How-to

10 Ways to Get Out of a Rut

10 Ways to Get Out of a Rut

by Ariana Jackson

It’s 6:30 AM on your typical Tuesday morning. You wake up feeling groggy and wishing for just one hour more to rest. You get up to shower, but the water is uncomfortably lukewarm. You’ve chosen today’s outfit last night, from a closet made up of a sea of blues, blacks and grays. It’s 7 AM; you go downstairs to have your morning coffee and read the paper. Gas prices are going up again, of course. Your coffee is too hot, five minutes later it isn’t warm enough. It tastes chalky and you’ve run out of creamer. It’s 7:30 AM. You decide to take the commuter train to work, to save a bit of money on gas.

Your fellow passengers appear disenchanted, engrossed in their smart phones, Kindles, iPods. It’s 8AM and you arrive at work. You say hello to your co-workers and exchange pleasantries, knowing that neither of you truly cares how the other’s day is going. Then you sit at your desk….you realize that your day has only just begun, but you want it to be over with already. You know that this day will be just like yesterday, and tomorrow will be like today. And the next day, and the next…

You are dangerously uninspired, worn down by the ins and outs and tasks of the daily grind. You need excitement. However, maybe you don’t have the means to embark on a grand vacation or move to another city. So here are some ways to spice up your life without doing anything drastic.

1. Write a letter. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to actually send it or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s addressed to someone in your past, someone you currently know or someone you hope to meet in the future. Just write an old fashioned letter with paper and a pen, and take notice of how much more effort it requires to write a letter than to type an e-mail. Plus, it’s far more meaningful and rare for a person to receive a handwritten letter than to read an e-mail amongst many others. Or if you’d like to meet someone whom you otherwise may have never met, try a pen pal service. Sure, it’s easy to meet people online with the plethora of social media sites out there, but sometimes it’s good to receive a letter in the mail and to send one too.

2. Get Lost. If you’ve got a lazy weekend afternoon with nothing to do, take a trip to an area of town that you may be unfamiliar with, and explore the neighborhoods. If it helps, pretend that you’re a tourist; explore any nook and cranny that you find intriguing. You may just discover a new favorite store or restaurant. If you have a few days off, make your mini adventure into a stay-cation.

3. Cook something new. It may be a favorite at a restaurant that you never thought you could make at home, or maybe something you’ve never tried that looked appetizing. For ideas, try www.tastespotting.com or www.allrecipes.com .

4. See through a child’s eyes. Spend time with your children, or perhaps a nephew/niece or young cousin. Play with them and adopt their ways; engage your curiosity, don’t be afraid to ask “Why?” Get a coloring book and color trees purple and water orange. Don’t be afraid to act silly, do cartwheels in the grass and run through the sprinklers (or make a snow angel if it’s Winter!).

5. Stargaze. The wonders of the universe will never be truly known, but it is interesting and awe inspiring to look up into the night sky and see the stars twinkling and the moon in its many phases. If you can’t view the stars from your backyard or patio, take a trip to your local observatory on a night when they’re hosting an open house event.

6. Go international without a passport. Visit or volunteer at a community center for people of a culture other than your own. Shop at an international market and try foods and products that you have ever heard of before. Attend a festival of a culture that you are unfamiliar with. Make friends with someone who has recently immigrated to the United States. You don’t have to board a flight  halfway across the world to become a global citizen.

7. Join a walk/run/race for the cure. Each of us is affected by some sort of major illness, whether we have/had one, or know someone who has/had one. By joining a walk/run for an illness that affects so many people, we play a part in raising funds towards discovering new treatments and cures. In addition, it is a great opportunity to step outside of oneself and become a part of something bigger. To start, try http://www.nationalmssociety.org and http://www.relayforlife.org/ .

8. Make a short film. If you have a camcorder, you can make a movie, even if it’s just on your phone. Film yourself singing, or having a silly moment with friends. Who knows, you could even become a YouTube phenomenon!

9. Be Fearless. We all have something that we have always wanted to try, but fear stands in our way. Some people want to try snowboarding, but fear crashing into the snow. Others want to act in a play or recite a poem on stage, but struggle with stage fright. The only way to overcome these things is to give it a try. Learn from and practice with a professional (if it is a skill) and don’t hesitate to enlist the help and encouragement of family and friends. Also, don’t be afraid to fail. Even the greats were once beginners, and you better believe that they have experienced failure on several occasions before reaching their goals.

10. Make a Vision Board. A vision board is a display of a person’s goals for the future; where they want to go, what they want to do, a dream car and dream home, whatever they picture from life. To make a vision board, use clippings of photos from magazines and the Internet and post them to a poster board, cork board or even a Power Point presentation if it suits you. When you have a constant reminder of your goals in front of you, it may give you something to look forward or aspire to.

Of course there are countless other ways to find inspiration and break away from the monotony of day to day life; it is entirely up to you and your creativity to tailor your activities so that they fit you what you want out of life.

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