There’s no denying a little routine in life is a good thing. Routine gets the bills paid, the kids to school on time and dinner on the table every night. Too much though and things can start to feel like week- old bread – stale and decidedly unpalatable. When everything from the daily commute to meals you cook, to your clothes, make-up and the way you wear your hair is boring and predictable, it can make you stop and wonder what the heck is going on. When and how did everything in your life turn this same dull shade of grey? If this sounds like a page from your playbook, you may be in what’s known as a Big Old Rut.
Think about it
When did you last make a new friend, really speak your mind or do something wonderfully spontaneous? Don’t know? Oops! Sometimes we lose sight of the need for a little surprise. Injecting just a touch (or a lot!) of that ‘thrill of the new’ into your life can lift your spirits and bump you out of that rut.
Identify your rut
Not all ruts are created equal. Some require major overhauls, while others can be fixed quickly with a lick of paint. How can you tell which is which? Deep down, you probably know.
Sometimes a rut’s nothing more than a sense of boredom or frustration that soon passes. It might be related to your mood (hello, PMS or lousy cold), the weather, a trying project at work or another temporary situation.
Get out of the groove
Other ruts can be harder to shift: a relationship that’s lost its zing, a job that’s crushing your spirit, a sense of dissatisfaction with life in general. Yep, it’ll take more than a new hairstyle to make things right, but ignoring the situation won’t work either.
Life is short and precious, and an unhappy rut is no place in which to spend it. Bust out now!
16 easy rut busters
1. Never tried Ethiopian, Sudanese or Turkish food? Well, you should! In Australia, we’re blessed with so many different cuisines. There’s probably at least half a dozen unique restaurants right near you worth sampling.
2. Take a different route to work, school, the gym, a friend’s house, anywhere. It’s amazing what you can see in unfamiliar surroundings.
3. Do you love your hair? Great! If you don’t, a different cut or colour can make you feel like a new woman. Don’t like it? It grows back!
4. Change your lipstick. If you’ve been wearing the same colour since 1986, a different shade will be noticed and a heartfelt compliment can actually go a long way towards changing your mood.
5. Mix up your make-up. Do you always follow the same routine? Be brave and experiment! Check out tutorials on YouTube, or visit a beauty counter for a mini makeover.
6. Skip work once in a while. Meet your girlfriends for lunch or a spa date. Or see your fella for a bit of afternoon delight.
7. For a surprise treat (on a school night!) take the kids to the movies in their PJs. If you’re game, wear your PJs too.
8. Start planning your summer holidays. Having something to look forward to always helps.
9. Sick of your wardrobe? Go clothes shopping and try on styles and colours you’d normally ignore. Maybe you can rock that orange frock with cowgirl boots!
10. Try saying no instead of yes sometimes, or vice versa. See where it takes you!
11. Invite a colleague, neighbour or acquaintance you don’t know very well to coffee.
12. Listen to new music or read a book outside your regular genre. You might discover a lust for vampire fiction!
13. Nurture your passions, whatever they may be. Doing what you love feeds the soul and gives meaning to life, leaving little room for feeling stuck in a rut for too long.
14. Whether it’s your partner, a family member or friend, have those hard conversations. Work out solutions together. No result? Move on to Plan B.
15. Think you deserve more recognition, a bigger pay packet or both at work? Speak up. Think you’ll go crazy if you stay there another day? Again, move on to Plan B.
16. If you just can’t pinpoint why you’re feeling ‘blah’, a visit to the doc is a good idea to rule out or identify any underlying medical or mental health issues.
Ruts involving relationships and jobs may be harder to change – but remember, you deserve to be happy. Envision what you want and imagine yourself there. Having a plan will help you better communicate your wants and needs.