What can I do for myself to get out of a rut?
I have been having similar chats with friends of mine who crave some changes in their lives, but haven’t got a clear idea what is the change that they need the most.
It’s okay not to know. It’s often easier to see what it is that we don’t want in our lives, and this can be a good starting point. In order to access your deeper needs and wants, you need time and relaxation. The best ideas always come when you are in the shower for a reason: your nervous system is not activated and you are not in a fight or flight mode. You can access play and creativity, so new ideas come.
The other thing that I often hear is people think that they shouldn’t be feeling the way they are feeling. They think, “I should just be grateful for the life I have, I am really lucky actually, why can’t I see that? Why can’t I be happy for what I have?”
Kicking yourself while you are down and having some difficulties is NOT helpful. You are not only pushing away the uncomfortable emotions that can lead you to a solution, but you are also pushing away the compassionate part of yourself that can help you soothe your nervous system so you can come up with those ideas.
Here are some tips that can help you get out of a rut:
Check if you have been looking after your health recently. Have you been nourishing yourself with good food, movement, and good quality sleep? Do you have a community around you? Do you have a sense of belonging? If not, try rectifying these things before making any life-changing decisions, like moving to a different country.
Let the sadness, grief, and upset just be there without trying to fix it. All your emotions are valid, so approach them with curiosity, not judgment. What are these feelings trying to tell you? What can you learn from them? Think of your emotions as these wise Yoda-like creatures who are just trying to guide you…
Practice self-compassion. If YOU haven’t got your back who has? What is your inner voice like? Is it very critical? Can you take some steps towards becoming more compassionate towards yourself? A good starting point is to imagine what you would say to a child who came to you with the emotions you are experiencing. How would you talk to them?
Relax. Remember how you feel when in the shower. Instead of focusing on “fixing” that unwanted emotion, focus on relaxing your body. What can you do for yourself to make you feel more at ease? Have a bath, connect with a close friend and ask them if they have the time and space to chat with you, watch a funny movie, do an online movement class that helps you move with the flow (e.g. ecstatic dance), connect to nature or get some hugs in (from humans or pets).
Getting the basics right for your health, self-compassion and a relaxed nervous system is a great way to start your journey towards a more fulfilling life. And you never know, those answers that you are looking for may come to you when you least expect them.
If you’re seeking some help incorporating those basics into your life, our Cultivating Emotional Wellbeing course is a great place to begin. We offer practical tools that will help you embody the best version of yourself. Have some questions? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to support you on your own wellbeing journey.