By Orion Talmay
Anyone can find themselves in a mental rut. 21st-century living is demanding. Trying to balance a healthy work/social lifestyle, the pressure of keeping up relationships, and the constant buzz of notifications from all angles can take its toll on a person. It’s not uncommon to feel trapped in your own life with no escape.
What is a mental rut?
A mental rut occurs when you’re feeling lost, lonely, and stuck in a cycle you don’t enjoy where the days blur together. You feel stuck in an emotional hole, unable to climb out of it and continue leading a happy, fulfilling life. A mental rut can be signs of deeper mental health issues or the need to simply switch up your daily routine.
Changing the way you think and pursue life can help overcome a mental rut. Here are four tips to help you find a new outlook and enjoy inner peace:
1. Consult an expert
When struggling with a mental rut, it’s vital to know there is expert help out there.
You don’t have to suffer alone. If your mental rut is bringing on depression and anxious thoughts, it may be worth looking into private and public therapy options.
One-to-one sessions and those as part of a group can help you open up and confront your feelings in a comfortable setting. Exposing the walls of your mental rut to others can make them seem much easier to climb over.
Although not the same as therapy, you can pursue the help of a life coach to realize your inner strengths, notice bad habits, and establish a self-improvement plan. Life coaches specialize in helping you take constructive and consistent action to achieve what you want in life.
Even if you don’t consult an expert, just sharing details of your mental rut with a loved one can be relieving and reassuring. They may have experienced similar issues and can offer advice that helps put your concerns in perspective. Sometimes the best solution to a rut that seems impossible to escape is to ask someone to help you tackle it head-on.
2. Experiment creatively
Next time you feel yourself sinking into a mental rut, step back and ask yourself: “When did I last do something creative?”
Much in the same way that exercise and sport can significantly impact our mental wellbeing, investing time and effort into creative expression can offer a similar release.
Also, creativity in the way of painting, sketching, music or writing offers you the opportunity to express yourself, which can open you up to an entirely new world. You can meet new people, explore unconventional ideas, and expose yourself to forms of creativity you never imagined before. These new ideas and situations can not only get you out of a rut, but also reduce the chance of finding yourself in one again.
3. Set attainable goals and redefine success
Sometimes failure, or perceived failure, can be what starts a mental rut. To escape these struggles, it can help to re-think how you view success and attain it in your life.
We all have goals in life. We want to graduate top of the class. We want that promotion. We want to fall in love and start a family. The problem with goals is that even if you realize them, it might not look like what you envisioned. It can be difficult to look back on periods of your life that you’re less happy with, and may have thus lead to your rut, and realize there were successes there. But we succeed in our lives every day. Pushing ourselves to check that email inbox when it feels overwhelming is just as much of a victory as becoming a manager at work.
Think about what you want to achieve in life, what you’ve already succeeded in, and what will make you feel like you’re out of this rut. Take these dreams and distill them into realistic goals you can complete every day. Don’t think of life as a big pond where you need to leap from one side to the other, but rather as one full of little stepping stones that help guide a path across.
4. Take stock of your achievements
Much in the same way, you need to be reasonable with yourself about what you’re aiming to achieve, take a step back, and look at what you’ve already accomplished in life.
If failures are putting you into what you consider a rut, take the time to note down and reflect on what you achieved to get to that point – your qualifications, moving up the career ladder, building strong relationships. All of these things are personal successes we should embrace and celebrate in life. Without reflecting on what we’ve already done, we’ll never be able to build a realistic perception of what we can achieve.
Mental ruts don’t and won’t last forever. It’s important not to look at experiencing one as a fault, but a challenge in your life. You can overcome either by yourself or with the help of others. Follow these tips and a route out of your rut will start to become obvious.
Orion Talmay is a wellness expert and love coach. Through her integrative approach, Orion’s Method, she helps women awaken their inner goddess and nurture their feminine confidence. Orion is a graduate of Tony Robbins’ Mastery University and holds certifications with the AAPT, KBA, and AFFA.