(Pro tip: try a new Tony’s Chocolonely every once a while. Don’t get stuck in a Caramel and Seasalt Rut)
(Or do, because in my opinion it is a new love story every time)
I am not someone who harrumphs about routines, or jokes about shooting myself in the head over habits. I see the merit and value of comfort zones, routines and patterns. They help us function. They free up cognitive space for us to contemplate important things like wether or not we want to have dessert or not (we do).
But I acknowledge that ruts? Aren’t great.
Getting stuck in a rut means doing the same thing over and over again until you’re so bored and numb in body and brain you don’t care about anything anymore. Ruts are terrible for careers, relationships and life in general.
But we fall into them easily. With our 40-hour work weeks, our heavy study loads, home patterns or comfortable lives; before we know it we are so stuck that are butts are rusted to our desks and our eyes don’t focus on anything extraordinary anymore.
And that is something worth avoiding. So below, I present you a few different ways to avoid getting stuck in a rut.
– ACTIVITIES: Merel and I, kindred spirits, talk about this stuff occasionally, and Merel and her friend did something pretty brilliant: Never go home straight after work, do something fun first. Merel commented she was exhausted after doing this for a few weeks, but that she did feel that a lot more ‘life’ had been added to those days.
For me, introvert posing as extraverts, this is too daunting of a task: I like to be home, and I like to be alone. However, you could do a week of this every month. Or pick three nights from the seven to do something fun straight after a day’s work. Or even to do something new alone, at home, by yourself every night, such as reading a new book, watching a different show, going out for a walk or playing a new game.
– FOOD: Cook something new every week. Try not to fall back on the same recipes day in day out. Dedicate a few days a week to trying out new foods and recipes. This way you keep experimenting in the kitchen and encountering new and delicious recipes to add to your expertise!
– PLACES: Go somewhere new every once in a while. I am not telling you to travel the world if you like your hometown and everything in it, but a different restaurant, forest walk, supermarket and shopping route can really change things up.
So it can be small and local, but it has to be said: taking short or long trips abroad here and there works wonders against ruts too. Makes you aware of your patterns and all the different ways you could do things — as well as thankful for the great hygiene back home, probably.
– THEMES: Every once in a while, dedicate a day, week or month to a certain theme in your life. Whether it is mindfulness, your relationship, food, fitness, reading or sleeping, the continuous dedication to an activity or area gives you purpose, and the shifting in focus from time to time helps you to keep things fresh.
I personally like dedicating months to things, because I work well in time periods of month. You might do better with different periods, so experiment.
– CONNECT: Always try to stay in touch with your own spirit. What do you crave? What do you yearn for in your life? I believe you can’t get into a rut when you stay close to your self enough.
And there you have it. A couple of ways to avoid getting stuck in a rut. Now I gotta go, there is a pasta somewhere in Palermo begging me to eat it. BYE!