8 Tips for How to Get Out of a Rut and Focus on the Positive

Nearly one in five people reports suffering from a major depressive issue, while many more suffer more mild symptoms. Depending on what you call it, you could be stuck in bed for days on end or you could just have a general feeling of being in a rut. Getting out of a rut is hard, but can be done with a few changes to your everyday routine and taking a positive approach.


If you’re looking to get out of a rut, here are 8 things you should try that have helped many people before you.


1.Step Away From Your Work


When you’re in a rut, whether it’s due to your work or not, your work is going to be affected by it. While you’re trying to get out of the rut, you won’t be able to focus on your work with all of the energy that it deserves. Rather than put in a fraction of the effort that your work demands, take a step back.


When you step away from your work, you can focus on the obstacle that’s ahead of you. While some people find it can be useful to dive into work, you won’t be able to reach your full potential if you’re not able to step back. Getting out of a rut requires perspective. It’s hard to get perspective when your head is buried in your work. Getting out of your daily grind will give you exactly the space you need to put everything back into place.


2.Put Some Nature In Your Life


Nature is the best way to reflect on who you are relative to the rest of the world. When you’re stuck in a rut, you might end up in cyclical negative thoughts. Those thought patterns determine your worldview and can limit the number of useful ideas you have. One of the best ways to fight those thoughts is to get out of the house, out of the office, and into the woods.


No matter whether you live in a city or in a rural area, there will be a tree around to sit beneath, a park bench to watch birds from, or a hiking trail to take. Whatever you have at your disposal, take advantage of it. Even if you’re not normally predisposed to taking a walk in the woods, now might be the time to try it out.


Your thought patterns need someplace to find peace. They need to run their course and be replaced with something slower and more peaceful. Find some animals or a tree to focus on.


You and do any number of things like count leaves or count the number of birds that pass overhead. Whatever you choose to do, focus on that task and try to leave the rut behind.


3. Take an Unplanned Lunch With a Friend


Catching up with a friend is a surefire way to get out of a rut. Breaking up your daily pattern of eat, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Instead of eating that sandwich you packed, text a few friends and see if they’re available to meet for lunch. Go somewhere you’ve never been before or try a new dish at your favorite restaurant. Shake things up to get out of your rut.


When you meet up with a friend in an unplanned way, you can see what’s going on with their life in a real way. When you plan to see friends at the end of a workday, you might have a script for how you talk about things. When you meet, you’ll both be off your guard and able to speak about things in a new way.


Don’t dwell on your rut with your friend but ask if they have any suggestions. You never know what kinds of clever solutions or simple concepts they’ll have that you hadn’t thought of. You could be speeding out of your rut before the check arrives.


4.Spend Some Time With a Pet


If you have a dog, you know that you get more exercise than you did before you had one. This is one of the top benefits of having a dog in general. If you’ve been stuck in a rut lately, it’s likely your pet can tell and might want to join you for a long stroll through the park.


Take your dog out on an adventure and let their nose lead the way. If they want to pull in a certain direction because they smell something, let them be your guide. Rather than taking a familiar path, go on a more or less random stroll.


If you don’t have a dog, spend some time with someone else’s dog. Borrowing a dog can be nice for the owner, who can get an afternoon or evening without having to worry about their pet.


If you have another kind of pet, spend some time playing with them. When you’re in a rut, it’s likely you haven’t been giving them the attention they deserve. Take a time out and pay attention to your little furry, scaley, or feathered friend.


5.Make a List Of New Approaches


Getting out of a rut will eventually take some work. You won’t be able to hike your way to a solution. Likely there is a very specific event or issue in front of you. You need to be reaching your full potential in your career.


What you need to do is take a new approach to fixing your problem. That means you’ll need to start with a list of potential ways to get out of your rut. This might be yet another item to procrastinate or to push you deeper into your rut, but you need to take this concept seriously.


Use one of your nature strolls or your hikes as a place to do some thinking and make yourself a list. Write down all of the obstacles that you feel are in your way. Once you feel like you’ve started to narrow things down, then write a list of the ways you can get out of your rut.


You might only start with one or two things, but over time, the list will grow. You can tackle each of the obstacles individually and write down which of these things can be tackled that very afternoon. Hesitation is your enemy, so hunker down and take the effort to fix the problems that are in your way.


6.Catch Up With An Old Friend On the Phone


A nice distracting phone conversation can get you out of a rut. Over time, even our closest friends drift away and move to other places. When we don’t take the time to catch up with them, we lose a basic part of ourselves and our connection to our past.


The best way to rectify that is to get on the phone with someone you care about and haven’t spoken to in a while. Call to do more than catch up. If you hear that there’s something going on with them, dive into it.


Catching up can help you start to draw a line to the past in a useful way. You’ll start to think about problems you had in the past and how you overcame them. Just a simple conversation can really get the ball rolling again.


7.Lend Someone Else An Ear


If you’ve had a close friend who’s dealing with a serious issue, why not take this opportunity to reconnect with them? Lend an ear to someone you love and haven’t spoken to in awhile. Let them know you’re there for them.


Don’t talk about your own problems and the rut you’re in. Just let them explain the situation they’re going through and really focus on what’s going on. If you think you can offer a few suggestions, see what they think.


Don’t rush to solve other people’s problems though. Most of the time, we explain what we’re going through just to get some perspective ourselves. Let them talk and gauge how badly they need your help versus just an honest listener.



One of the best ways to get out of your rut is to do something really good for someone else. While charity and goodwill are meant to help others unconditionally, they without a doubt have the ability to help us through tough times.


You shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about that. So long as your end goal is always to serve or to help someone else, you don’t have anything to worry about. No one will judge you for helping someone else and suddenly getting yourself out of a rut. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


Figuring out How To Get Out Of A Rut is Challenging


When you’re stuck wondering how to get out of a rut, you could lose focus on the things that matter. Make sure you’re always giving priority to your health and the people that you love. In the end, they’re the reason you want to get out of the rut in the first place. If you’re still struggling to get out of a rut, contact us for more ideas for how you can improve your situation.

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