Out of a Rut

Ever been in a rut? 

Regardless of the reasons behind them, ruts can be demoralizing and they almost always crush productivity. 

What exactly is a rut?

For me, it’s those times when life just isn’t right; when life feels out of control, out of sync and I can’t figure out why. There’s a general disconnect I can’t quite put my finger on. 

Various factors can lead to falling into a rut but sometimes it’s about getting caught up in unfavorable circumstances or bad habits. We come to accept negative circumstances and emotions as normal. But once we become aware, we can choose to take control. 

There are a few things I have found highly effective in staying consistently rut-free.

Refuse to accept defeat — Once you suspect that you may be heading downward, refuse to accept negativity as normal. Reject anything that feeds self-pity or laziness. Refuse to believe you are helpless. Take the bull by the horns and say, “I don’t think so!”

Fill your mind with usefulness — Rather than coddling negative emotions, I fill my mind with activities that cater to sanity and wellness. I read books on my specific interests. I go for a walk. There’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing you did something proactive, small as it may be, to take control of your life. 

Get healthy — Being proactive about your health can do wonders for state of mind. For me, staying healthy means staying well-hydrated, green smoothies, walking, and getting enough sleep. Unhealthful habits breed negativity; healthful habits breed life and vitality. 

Stay busy and connected —  Get out of the house. Call a friend. Work on a creative or manual project. Cook something. There is much healing power and spiritual value in even small amounts of manual labor. Idleness breeds self-pity, drama and bitterness, all of which kill the spirit and eventually destroy the body. Reject them. Keep yourself occupied.

Avoid drama —Mind your own business, don’t gossip, don’t respond to every provocation or engage in petty back and forth. Do as the prophet Nehemiah did when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Five times his enemies tried to distract him, but he refused to engage. “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’…” (Nehemiah 6 ). In today’s language he might have said, “Ain’t no one got time for that!” Drama? You ain’t got time for that either.

Manage your time — Be deliberate in how you manage your time. When we allow outside influences to dictate how we spend our time, we perpetuate our rut because more often than not those influences are not positive ones.

Declutter your space (and heart) — The physical stuff we hold on to can wrap itself around our heart and weigh it down. Decluttering your life of the old and worn lays out the red carpet for the new and amazing; new people, new purpose, new opportunities. Toss old furniture, ratty clothes and anything that takes up space without paying rent. 

Wrapping it all up… 

Be proactive! Choose to approach life from a purposeful mindset. You have the power to choose what you feed your mind and body and what you occupy yourself with. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we do have a choice not to allow ourselves to be dragged down by anything or anyone. 

Cynthia is a writer from Southern California who currently resides in Utah. She was a journalist for 10 years, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and visited Brazil twice. She has a passion for wellness and creative ministry. Her life dream is to be a published author.

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