Gazing out at the Chicago skyline

Stuck in a Rut: 10 Tips to Chip Away at Stagnancy & Feel like Yourself Again

I have to be honest. These past few months have been a whirlwind of changes and feeling “up” one day and “down” the next. We’ve all experienced the sense of feeling stuck in rut or “feeling out of it”, but it’s especially apparent now as things are so uncertain in the world. Perhaps you’re feeling stagnant at your job, or you’re someone like me who lost their job and has to move forward with that. Stress, lack of motivation and anxiety are among many forces that can contribute the stagnancy, a cycle that can be hard to break. The truth about how to get out of a rut is that it’s likely more than just a one treats all solution. Breaking stagnancy takes an approach that allows you to start implementing healthier habits and activities that enforce positive thinking.

On my personal journey, I’ve found some simple, everyday tasks that positively affect my overall mood and feelings of motivation. Whatever your case may be, here’s how to get unstuck from your rut using some useful activities that assist with breaking down those negative thought loops.

A Word Before You Start

Firstly, if possible it’s important to identify the source of your rut. The task may be simple for some and complicated for others. A blanket feeling can be hard to pinpoint. Remember to consider seeking out a professional for more serious cases. Once you identify the source, you can begin to target it. Even if you can’t identify a source, there are still solutions to pull you out of that hole.

10 Activities to Help Assist with Getting Out of a Rut

Explore Pinterest 

Pinterest is a great resource for finding inspiration for practically everything. If you are not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a social media platform to discover and save information using images or videos. Start by creating different boards based on your interests and then pin away! I love pinning inspirational quotes and new recipes to try out. Another reason Pinterest is great is that whatever you pin is saved to your board. That way, if you are ever feeling stuck in a rut again, you can always refer back to the pins you saved.

Go for a Walk

Staying inside for long periods of time may be contributing to this feeling of being stuck in a rut. This is especially true if you are working from home. Getting outside can provide a much needed mental break from work. The change of scenery and fresh air can certainly boost your mood. 

Change of scenery to help boost your mood and get out of a rut

Listen to a Motivational Podcast

Motivational podcasts are exactly what they sound like, they motivate you to strive to be your best self. There are huge benefits from listening to an organic conversation that hits on points you can relate to. I encourage you to explore and find one that fits your personality. If you’re unsure where to start feel free to check out some suggestions based on my favorite motivational podcasts here.

Write in a Journal

I recently shared a post all about how journaling can improve your mental health and it is definitely a game-changer to get out of a rut. Journaling not only shows your personal growth, but it also helps clear your mind by releasing those built-up feelings you have. This is because writing is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to see your thoughts in physical form. Start with writing one or two pages a day and fill it with anything on your mind. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is and especially, what comes out! Ask yourself how do I feel?

When you let your thoughts flow onto paper day after day you can identify psychological trends and topics that keep coming up. Moreover, once you develop the habit, start writing down goals, big or small. Putting it on paper is another way of putting it into action and the first step towards manifesting and reaching those achievements.

Talk with Someone You Love

Sometimes when you’re feeling out of it, it’s best to talk with someone who cares about you to give you a new perspective of things. Maybe they are going through something similar and can give you advice on how to tackle your own feelings. Chatting with your friends or family can be a much-needed boost to your social health.

Set the Tone for the Rest of Your Day

If You’re stuck in a Rut, try to Plan Out Your Day

This might not be for everyone but sometimes I write down every single thing I want to get done in a day. Sticking to a schedule and seeing it laid out creates an action plan that allows you to stay productive and motivated. When you complete the tasks you intend to, you’ll find a sense of satisfaction that should help chip away at you feeling stagnant.

Super Important! – Disconnect From Social Media

Comparison can be the death of you. If you often find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s on social media, especially if you don’t know them in person, it can make you question your life and decisions. The best way to counteract this is to not go on social media. It’s easier said than done, but there are different settings on your phone that can limit the time you spend on your apps. Trust me, getting jealous or comparing yourself to others will not make you feel any better. 

Comparison isn’t the only negative side effect of social media. The feed is constantly optimizing to keep you engaged and plugged in. A lot of times, all the news and posts in itself can make you feel overwhelmed and cause you to have a negative view of the world. If you’re not going to take a break I highly encourage you to limit the amount of time on the platforms until you start feeling better.

Lay in the Sun – (This Chips Away at the Feeling of Being Stuck in a Rut More Than You’d Think!)

This goes along the same lines as going for a walk. Even just standing in the sun for a few minutes can boost your mood. Truth is, many of us are deficient in vitamin Around 42% of the US population are deficient1 and with COVID-19 and all the sheltering in place, this is even more relevant. Vitamin D is so crucial to our health and overall happiness. Introducing more of sunshine into your life can have a positive effect on your wellness and assist with getting out of your rut!

How to get out of a rut by speaking with someone you love

Rearranging Surroundings May be a Useful Step to Get Out of a Rut

Clean Your Surroundings and/or Redecorate

A clean space = a clean mind. The phrase is true for me. I can’t stand having clutter around me especially when I’m trying to focus. I encourage you to check out this article by Laura Vrcek. It expands on the idea, does a clear space really mean a clear mind?

There was a study done by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute showing that when you have multiple visual stimuli present in your range of view, the more likely you are to be distracted.2 That being said, it’s good to keep in mind that everybody is unique and while clutter might be good for one person, cleanliness might be good for another. Overall, I’d say it’s worth a shot. Try this tactic out to see if it makes a difference in your outlook.

Chicago skyline from north ave pier, scenery can combat feeling stuck in life

Just Keep Moving Forward

While these activities are great to do in the moment, the best thing to do is just keep moving forward. Keep up with any positive activities and you will combat and overcome the sense of feeling stuck in a rut. Apply for jobs and start networking and keep trying to reach your goals in all aspects of your life. Most importantly, keep accepting new opportunities no matter how big or small. You will get out of your rut and things will eventually change!


  1. “42% Of Americans Are Vitamin D Deficient. Are You Among Them?” Mercy Medical Center, 21 Nov. 2018,
  2. Vrcek, Laura. “Does a Clear Space Really Mean a Clear Mind?” The Orange Dot, The Orange Dot, 6 Sept. 2017,