5 Signs You’re In a Rut
Sometimes we just feel stuck.
Oftentimes, we take comfort in a routine. It helps us stay on track and know what to expect in our day-to-day lives. However, sometimes it can start to feel monotonous. Instead of enjoying the familiarity of a routine, we come to dread the monotony of it all.
Sound familiar? You might be in a rut.
While it’s not uncommon, it can be uncomfortable. The feelings of boredom, restlessness, and dread that often accompany being in a rut are unpleasant to say the least.
However, there’s good news: if you can identify that you’re stuck in a rut, you can take steps to move out of it.
In this post, I’ll cover the top 5 signs that you’re in a rut–and what to do about it.
How to tell if I’m stuck in a rut
While there is no singular way to know for sure whether you’re in a rut, these are a few good indicators. If several of these resonate with you, chances are that you’re feeling stuck.
1. You don’t enjoy the same things you used to
When you’re stuck in a rut, you may have a hard time feeling excited about things you used to love. For example, you might feel unmotivated to do hobbies you once enjoyed, or totally bored by television shows you used to watch. You might notice that nothing feels exciting to you.
2. You feel under-stimulated
Lack of energy or passion might be a sign that you need to switch things up. The monotony of a routine can make you feel under-stimulated, which can lead to feelings of boredom and tiredness. This can make it difficult to engage in new, exciting activities, which can keep you stuck in a rut.
3. You’re just trying to “get through”
When you’re in a rut, you might feel like you’re enduring your day-to-day activities rather than enjoying them. You might have a hard time feeling present because nothing feels interesting or important.
4. You isolate yourself
Withdrawing from family and friends is a big warning sign that you might be in a rut. Whether you don’t have the energy to engage or just don’t feel interested in doing activities together, it’s something to be mindful of.
5. You avoid responsibilities
Seemingly small demands can feel huge when you’re stuck in a rut. You may avoid little things like returning phone calls, opening mail, or doing laundry–either because you don’t have the energy, or as an act of resistance to your repetitive routine.
Am I in a rut or am I depressed?
It’s important to know that many of these signs coincide with the symptoms of depression. If you suspect you might be depressed, it’s best to consult a mental health professional. Whether you’re truly depressed or just feeling stuck in a rut, there are several strategies that can help you feel better.
How to get unstuck if you’re in a rut
Everyone needs different things when they’re struggling–you know yourself best. However, if you’re feeling lost about how to get out of your rut, here are a few ideas.
Connect with family and friends
Though it may be hard to gather the energy to reach out, it’s important to use your support network when you’re in a rut. Oftentimes, we get wrapped up in our own minds when we feel stuck. Reaching out to loved ones can help us get out of our heads and into the present moment.
Start with tiny changes
Feeling stuck in a rut shows that something in your life isn’t working for you. While you may not know the exact cause, you can start making tiny adjustments. Switching up small things–like trying a new recipe or making a tweak to your morning routine–can help you build momentum to make bigger changes. Every step counts!
Consider depression counselling
Everyone feels stuck from time to time. However, if these feelings have a big impact on your day-to-day life, you may have depression. Counselling can help you get to the root case of your symptoms and explore strategies to help you feel better. I talk more about dealing with depression in this article.
How emotionally-focused therapy can help when you’re in a rut
There are many different types of therapy that can help with depression. While some therapists use just one modality, many therapists use multiple approaches. Your therapist will work with you to create a space where you can better understand what is going on and how to create change.
Emotionally-focused therapy (EFT), like AEDP, is one approach to depression counselling. EFT is evidence-based, meaning that studies have shown it to be an effective way of treating depression. It generally focuses on the emotional experience of the story that you share. The idea behind EFT is that avoiding feelings in the short-term can cause long-term suffering. By tuning into your emotions, you can make sense of them in a healthy, constructive way.
In EFT, your therapist (aka counsellor) will help you get more in touch with your feelings. Through this process, you will grow your ability to identify, express, and process emotions. Learning to identify and tolerate the physical discomfort (and comfort!) of your emotions will help you stay within your window of tolerance.
This can sound intimidating or overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to talking about how you feel. However, your therapist will work hard to create a safe, nonjudgmental space where you feel more courageous, comfortable and confident.
It’s important to remember that therapy is a collaborative process. Your therapist won’t tell you how you feel or what to do–you’ll work together to make sense of your emotions and learn to be with them.
Get out of your rut with the help of depression counselling in Vancouver
Whether you’re stuck in a rut or suspect you may have depression, I’m here to help. As a depression counsellor, I offer online therapy in Canada, as well as in-person sessions in Vancouver. I’d be honoured to walk your journey alongside you.
In my work, I strive to help people like you bring awareness to emotions and take steps toward a meaningful life–whatever that means to you. If you feel we may be a good fit for each other, I encourage you to reach out.