Getting In & Out of a Rut

Getting In & Out of a Rut

The beginning of 2020 has proven to be an interesting time. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my blog and honestly, a rut in my life in general. There are some things going on right now that I have no control of but affect me daily. I can admit that I’m the kind of person who needs to have a sense of control in my life and of course this is not possible in every.single.aspect of living. One of my resolutions this year was to trust life more, and though I’m trying, it’s not easy.

When I decided to take a break from my blogging schedule I had no idea how it would negatively affect me. When I was forcing myself to stick to a schedule I was feeling a lot of stress some weeks, but I was also feeling a sense of accomplishment at least three times a week when a post went up. This sense of accomplishment was coming from something I was doing for me.

When you are a parent, I feel like there needs to be some kind of balance when it comes to your identity as a parent and as a person. It’s really easy to put yourself on the back burner when you’re busy caring for your family. For me, my blog was providing me one little thing that I was carving time out,  just for me. I didn’t realize what I was doing when I gave that up. Yes, I was stressing myself out trying to stick to 3x a week schedule, but giving it up entirely may not have been the wisest choice.

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As I started writing less and taking the pressure off of myself I didn’t feel so great about the way I was spending my time. I wasn’t exploring other hobbies the way I wanted to, instead, I was going right back to old habits. Watching youtube videos every night during my free time, and going to bed early because I just didn’t feel like there was anything else I wanted to do.

I decided that maybe I need to get back into the swing of writing posts regularly. Maybe once or twice a week would be the right balance to finding accomplishment without burnout. But every time I started to write I drew a blank. Even when I gave myself permission to write about things I felt no one else cared about I still couldnt come up with any ideas. I literally have 10 drafts of dead-end posts!

I needed to dive deeper.

What has really changed in my routine that’s making me feel SO uninspired?

Yes, we’re (Kevin & I) dealing with a frustrating circumstance that is out of our control that affects us daily. But – it doesn’t affect my writing.

Yes, I’ve been feeling kind of down lately too, probably since it’s the middle of winter and there have been many days where the sun doesn’t even make an appearance. This definitely affects my motivation.

And then I realized what else was missing:

I wasn’t starting my day with intentional motivation the way I used to.

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It began feeling like pulling teeth to get myself to write affirmations in the morning. I just didn’t feel inspired and I couldnt push myself. But how could I change it?

Before I got into this rut, (which happened gradually) I had been listening to a motivational, inspirational or even just broadly educational podcast every single morning as I got ready for the day.

Somewhere over the past few months, I let go of this habit. I didn’t even notice it happen but it made a difference in my productivity and inspiration for writing which when I stopped feeling able (or inspired) to write, everything else started to sink for me.

See, when I used to start my day with a podcast, I was being intentional about feeding my brain new information, getting new ideas, and hearing different perspectives on things. There have been countless times where a topic or even one sentence of a podcast has inspired an entire blog post!

I came to this realization while writing a journal entry. I was still in this rut and not feeling like writing about anything, but forced myself to think up a few simple goals for the month of February. It was a pretty simple list, but then I wrote down “Listen to a podcast in the morning” and I thought, huh. I used to do that but I stopped…
How had I forgotten that this used to be such an integral part of my morning routine for nearly an entire year?

When it comes to self-improvement and mindset shifting, it’s really all about doing the work – the investigative self-work that we all too often avoid doing. No one can do it for you. The last thing I want to do when I’m in a rut and not in the mood to even try to write, is force myself write! But I made myself do it because I know that often when I start journaling, I tend to come up with the answers to my own problems.

This is why I’m such a big believer in journaling. Its something we can all do and benefit from. Journaling doesn’t require any real skill. You don’t have to be a good writer to keep a  journal. You just have to be brave enough to be fully honest with yourself. Your journal isn’t on display for everyone – it’s just for you! That alone should take the pressure off. You would be surprised how much you can learn from having these written conversations with yourself.

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Here are some things that have helped me begin to break out of my rut and get back on the path to a more optimistic mindset. Maybe these things can help you too if you are struggling ❤

  • Write a journal entry. Sit and think about why you are feeling how you are feeling. What is the root cause of your slump? The answer isn’t always obvious. Sometimes you have to give yourself the time and space to think about it and explore different possibilities on the page.
  • Make a gratitude list. This is one of the best activities for a mindset shift. It is too easy to dwell on our bad moods, life stresses, and things out of our control. But when you take the time to make a list of the things you are grateful for, it can change your mood quickly.
  • Adjust your routine, or start one. If you don’t have a morning routine or any kind of routine in your life, I think this is a good place to start when you’re in a slump. Routines are not as boring and monotonous as they can seem! Routines help ground us and help us to have at the very least, some sense of purpose every day. For me, journaling daily is as important in my routine as taking my vitamins. Listening to an uplifting podcast each morning used to be a huge part of my routine, which at the time I didn’t even realize how great it was for me. Adjusting my routine to work this back in, is going to be important for me going forward. If you don’t have at least one thing in your morning or daily routine that is there solely for your mental and spiritual healthadd that in. It truly does make a difference in your mindset. Life is not meant to be a rat race. Your day should not just consist of rolling out of bed and rushing off to a job, and (or, for us moms) serving everyone but yourself every single hour of the day. You need to make time for yourself no matter how demanding your responsibilities are. Even if it is listening to that podcast while you get ready or while driving to work. Even if it is a work out every day or a daily meal in solitude. Five minutes of meditation – something. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Whatever it is, carving out some *you* time into your daily routine can be really helpful in achieving a mindset shift. And often this is something you have to be intentional about. We don’t think twice about tending to our family’s needs, but we often put ourselves on the backburner. I challenge you to break this habit and give yourself at least one thing a day that is purely for you.
  • Get outside. I know I’m writing this in February, and we have been fortunate to have one of the warmest winters we’ve had in a few years, so getting outside hasn’t been entirely impossible for me. But even in the cold weather, I think it’s important to get outside daily. Even if you can only tolerate 10 minutes, bundle yourself up as much as necessary and go for a short walk, or sit on your porch. Fresh air (even when it’s cold!) can be a wonderfully healing thing that is so underrated! It’s good for kids too. I heard the saying “Outdoor All 4” recently and it is about how we should continue bringing our children out to play during all four seasons. As long as it is not legitimately freezing or blowing freezing winds, it’s good to get the kiddos out into some fresh air for a little each day. This is something I’ve been challenging myself to do for both Julia’s and my own, well being and we have both been benefitting from it (bonus – we often have the park to ourselves on the 35 degree weather days!). We just bundle up and keep the time short. But even 10-15 minutes of outdoor times in the winter is great compared to being cooped up all day long.
  • Lastly, I have an entire post about getting your morning started right with positive mindset affirmations.

 

Sending love & light,

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