Thursday, May 17, 2012

20 Things to do if You're Stuck in a Rut

From time to time, I feel like all I do is work at home and work at work. It is so hard to break out of my normal routine and step outside all of my many "to do's" and just relax. So I put together this list of 20 things you can do if you're stuck in a rut or bored with the same old same old. You may look at the list and think you would never do these things, but that's the point, try stuff you wouldn't normally do.

1. Learn a new skill - try checking out YouTube for things like, how to refinish furniture, make your own curtains, cut hair, give yourself a great manicure, make fresh salsa, knit a scarf. I took an online photography course and loved it!

2. Read a Book - well, I love to read but it's a great way to get immersed in something other than the
day to day of your own life. Maybe join an online book club. If you only read fiction, try a biography, etc.

3. Sign up for a 5K - you don't have to run it, just walk it. Enlist a friend or just do it on your own. Nothing better than the feeling of crossing the finish line!

4. Cook for Yourself - pick your favorite meal you order out and try to replicate it. You can find a million variations online for any recipe. Experiment and master one great meal as your signature dish or dessert. Set the table really nicely and enjoy!

5. Drive a Different Way to Work - give yourself a few extra minutes and take the scenic route. Try to make your morning drive relaxing by stopping for your favorite coffee, play your favorite songs and go the long way around!

6. Organize Something - if you avoid your kitchen "junk" drawer because it's so jam packed with clutter, commit to cleaning it out. Get some dividers, etc and make it look pretty and clean. We all function better when we're organized and neat.

7. Rearrange Your Furniture - if you can't really move any furniture, buy new throw pillows, pictures, tablecloth, etc. Sometimes we don't even realize how dated something is until we make a purposeful change.

8. Add Something Healthy - add one healthy habit to your routine. Do you take a multi-vitamin, drink water, eat fruit, eat veggies? It always feels good to treat yourself well. You don't need to go on a massive health kick, just start small.

9. Analyze What's Bugging You - think about something that's driving you crazy and make a list of ways to solve it. For example, maybe your mornings are crazy. If you write down what is slowing your mornings down, you are more able to see the solution and fix it.

10. Schedule an Appointment with Yourself - if you're like me, you feel guilty just doing nothing. Everyone needs time to recharge and relax. Even if this time is from 7:00 - 7:20 am on Saturday mornings drinking coffee, claim it.

11. Take an Inventory - on a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. On one side, list all of the major achievements you've accomplished in your life. On the other side, write your future goals. You might be surprised to see all of the things you've already done and you'll realize your future goals are much more realistic.

12. Discover a New Place - I lived in my town for 11 years before I actually walked along the long trail that winds along the large lake in our downtown. It was packed with people enjoying the beautiful weather and view. Now I look forward to my trips there with the Peanuts. What does your town offer you've never experienced?

13. Get a Part Time Job - sounds crazy and exhausting but if you have time and energy, it could be a fresh new experience. A job isn't nearly so stressful when it's purely elective. You'll stay busy, meet new people and get paid! If you can't do that, find a few hours to volunteer. It always feels great to help someone else.

14. Cultivate a Friendship - make an effort to turn a pretty good acquaintance into a really great friend. Schedule a lunch, go for a walk, give them a ring.

15. Finish this Sentence - take a piece of paper and write this down, "I want to be a better..." and fill in the blank. Now figure out how to do it. Do you want to be a better employee, wife, mother, cook, cleaner, singer, artist, teacher? Whatever it is, there are tons of how to books online and demonstrations on YouTube. If you still can't find what you're looking for, model someone who is already successful in your goals.

16. No Matter What, Do the Worst First - taking out the trash in the evening, returning emails at work, creating that big monthly report, exercising? No matter what it is, do the thing you dislike the most first. You'll feel better it's done and the rest of your tasks will be a breeze.

17. Buy a New Outfit - well we all know this will get you out of a rut!

18. Let Someone Else Pick - if you're married, let your husband pick what you're doing the next date night. Maybe it's a movie you would have never agreed to, mini golf, fishing, watching football. If you're not married, tell your friend to pick something to do on a girl's day out.

19. Get Yourself a Theme Song - I have iTunes on my computer and if I'm having a particularly hard day, I'll play U2's Beautiful Day or Michael Buble's Haven't Met You Yet. They both signal to me to shift my mood and snap out of it! Your theme song can be anything at all; just whatever you like.

20. Make Your Home a Haven - write down all of your affordable favorite things. This could include, flavored coffee, fuzzy slippers, scented lotion, milano cookies, a special mug, a pretty eyeglass case, etc. Now pick a few of those things and have them accessible. When you get home from work or put the kids to bed, grab your special slippers, a drink in your favorite mug, etc. and enjoy your creature comforts. They help us relax and regroup and it's important to have the things you enjoy around you.

Hopefully you'll find something you can use in the list to help you next time you find yourself in a rut :)


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