This was something I never understood until I was unemployed, was this notion of getting stuck in a rut. I had always been one of those people who went out and did things: road trips, adventures, skinny dipping and participating in crazy alcohol binges to name.
Yet earlier this year after moving back to Melbourne from Sydney, I could not find a job anywhere. Being unemployed for five months is not something I ever saw myself being able to survive, as someone who constantly needs to be busy. Having very limited funds to feed myself and pay rent and bills, I was pretty much left with a tiny little bit of money to get around with via public transport...and that’s it.
At first, I relished in the freedom that a job doesn’t give you. I could sleep in for as long as I wanted; spend countless hours on the phone, and read a stack of books…yet I quickly learnt that I couldn’t cook all the meals I love. I had to plan to be able to buy ice-cream, and I would have to sacrifice some sort of edible substance to be able to purchase a bottle of wine. However, the hardest part was not being able to do anything. I couldn’t just go out to coffee with friends, or treat myself to a nice lunch out, or even just go to the movies. I’d have to plan to go to family occasions, like birthdays, because they were on the other side of town and such occasions would cost $10 in public transport fares alone.
Going to bed at all hours of the early morning and waking up late became normal, as did not speaking to many people. I lost interest in books and TV – two things of which I indulged in when I first got home. That was when I realised I was in a rut.
It is extremely difficult to get out of a rut when nothing in your life changes. Your mindset is generally negative; you feel kind of hopeless, and you think of yourself as pathetic. It isn’t healthy, and time becomes an enemy instead of a fact of life.
So what can you do?
First of all, you have to admit that you are in a rut – something that is a lot easier said than done.
After that, there are a few options.
1.Get into a normal sleeping pattern
Go to bed by midnight, and wake up before 10am. That way you manage to see that day.
2.Spend some portion of your day out in the sun
Spending time outside always makes you feel good. Ten minutes is enough to lift your mood. It always helps if you go for a walk or take your lunch or book outside. Fresh air does wonders to clear the mind, and it restores some form of balance. Vitamin D keeps you healthy also.
3. Don’t spend a lot of time on the internet if you can avoid it
The internet is full of people who like to bitch and moan about things. You want to stay away from as much negativity as you can. If you do spend a lot of time on the internet, look at the positive sites such as job-seeking websites; self-motivational places, or even chat rooms that discuss things that you're interested in such as books, movies or food. That way you are both “conversing” with other people, as well as enjoying yourself.
4. Eat healthy food
Take the time to prepare each meal you eat. Have porridge for breakfast, salads for lunch, and meat and vegetables for dinner. All of those things take time, and are good for you. You only get out what you put in after all.
What's the best thing you can do when you feel like you are in a rut?
Try something new.
Personally, I went back to school. It is only one day a week, yet it is now my favourite day of the week, because I get to talk and see people - as well as give my brain a little bit of exercise. I am also bettering myself in a small way. There are plenty of Government funded courses around to suit a whole variety of people.
Although I am still technically jobless, I’m not in a rut. I downloaded an app that gives me positive affirmations every single day. I’ve got a good sleep routine going, and I try to fill my time with as much positivity as I can.
The hardest part is making the choice to get out of your rut, yet it is also the best choice to make. You just have to remember to keep going.
Hang in there, because everyone gets into ruts of some kind throughout their life. You aren't alone, and you can become more positive and change your situation.
Everything is only temporary.
See things from another perspective.
When risks do not pay off, find a way to make them too.
Change is uncomfortable at first, yet it opens up doors that were previously shut.
I can get stuck on things...kind of like hard to change from task to task. And I have to unglue myself. I guess in a way that can lead to a rut. I have found that going back to what I love is a refreshing way to get out of a rut. For example, I forgot how much I loved music, writing and reading. But I open the door by playing, say, one song I love, or writing one article, or reading something small and the door has opened again!
It's so hard to feel stuck. You feel out of control and like you have no power. Reading your article reminded me we have choices.