Stuck in a Rut Syndrome
Do you feel that everyday is the same as the one before and the one before that?
Do you know how your day will turn out before you’ve even got out of bed?
If so you may be suffering from stuck in a rut syndrome.
Even morning when Sara’s alarm goes off whe pushes the snooze button – repeatedly. Not because she needs another 30 minutes of pillow time, but because she simply has no interest in getting up and facing another day at work. By the time she manages to force herself out of bed, she’s already wondering, ’what’s the point?’. A new day holds nothing exciting for Sara. Every day is the same old routine. Boring. Repetitive. Predictable.
If you’re feeling the same way, you – like Sara – might be suffering from SIAR. Here are some common symptoms.
- When asked what you are doing you don’t even have to think twice, your days have pretty much been the same for a while.
- You don’t feel as excited as you used to about doing the things you do
- You feel tired, bored and unenthusiastic most of the time
- You do the same things over and over, but expect different results.
If you’ve identified with at least three of the above, it’s time for a change! There are advantages to being stuck in a rut. You enjoy your comfort zone, it’s effortless, your expectations reman the same and there’s very littlc chance of making mistakes. Yet if you look at the disadvantage of the SIAR syndrome, you’ll begin to see why it’s important to combat it. Being stuck in a rut makes life boring and predictable. The new and exciting things in life pass you by because you’ve been following the same routine for years, and this leaves you wondering where your life has gone. You’ll look back with regret one day because you’ve let opportunities pass you by. And while it’s true that change can be scary, it’s also infinitely rewarding. Once you take that step, you’ll be a new, happier you. You can break down your potential process of change into two components, mental and physical.
Changing your mindset is the hardest step.
Meiron Lees, author of D-Stress – Building Resilience in Challenging Times, Seven Simple Techniques, says “The way we think usually detemines the way we feel.” Therefore, you need to transform your thoughts. When you’re stuck in a rut you tend to recycle your thoughts – and you end up thinking, acting and feeling the same way. In his book, Lees talks about “thought attacks”, which consist of negative thoughts entering the mind and making you feel uninspired or stressed out. So how do you prevent the same thoughts from entering your head again and again? When you’re faced with a problem like the SIAR syndrome, you could think, “I can’t believe this is my existence. My life’s so boring – nothing new every happens to me.” These futile thoughts will only entrench stress and negativity in your life. What you should be thinking is, “I have the here and now, I’m grateful for all the good and beautiful things in my life and I won’t waste another moment being negative, or stuck in a routine that makes me unhappy.”
Write down if you have to. This is an important step because it’s the first of many procedures you’ll need to follow to get yourself out of the rut that you’ve made a foundation of your daily life. If you want your life to change, sitting around waiting for it to happen is the worst thing you can do. Stop waiting for your life to miraculously change – start living. As cliched as it may sound, you have to make the most of every moment and be proactive. Make it happen for yourself. The most successful people are usually those who go out and get what they want. “The mind is a powerful tool,” explains Lees. “Whatever your focus is will expand and manifest into your life. If you put all your energy into being in a rut, it will simply get deeper and deeper. Transfer your energy and thoughts into something more positive. It’s never too late to start living the life you want,” he says. You just have to take the first step. Before you know it, your attitude will change – and you can become (and achieve) everything you ever dreamed of. One of the questions Lees asks is, “Do you spend a lot of time thinking about and regretting the past?” Everyone makes mistakes. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of and that have rebounded badly on ourselves and others. This is part of being human. But if you let these mistakes and bed judgment calls consume you, all you’re doing is letting the past become your present – and disabling yourself from moving forward. By the same token, it’s important not to become obsessed about the future. Instead, aim to live in the here and now. Make the present as rewarding as possible. That way, you’ll have far fewer regrets in years to come.
Life coach Catherine Glennie, believes regrets can be stumbling blocks to us becoming successful, content and empowered, simply because they anchor us in the past, imprisoning a portion of our life’s energies. To feel alive and to be on the move towards achieving your dreams, you need ’all of you’ to be present. So how do you achieve this?
- make a list of your regrets
- select a day / date for dealing with them – preferably as soon as possible
- identify the regret that upsets you most
- when the designated day arrives choose a person you trust and open up to him her completely. Talk it all out of your system. There’ll probably be tears, so be prepared. Let the tears wash away the regret and cleanse you inside. The worst things you can do is hold back feelings or tears: this will just keep those regrets in your life and stifle you once again. Once you’ve cried your heart out, it’s time to let go – and forgive yourself. To help this process, you may need affirmation. Tell yourself, “Even though I messed up, I forgive myself for this and all my mistakes. I forgive my past and everyone in it. I deeply love and accept myself.” If you need to face certain people and apologise to them for having wronged them, and they’re still contactable, do so. Know that whatever their reaction – whether they accept your apology or not – you’ve done all you could humanly (and sincerely) do to redress the past. Now it’s time to move on. If you ever feel the regret trying to sneak in again, shrug your shoulders and remind yourself that you’ve let it go. A healed regret may knock on your door, but that doesn’t mean you have to answer it. What about fear of the future? Accept it! The future will come, whether you like it or not. This only becomes a problem if you try to stop moving forward. The world won’t stop, but it’s when you do, that you end up being stuck in a rut. Glennie says fear has a function, it keeps you safe. But when you allow it to take over inappropriately, it immobilises you. You can overcome this by keeping your vision for your life clear in your heart and mind.
“Look at things from a different perspective” says Lees. It’s the best say to get yourself into a fresh new way of thinking. When your life begins to feel boring, it’s a reflection of your inner thought processes. If these are changed, your attitude will change too. Everything will seem brand new if you look at it from a different angle. Now that you’re changing the way you think, begin to change the things you do.
Changing even one, seemingly tiny aspect of your life is still a good way to initiate a bigger transformation. It can be something as small as your hair colour, or something a bit bigger, like where you go and what you do on Saturday nights. Glennie says on of the best ways to combat the SIAR symdrome is to take on a new project. There may be something you’ve always wanted to do, but have put off. It’s better to choose an activity that involves other people, like starting a book club or a community project. And let’s fact it one of the the greatest joys in the world is being able to help others. Not only will you be moving forward in a positive way, but you’ll have the satisfaction of making a difference to others too. By choosing a group activity, you’ll meet new people and be exposed to new ideas. “I completely changed by life by joining Toastmasters many years ago,” says Glennie. “Not only did I learn new skills, but I also won an award for my first talk. A whole new world of possibilities dawned on me and introduced me to a new career path – professional speaking.” Finally, don’t take life too seriously. Even in the worst situations, there’s always space for some humour. Try to see the funny side of situations that aren’t ideal.
Retaining a sense of perspective also helps minimise fears, it’s important to learn the difference between a real calamity and a minor crisis. After all, there are always plenty of people who are fare worse off than you are. Look around you and you’ll see how much you still have to be grateful for. You could also introduce some adventure to your life. Recently, I tried Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour, which is an exploratory sliding journey through nature that runs above some of the most splendid rivers and waterways our country [South Africa] has to offer. It was fun and exciting and it gave me a great sense of rejuvenation. Adenture is always an adrenaline booster and this Jungle Book experience could be a great way for your to overcome your rut.
So go on – hook yourself onto your cable look down into the wonderful scenery below – and jump! Make the most of every opportunity for a different perspective.
An American essayist, philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, observed, “to finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours – that is wisdom.”