How many people find themselves in a rut from time to time? I define a rut as a period of time when you lose all routine. I need routines to keep me organized, productive, and feeling in control. When I have a good routine in place everything seems to fall into place and even the controlled chaos flows smoothly. Since September, I am living in a rut. There is no routine, no plan, and everything just feels blah. I need to get my groove back! Here are some ways to find your groove when you are stuck in rut.
Define your Why
The first step to getting your groove back is to define what made you lose it in the first place. How did life fall into its current rut? Information is power, so take a minute to look at what was working and why things went off the rails. My rut started when my three sweet children went back to school. The why in this story is a mega change in schedule and routine. We were clicking along in our summer rhythm and then the bomb went off and everything changed.
The biggest hiccup for me is all the time I find myself in the car. Back and forth to school for drop off and pick up, times two schools. Back and forth for dance, plus the time the girls are in class. I added it all up and found a minimum of 90 minutes I spend traveling around my 10 mile circle.
Secondary to the time, is the interruption to my work. In the summer I am task oriented, during the school year my life is run by the clock. If I had to choose a preference, it is definitely task based. I like to finish things. When ruled by the clock, finishing things is not an option. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go!
Define What’s Missing
Now that the why is defined, the question is what is missing from my life? If you are in a rut some aspect of life that gets you grooving is missing. It could be anything. It’s your groove – what gives you joy, peace, serenity, rest. I find this is rarely an easy question for me to answer. I focus my time on the to-do list, not how I feel about it. The fact is the to-do list gets done more efficiently when you are feeling your best. Ruts are destroyers of productivity.
So what dropped me in this current rut – lack of me time. Not just any me time, exercise. I discovered this summer that life is so much better with movement. I never put it together before, but my anxiety is lower, I sleep better, and I am happier when I schedule in time for regular exercise. First, I need the movement. Second, I need the time, by myself, doing something to make me feel energized. This is the one “me-time” activity that totally dropped off when school started. I can listen to podcasts in the car. I can read in parking lots and outside of dance studio doors. But exercise, I just can’t do that anywhere.
Come Up with a Plan
We have the why and the what, now how to get the groove going again. It is time to come up with a plan. I need a routine that involves exercise. So I need to find a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times a week to make that happen. Sixty minutes would be better, but sometimes plans need to start small. Let’s not try to eat the whole elephant.
I am writing it in my schedule that I will exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9am. At this point in the day all three kids are in school, so I do not have to include anyone’s care into the equation. I can go for a run or walk, do yoga or piyo, or watch Netflix on the elliptical. Whatever activity makes me happy on that day. After I am finished, I can go along about my work day and the never ending list of to-dos.
Everyone’s plan will look different. It is dependent on what pushed you into the rut in the first place. Also remember plans can change. Once you get that groove back you want to keep it. In order to keep it, you might need to change your plan. Change it! Evaluate it! Change it again.
No one wants to stay in a rut. If you are feeling drained, out of sorts, running everywhere but getting nothing accomplished, start asking questions. Dive into the question of why and figure out what is dragging you down. It could be simple – I feel stressed because the house is a mess. You have the why, now make a plan – I will involve the kids in cleaning so it is not all on me. If you take a deep dive into the why and do not like what you see, ask for help. Sometimes the rut is actually anxiety or depression rearing its ugly head. Your mental health is an important asset, protect it! Getting your groove back is good for everyone in your life. So take the dive, ask the questions, make the plan, and enjoy your new groove.