The struggles of day to day life are real. Whether your days are filled with office work, or children crawling all over you (or both!) it is incredibly easy to “let things go”. The things you do for people who depend on you can begin to slowly replace the things you need to do to fill yourself up. Add a dash of sloth (i.e. Netflix & ice-cream bingeing, and just a little more than a well-balanced binge practice) and voila, you have yourself a rut!
It can suck, but luckily; nothing in this world is permanent. Here are a few actions you can take now to start climbing out of the little rut you may feel you’re in at the moment.
1) Feel It
Don’t Try and change it too quickly. Be in the dark places…for a little bit. No matter how negative it may feel to focus on it for a moment, you may find it easier to disect what is going on if you are able to notice where you are, because in reality you can’t change something if you aren’t aware of where it is coming from. You wouldn’t pull a week from its top leaves, leaving its root in the dirt to grow & expect to never see it again, would you?
Try this: Turn the lights off, take a comfortable seat on the floor with your left hand on your heart, and your right hand on your belly. (This is a mudra I have used in my personal yoga practice for years. To me it symbolizes self-love, self-care, and truth. It reminds me that despite the manic phases of life, I love myself and will care for myself. Even more; that only I hold the answers to what I am searching for.)
Now as you sit, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Here comes the fun part…don’t shut everything off in your mind. Instead, notice. What comes up as you sit with yourself? What feelings or distractions? Self doubt? Judgement? Frustration? Sadness? Aching, physically or mentally? Maybe even happiness and contentment as a certain memory comes up.
When you pinpoint what you’re feeling, don’t try to change or dismiss it.
Society has made it difficult for many of us to feel, even for just a moment. It’s hard to escape the mind-numbing screens & substances that we are advertised and sold every day. There is always opportunity for a healthy balance, but if you can, try giving yourself permission to be in the dark place & notice it before shutting it off. Once you know what you are dealing with and why it may be there, you can begin to shed it off. Maybe not all at once, but perhaps in layers.
2) Observe & Journal
Journaling can be your most powerful tool. It allows you get whatever is going on in your head, and not only sort it out, but make it real. Once you are able to write out what it is you fear or desire, it becomes easier. Just shifting the context of your thoughts onto a piece of paper can take the power away from the fears you may be facing, and bring attainability to your desires.
List or write about your passions. Big or small. Dreams or real life. Write about the little things, that if if you were to do each day, would simply make you feel good.
For me, I know I feel better and have monumentally more productive days when I decide to wake up before my kids, and get an early yoga or meditation practice. I also know that putting all the screens and electronics on standby to go outside and drink my coffee while the kids play (As opposed to scrolling Instagram as I sip…meanwhile my children watch TV shows and riddle my living room with crums and fingerprints.)
Once you create a list of the things you know you love, it may be a little easier to begin working them into your daily life again, or for the first time.
Don’t go cold turkey towards the world of rainbows and sunshine, because you will soon find that magical world in fact does not exist. Instead, slowly supplement the positive back into your life.
Make a plan! Start making small goals. Try incorporating the things from your journal/list of things that give you passion and make you happy into your daily life. By incorporating one of those each day, you will start to slowly build good habits, and ultimately build focus, motivation and passion.
These are 3 actionable ways to start coming out of whatever rut you may be in, but one extra, and very important bullet point to remember is this: You are not alone. You are not the only who has gone through what you are going through. Ruts, no matter how big or small they may be, are normal! In fact, it would be very worrisome if there were someone who had never had one, and was able to be at a constant state of motivation & bliss (amiright?)!
You’ll get out of this place. It may seem sticky at first, but keep going through these motions of feeling, journaling/reflecting and supplementing the positive. You will be climbing out smoothly very soon, my friend.
Over to you, yogis! Have you ever been stuck in a rut? What got you out of it? Share with us in the comments!