Mental HealthIf you're feeling stuck in life, making some changes to your routine can help!

You go to bed wired and wake up tired, you feel like you’re dragging yourself through each day, you’re foggy-headed, you’re bored yet still stressed, and every day feels the same as the one before it– you’re stuck in a rut. Everyone goes through a few periods of their life like this where they just feel like they’re treading water, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with feeling stuck, unmotivated, and dissatisfied. If you feel like this is an accurate reflection of where your life is at lately and you’re ready to make a change and kick things into motion again, there are some tips that can get you moving in the right direction!

Assess Your Comfort Zone

To get out of a rut, you first have to understand what’s keeping you in it in the first place. Oftentimes, the main problem is that you’re a little too stuck in your comfort zone. This is an understandable problem to have– going outside of what feels familiar and safe can be incredibly scary and overwhelming! But just because you’re used to something doesn’t always mean that it’s what is best for you. 


Take a look at your life situation right now– your job, relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, your living arrangements, hobbies, and goals– and try to think critically about if they’re helping you or holding you back. It might be beneficial to think about making a change.

Work On Your Goal-Setting

Setting goals that are nonspecific and unrealistic can often be a big factor in feeling dissatisfied and unmotivated. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing well in life and reaching your goals when you can’t even fully narrow down what those goals are. 


Try to set very detailed goals when you’re thinking about where you’d like to go in your life. Include time frames for when you want to be achieving these things and break down specific steps for how to get there. If you tell yourself “I’d like to get a new job soon,” you’ll have a hard time going through the actual work of getting there and can end up feeling stuck and discouraged, but telling yourself “I’m going to revamp my resume, reach out to my connections, practice my interview skills, and send out at least two applications every week so that I can have a new job by this time next year” puts you in a much better position to actually get what you want!

Practice Mindfulness

Being stuck in a rut is sometimes an external thing that has to do with your situation in life. Sometimes, however, it’s much more of an internal problem around your emotions and mindset. Practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to take hold of mental health for many people, and it’s very simple to incorporate into your day. 


Mindfulness is about setting aside a little time each day to simply be aware and take stock of things, similar to meditation. Try to start by focusing on the area around you– noises, smells, sights, sounds, just observing what comes into your attention. Then, focus on your body and the way it feels, taking note of physical sensations, tension, stress, and areas of pain or discomfort. Don’t try to do anything about them or fix them, just notice them. Then, take note of your mental and emotional state. What’s running through your head at the moment? What are you worrying about or ruminating on? Is there anything exciting you or making you happy, or something that’s stressing you out? Again, don’t try to address or alter these feelings during this time. Mindfulness is all about awareness, not judging yourself or your thoughts or feelings. Getting into the habit of doing these mindfulness exercises can help you to get a better handle on your own mental and emotional state, and how it might be contributing to your feeling of being stuck.

Change Your Routine

The cycle of sameness where every day looks identical to the ones before it is often a contributing factor to feeling stuck in a rut, and can be one of the early ways to start falling into a depressive episode, something you definitely want to avoid. One way to help shake yourself out of this can be finding some ways to change your routine!


Even little things can help you do this. Take a new route to work, try watching a new show or adding in a new habit, like walking or doing yoga in the mornings. Make an effort to chat with a new person at work or a local coffee shop a few times a week and see if you can make a new friend to spend time and have fun with. Anything to add some variety to your week can make a difference and help you feel less stagnant!

Work Against Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be a major roadblock that stands in the way of you getting what you want and feeling motivated, and you might not even realize you’re doing it. We often imagine perfectionism as something that forces us to work and work and obsess over certain tasks until we feel like they’re done just right, but there’s another, sneakier way that it can show up. Sometimes, perfectionism will contribute to a mindset that if you can’t do something exactly right and succeed at it immediately, it isn’t worth doing at all.


Not only is this a harmful mindset that can hold you back from the things you want, it’s completely untrue! It’s often better to do something less than perfectly, or even to do it poorly, than to not do it at all– for a broad example, it’s much better for your health to exercise once a week if that’s all you have time for than it is to skip exercising. Try to remind yourself that, though it may sound corny, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and even if you can’t do something perfectly, you’re better off still giving it a try than giving up entirely!

Being stuck in a rut in life is something that you can work through– but sometimes, it’s more than situational, and even more than your mindset. If you feel like your feeling of stuckness is starting to turn into genuine depression, there are options out there that can help you. You can learn more here!