourself:

  • Talk it out: My sister is my go-to when I’m feeling meh. And she costs less than therapy. Unravelling the reasons you’re in a rut to someone else as a sounding board can give you clarity and you actually might un-rut yourself by the end of the phone call.
  • Self-care: Any excuse to book a massage is a good excuse to me! But it really doesn’t have to be pricey and you don’t even have to leave the house – have you tried meditating? You may have to deal with the odd mental tantrum or two, but quietening those thoughts does get better with practice.
  • Write about it: I still keep a diary. There are many deep (and sometimes dark) personal thoughts that feel much better out than in. Although the thought of someone reading it is slightly terrifying, make sure you have a good hiding spot.  
  • Move your body: Exercise is good, I’m sure there’s been a study on it- something about endorphins.
  • Also, have you tried yoga? I dare you to TRY and not feel OK after doing the downward dog for a few minutes.
  • Rest your body: I get really guilty if I lounge around all day but sometimes your physical ailments are secret whispers from your body to lay on your couch and don’t get up until your hungry.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people: There’s an old saying which I’ll vaguely recount for you – you can’t get better at tennis if you’re only playing against people who also suck. If you play with people who are better than you, you’ll get better. Hang out with people who have goals and ambitions because their motivation will rub off on you. And then, before you know it, you’re off to Wimbledon!   
  • Go and book some time off. It’s nice to look forward to a holiday, but also taking time off for no damn reason at all is good too. Free yourself from your alarm clock, your deadlines and the need to wear pants every day. Go on, step away and hit reset. (Note: I’m currently writing this on annual leave)

Ruts suck, but we all experience a humdrum period or two. Indeed, slipping into autopilot happens to the best of us.

But by doing something – literally any of the above suggestions – you’ll slowly start kissing that rut goodbye.

However, if you do feel the need to do something really crazy, go and book that trip to the Maldives (and can I please come with you?)

Riley-Rose Harper can be heard on Hit 104.9 from 6-9am on weekdays.