Stuck In a Rut? 20 Ways to Find Joy When Life Seems Mundane
Does everyday seem like Groundhog Day to you? Life has a way of feeling like Wash. Rinse. Repeat. We get up, rush out the door to get where we need to be, come home, make dinner, clean up, and finally crash hard. It’s no wonder we feel like our lives are stuck in a rut. What if I told you there was more to life than just going through motions? Here are 20 ways to find joy when life seems mundane.
One thing I have learned as a working mom is that some seasons in life will seem more repetitious than others. That’s just what they are…seasons. They come and go. But, when you are in the thick of parenting, working a full-time job, running a side business and trying to squeeze in a date night with the hubby, it can become mundane quickly.
It is normal to feel this way but the problem is when we stay stuck in a rut.
How Did I Get Stuck in a Rut?
When life gets busy and overwhelming we don’t realize we are even getting ourselves into a rut. We’ve got things to do and places to be. We are running on little sleep and a whole lot of coffee. We go through the motions day in and day out. Often times we applaud ourselves for being able to juggle All. Of. The. Things.
But, as time goes by the daily grind catches up with us and we begin to feel like something is missing. We tell ourselves, “there’s got to be more to life than this”. Before you know it friend, you are stuck in a rut.
Sometimes you can realize it quickly and call it what it is. Other times, you feel that if you can just get caught up on sleep you would start to find joy in the mundane. But sleep doesn’t always do the trick does it?
Nope, because guess what? Tomorrow, you have to get up and do it all over again.
Now before you get depressed and start thinking there is no hope for being stuck in a rut, let me encourage you that there is! And it’s easier than you think.
What Do I Do When I Am Stuck In A Rut?
Trying to find yourself out of a rut and have more joy in your life doesn’t mean you need a whole life makeover. The key is to start small with little things that you can tweak throughout your day and build on them. You may not feel like it will make a difference but over time these simple changes will add up.
The important thing to remember is that the goal is not to add more things to an already busy schedule. However, if you are trying to change things up in your mundane routine, you will want to evaluate what you are saying “yes” to and what you might want to start saying “no” to.
For example, if I have committed to something that does not fill me up or bring me joy, then it’s got to go. Remember this, when you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to another. If your time, energy and resources are going towards things you really don’t enjoy or leave you feeling depleted, you will continue to feel depleted. When you want to get out of a rut, evaluate your commitments first and whether or not it’s time to let some of them go to make room for ones that are more meaningful to you.
Maybe you can find a few on this list.
20 Ways to Find Joy When You Are Stuck In A Rut
1. Challenge yourself to a new skill or hobby
Do you ever wonder how busy people have time to do a craft, start a blog, or create a side business? It’s not because they have more time than you. It’s because they have made it a priority.
When I first had an interest in starting a blog, I new nothing about blogging. I also work a full-time job, and have 2 bust kids and a husband to pour into. I knew that I wanted something for myself. Something that I can create from scratch and watch it take off.
So, I spent hours and hours learning the skill of blogging. I also paid for courses that I knew would teach me things I needed to know to have a successful blog. Getting up at 4:45am and going to bed after 10:30pm after working all day is what it took to help me get started.
Whatever your interest are, invest in yourself and learn something new. In doing so, you will start to awaken from that mundane life.
2. Turn off the television
It’s easy after a long day to sit and veg out in front of the TV. I’m not gonna lie, I love a good Netflix movie and there are days when that is literally all I want to do. But, night after night this becomes not only a routine but a time buster.
Before you know it the whole evening has gone by and there isn’t much time left over to do anything else. So, you get frustrated because all the things that were on your to do list still are. Maybe that only happens to me.
3. Declutter your space
Sometimes all it takes when you are stuck in a rut is to simply declutter your space. Start with one that you frequently use like your kitchen or bedroom.
Reclaiming the areas that you use all the time from clutter that has piled up will help with the mental overwhelm that may be bringing you down.
You don’t need to do a major overhaul all at once. Rather, simply remove the physical items that occupy precious space in your life.
Let those surfaces remain clear. Once one area is cleared, decide on which one you will declutter next.
Give yourself room to breathe in your home.
Related Post: 10 Things to Declutter in 10 Minutes
4. Meet up with a friend
One of the best things to shake me out of my rut is to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Good friends have a way of challenging you to be the best you can be.
Having social time to engage in conversation with someone you care about takes your mind off of the same old, same old. This gives your brain a chance to reset and focus on new perspectives and insights.
This is especially true if you have a friend you is struggling with something and needs your support. Being there for someone in time of need, brings added meaning to your own purpose and can be fulfilling when life seems mundane.
5. Paint a room in your house
Chances are if you find yourself stuck in a rut, it may be simply be that you are bored. One way to add some spice in your life is to paint a room in your house.
This will not only give you a creative outlet but it will also give your space a refresh which may be what you need to push past boredom. Adding a new color to your home can spark other home project ideas that will help keep you motivated.
6. are you getting enough sleep?
Lack of sleep is a surefire way to end up in a run. Not getting enough sleep can make you feel like one day just blends into the other and can lead to burnout real fast.
Practice consistent sleep hygiene by creating a bedtime routine and going to bed at the same time everyday. Burning the midnight oil can result in less productivity and dissatisfaction with our work.
Related Post: Sleep Hygiene-8 Secrets to a Better Night Sleep
Know how many hours of sleep you need and try to aim for that amount every night. The standard is 8 hours, but I realize that not everyone needs that amount across the board. Understand what works for you and stick with it consistently
7. get a Massage
Need an opportunity to check out from all the demands that may have put you in a rut to begin with? What better way to relax than a day at the spa.
Massages not only help you to relax but they also help with blood circulation to your tissues and cells (I promise not to go all nurse-y on you).
This increase in circulation helps remove toxins that have built up overtime, which may be leading to you not feeling your best and making your brain foggy. Get rid of those toxins and get a little clarity on life. Book a massage today!
8. start a simple garden
When you find yourself feeling blah, trying something new with your hands can be rewarding. I recommend a simple planter box. Planter boxes are a great way to add joy to your life no matter how much space you have. Jen with Happy DIY Home provides awesome tips for the best planter boxes when you have limited space.
If you don’t have a yard, there are indoor options for planter boxes as well. You would just need to do some research on what type of plants do well indoors.
Outdoor life does wonders for your mood. You will be amazed watching your little creation grow into a beautiful life.
9. Start a journal
I am a huge advocate of journaling. There are so many ways to journal depending on what you enjoy. Some people journal about their day, while others journal to “brain dump” their thoughts.
Whatever way you choose to journal is completely up to you. Don’t get bogged down with having the right pen, or the pretty journal book. If you need to, just get a paper and a pen (or your phone is you are a techie person) and get or thought on paper (or device).
Journaling helps to free your mind of brain clutter and will make you feel a whole lot more free. You might just get a better night sleep as a result.
10. change your hairstyle
There is something refreshing about a new hairstyle. It is a quick and easy way to press the reset button when you find yourself stuck in a rut. Choose a style that is not only flattering but low maintenance.
If cutting your hair is not your thing, consider a color change or highlights. These changes can reflect a positive attitude that can make you see your life through a new set of lenses.
More Helpful Tips For When You Feel Stuck In A Rut
11. find a volunteer opportunity
Giving of your time as a volunteer can be just the thing you need to discover gratitude for the life you lead. Find a local animal shelter or homeless shelter and look into opportunities to serve these wonderful organizations.
Other opportunities include volunteering to teach a skill you have, serving at the church you attend, organizing an activity at a local nursing home, or simply making a meal for a neighbor in need.
Whatever area you decide to volunteer in, I am confident the organization or recipient will be happy to have you.
12. rearrange your home furniture
Simply rearranging your furniture can bring life to your home and therefore life to your soul. By just moving around a table and chairs gives you a new take on your environment and helps with boredom.
You may even find space for some new decorations!
13. read a book or join a book club
Reading is one of my favorite ways to escape the daily grind. Getting lost in a great book takes my mind off of my to-do list and gives my brain a break from my responsibilities. They are still there, but the moments away from them are so nice.
Book clubs are a great way to meet new people, whether in person or online. Some of my favorites are the Anchored Women Bookclub, The Emily Ley Bookclub, and the Modern Mrs. Darcy. I just LOVE all three of these reading resources and book clubs, and have been inspired by so many of their reading suggestions through the years.
14. up your water intake
Fatigue and feeling drab can be a result of not drinking enough water. Often times we mistake that lackluster feeling for being in a rut. When in reality, our bodies are not getting enough water it desperately needs. Water helps flush out toxins that can leave you feeling foggy and unmotivated.
Try to aim for 64 ounces of water a day. If you are not used to drinking that much water, start slow and each day add another 8-ounce glass. The next day, add another, and so on. Your body will thank you!
15. change up your morning routine
As much as I love my morning routine, it can easily get a little boring doing it everyday. Shake things up a little so you don’t feel like you are a slave to your routine.
If you run on the treadmill first thing in the morning, change things up and go for a run outside. Or maybe you enjoy reading in the morning while it’s quiet. If the weather is comfortable outside, enjoy your book on the patio instead of the couch.
These little changes can awaken your senses and may help you get out of bed a little easier. Whatever you do, do what makes you feel happy first thing in the morning. Even if that means skipping the morning routine all together for extra sleep every now and again. I give you permission to do that too 🙂
Related Post: How to Start a Realistic Morning Routine
16. change up your evening routine
Tired of the same old routine in the evening? Just like your morning routine, you may also need to change up your evening routine. The key is to change up the old routine. So, if after dinner you usually hit the couch and Netflix, try going for a walk or take a bubble bath.
17. limit time on social media
Unless you are super disciplined and can put boundaries around your social media time, it can be a total time suck. Not to mention, it’s easy to feel like our lives are boring and dull compared to the highlight reels of others.
Don’t get caught in the comparison trap of other people’s lives. Guard your time by being intentional with social media or delete it altogether if it is a barrier to you living the life you desire.
18. book an overnight stay in a hotel
This is a big FAVORITE of mine when I am feeling meh! Sometimes just being in a different physical environment is enough to feel refreshed. Here is where both my morning routine and evening routine are completely different than the norm and I can do what I want.
Enjoy time alone to think, dream and plan. Think of it as your own mini-retreat!
In fact, I just might have an amazing out of town women’s conference coming up this Fall!! Shhhhh, it’s a secret! Thank you honey for watching after the kiddos 🙂
19. get moving
Okay, don’t leave me now, we’ve made it this far!! Some people head for the hills when the subject of exercising comes up. But, just a little movement can help your blood flow and give you a little rejuvenation.
Integrate more movement into your day by taking the stairs instead of elevators, parking further away in the parking lot (when safe) and monitor your activity with a step counter.
20. try a new recipe
Last, but certainly not least, is to try out a new recipe. Expand your taste palate and experiment with things you never thought you’d like.
The goal here is to get a little brave and challenge yourself beyond the routine of meat and potatoes dishes. Think of a restaurant you like or a place you’ve visited and try to duplicate a recipe from there.
These small changes in your life can help you when you feel dull and dreary and spark some positive habits to avoid burnout. Please don’t try to do them all at once. Try one or two at a time and you’ll be surprised at the difference you feel.
What are some things that you’ve done when you were stuck in a rut? Drop a comment below and let me know.