For When We're in a Rut

Ruts are about as fundamental to the human experience as head colds and tripping on the sidewalk. 

They happen to all of us, be they creative, professional, relational, personal or beyond. They can feel like they'll last forever. But the good news is they won't. And there are a few things I've found to be helpful in un-rutting myself. 

Re-engage with my values. When I'm in a rut, my whole focus can get stuck on that. But my focus is best-served if I place it on what matters to me, why I do what I do. Shifting my attention away from being stuck and onto my priorities can help light a path forward to spend my time in service of my values. 

Sleep. Lots of it. My mood, energy, will is rock bottom without sleep. If I'm feeling stuck, I need all of those operating at full capacity. Which can't happen for me without seven to eight hours in bed. 

Moving. Getting up and moving from where I was when I was feeling stuck can help shake loose some fresh thinking. Even a short walk around the block wakes my body and mind up and can get me in a more spacious place than the narrow confines of a rut. 

Self-tenderness. Stuck feelings are rotten. But treating them as rotten is rarely a way to show them the exit. Instead, we can try holding them with real tenderness. They are pieces of us that are hurting and wounded. And the best way I know to heal a wound is with compassion. 

Ruts happen. Sometimes they're the precursor to transformation. And that transformation becomes available to us if we refuse to believe that a rut is a permanent state. And take intentional, though not always easy, steps to move ourselves towards the new horizon. 

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