Spiritual Fitness

What to do when you’re feeling stuck in a rut

We’ve all been there. It feels like everything is going wrong. Almost like your world is crashing down around you. It feels like you are trying to run a marathon on an oil-covered kitchen floor and you just can’t get your feet steady. Maybe it’s been a bad day, maybe it’s been a bad week, maybe you’re just stuck in a freaking rut and you want to give up. You’re not alone, we’ve all been there, regardless of what your situation is or what circumstances you’re going through – everyone gets stuck for varying lengths of time and for various reasons. So let’s try together to get unstuck.

Here’s what I do to pull myself out of ruts when they come my way…

Action item numero Uno:

I take an honest look at what got me in the situation that I’m in. Not focusing so much on what others did but focusing on my role in the situation. What did I do in this situation and what steps can I do to change where I am. I kick started my bad day by spilling coffee on me this morning because I was rushing. I was rushing because I didn’t wake up on time. I didn’t wake up on time because I stayed up late on Facebook. In the future, I can make sure I adhere to my bed time and get to bed at a reasonable hour so I’m not rushing to get to work.

 You get the point here….

This helps create a roadmap for me when it comes to situations involving others so that I know how to react and how to engage the situation differently.

Acton item number 2:

Put it into perspective: Am I really a failure at life because I screwed up a project or made a mistake? Of course not! If it’s a habit it’s something I need to work on, beating myself up about it isn’t going to help. All that is going to do is make me depressed which will feed into the cycle of negativity.  Seeing the situation for what it really is, is necessary. We often blow a situation out of proportion and into a completely different reality and jump to conclusions even Evel Knievel couldn’t land. “My whole life is filled with bad luck! Of COURSE I would spill this coffee on me. If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all”. Really man? You’re really an idiot because you lost your keys? You’re really a failure because you brought home a bad grade? You’re a disappointment because you didn’t get that promotion?

Take a step back. In the grand scheme of things….how bad is the situation really? With every situation there is a highlight, it could be a really crappy silver lining but it’s there. Look for it. Choose to see it. Acknowledge the situation, but don’t let it define you.

Acton item number 3:

Stop the pity party.

Sometimes our pity parties or “I hate me” sessions can last for hours, days, weeks, etc. Cut it out. If you’re having trouble stopping it and feel like a situation is so overbearing you can’t seem to move past it and it is defining who you are – stop and take a minute to think of all that has gone right. Write it down if you have to. Reframe your thinking. For me, maybe this involves taking 10 to 15 minutes just to meditate and focus on positive energy and positive thoughts. Getting rid of the “You’re such a ditz, you’re a failure”. If it’s too difficult to clear those thoughts write down each negative thought that pops into your mind. For each negative thought, write a counter thought. So instead of “I’m a complete failure” the counter thought could be “Sometimes I will experience situations that will not go my way, I will learn from them and move on.” Give it a try, meditate, pray, go for a walk listening to upbeat music…..either way – you have to change your thinking if your situation is ever going to change. Stop the pity part and launch into action.


Acton item number 4:

Create a roadmap out of the situation.

To do this I think of what steps I can take or what action I can take right now to begin to get out of this situation. No…..having a drink is not on that list lol. If it’s something minor like a weeklong rut of things going wrong, what can I do to make today different. I can’t control what happens to me but I can control how I react, how I will handle the situation, and I can/will take responsibility for my role. Example: I can control what I eat and what I do not eat. Yes, I binged, yes I’ve been on a bender. But right now, I can go through my kitchen and get rid of my snacks/temptations. I can choose to go for a walk right now. I can do X right now to start to control this situation.     OR – I can’t control if I lose my job, but I can take responsibility for my part in the termination as well as create a roadmap so that this won’t happen again. First things first, let me dust off my resume and hit the job boards. Let me look into unemployment. Let me look start taking steps in the right direction to rectify the situation. I write down those action items and get moving.


Acton item number 5:

Get out of myself.

When I’m in a rut, one of the first things I can do is get out of myself. Stop focusing on me. Doing something for someone else immediately takes me out of my situation and allows me to be a blessing and helping hand to others. Its amazing but immediately my mood is lifted and things don’t become about me anymore. Doing something for others is the quickest way to break out of an emotional part of your funk. It sows positivity into the world. It becomes a shining light for others. It puts a smile on someone else’s face. So do it. Pay some kindness forward, you’ll be amazed at how your outlook starts to change.


So those are my ways to get out of my ruts, my bad days, my painful situations. Next time, give them a try. As a matter of fact, be sure to check out my post about making and keeping goals!

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8 thoughts on “What to do when you’re feeling stuck in a rut

  1. #2 is the truth. Sometimes taking a step back and reminding yourself this situation isn’t the end of the world or doesn’t reflect poorly on you makes all the difference. This is something I’m still working at when I’ve failed at a task.

    Aitza B | petitelypackaged.com

  2. My job has me in such a rut. I literally hate it and it’s so bad/all consuming that I struggle to have the motivation to even apply for new ones. I’ll have to try these tips!

  3. Love this article! You’re right, we all end up in a rut for many reasons. I especially liked your comments about taking some perspective on the situation to get a handle on what’s actually happening, and for taking responsibility for that parts that are on us. Great read!

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