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Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Blog, Self | 2 comments

Why You’re Stuck in a Rut

Why You’re Stuck in a Rut

I hear it from moms all the time:

You’re feeling “blah.”

You’re mentally drained.

You’ve lost your spark.

And life keeps going, and you keep dragging, making the walls close in on you even more and that rut becomes the grand canyon.

Here’s What’s Making it Worse

So what do you usually do? Get on Facebook and vent, of course. While it’s wonderful to have support from other women who understand where you’re at, venting on social media isn’t always constructive and can often drive you deeper into your rut.

Facebook often makes everyone else look like they live the life of Mary Poppins. And when your sink is full of dishes, your couch cushions are stuffed with cracker crumbs and there is a trail of tiny clothing and socks covering the floor, seeing someone else’s productivity can be less than inspiring. When people aren’t faking perfection on Facebook, they’re often doing the exact opposite: gushing like a country singer about how shit’s got them down. That doesn’t help either.

How to Get Out of That Rut

So what do you do? Your husband says you’re just complaining too much and you should recognize the blessings in your life. Your mom friends are great listeners but aren’t that helpful because they’re either pulling you right down with them or they’re the ones with the seemingly perfectly vacuumed houses.

And the truth is, you don’t even really know what you would rather be doing, so you lay on your couch in your pajamas and convince the kids to watch the Paw Patrol marathon on TV. And by the end of the day, you feel even worse.

You’re not going to get out of your rut if things don’t change, though, ladies. That’s the honest truth. Same old shit=same old shit. And we all kind of know what it would take for us to personally emerge from these stretches of mild depression and apathy, but sometimes it just seems too big, too complicated, or too hard.

So start small. It’s all about baby steps.

Here are 5 quick fixes:

1. Do something you love every day.

Love guided meditation

This can be as simple as taking a shower, making yourself French toast with a ton of butter, or rolling down the windows and belting out your favorite song as you commute to work. There was a time that my rut was so deep I couldn’t even remember what I did love to do. But then I challenged myself to do something I loved for 30 days, and this is what happened. So this is what you can do today, especially if you’re not in a rut and you’re feeling inspired. Write a list of things you love to do. Keep it somewhere you can refer to it, like on your fridge or in your nightstand. Nothing is too big or too small for this. Just get it down so you remember what gets you going next time you really need it.

2. Move your body.

move your body

I’m not talking training for a marathon here. I’m just saying if you sit on your couch all day, you are going to feel it. Your muscles are going to get tight, and your joints might get achy. That’s only going to make you feel worse. At the very least, do some light stretching, ankle rolls and neck rolls. Go for a walk around the block. Do a headstand. Just get up and move yourself. I’m a big fan of the Franklin Method when I’m not in the mood to exercise but I need to get moving.

3. Plan to do something completely different.

do something different

What have you been doing for the past few days? To get out of your rut, do something completely different. Have you been working nonstop? Take a day off. Have you been going to bed too late and you’re a total bitch in the mornings? Make an effort to go to bed earlier. Have you been going nonstop taking your kiddo to playdates, parks, and to the beach? Schedule a movie day and have an indoor picnic. Have you been lying on your couch for hours on end? Make sure you leave the house tomorrow.

Don’t just say, “Yeah, yeah… I’ll get out of the house tomorrow.” Plan it. Call a friend and have her keep you accountable or come with you. Know where you’re going and at what time. Write it down. Make sure it happens. Or else tomorrow is going to be a lot like today. And yesterday. And the day before…

4. Connect with friends.

connect with friends

Put away the computer and connect with friends in real life. We spend so much time scrolling down our acquaintances’ newsfeeds that we often don’t know what is really going on in their lives, and we often don’t share what is really going on in ours. Take the time to actually connect in person with a friend who is really supportive. This may not be the best time to try to meet up with a big group of mommy friends you don’t really know. It also may not be the best time to connect with that friend who always drains your energy. Find a happy medium, or grab the phone and chat with an old pal.

5. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

don't be so hard on yourself

One of the hardest parts about being stuck in a rut is that you constantly tell yourself what you’re not accomplishing. You get down on yourself and push to try to be productive, so you never actually allow yourself to take a break. If you don’t take breaks, you’re going to crack, and when you crack, you’re going to get stuck in that rut. So if you’re already in it, one of the best ways to get out is to simply allow yourself the break.

This involves giving yourself permission. Acknowledge that you are zoning out because you need it. Give yourself the go-ahead to slow down. And then, instead of telling yourself what you should be doing or telling yourself that you should be able to mentally handle the overwhelm of life better, just take that break. Enjoy it for a change. Once you enjoy the break, you’ll be ready to release the rut. You might even be surprised at how quickly you bounce back.

Know someone who’s stuck in a rut? Share this article with them or have them contact me for a free 30-minute connection session where we talk about what are the next steps to really owning your powerhouse, woman!

you're stuck in a rut


  1. Gaby,

    Great article! I know what it is like to be in such a rut as you describe—and all you suggest is SO TRUE! I remember being my own worst enemy and not realizing really how much we are creatures of habit AND creatures who learn habits by mimicking (you know, science stuff I guess). I am still working on managing my time and focusing energy in the directions that I want, but the hardest part to me is knowing exactly what I want and committing to it. I think of something I read that has inspired me recently to try the Konmari method (all the rage right now and I haven’t started reading the book yet and decluttering–but planning to start that this week!), but it said something along the lines of…instead of going through your things asking yourself what you want to get rid of, ask yourself what you want to keep…how does this item make you feel? If it makes you feel happy, it’s a keeper. I think the same principle can be applied to aspects that are also intangible…What are you doing in your life that makes you feel happy? If ____ habit makes you feel anything BUT happy, then get rid of it right then and there. It is at least an approach I am now consciously aware of and has shifted my thinking a little bit.

    A few years ago, my rut was pretty obvious. I complained about it _all the time_. I kept honestly TRYING to pull myself out of it—applied to grad school, jobs, studied for the GMAT and took it twice, took on a heavy move in with my gran-in-law for us to care for her during dementia changes. I knew something had to change…I was miserable! But nothing was working…

    It wasn’t until I started coming out of my rut that I realized what was causing my rut. I think deep down I knew it was contributing, but I didn’t know HOW MUCH. My mom was presented with an opportunity to move two hours away near my sister to care for her second newborn child while they worked. She hadn’t been near my sister since she left for college over 10 years before. I was deeply sad to see her leave me after we’d become so close over the years since my sister left for college and father passed with cancer. It was so tough, but I knew it would be a good opportunity for her, so I encouraged her to go. She did. But what I didn’t know was the overwhelming weight of obligation I had been carrying around with me every single day and the habit I had gotten into of going over to her house in a habitual rut. I often felt like I was all she had, I was the reason she would even get out the house, I was constantly worried about her, and she would listen to all my complaining and respond with either advice or a listening ear. It turned out that she was inhibiting me from growth and independence, but I couldn’t see it at all. I started to see things change after she left. I wasn’t going to her house everyday, so my time was filled with other new tasks…tasks that got me off the couch and lifted an emotional burden. I lost 30 pounds the first year she left and another 30 pounds the second and third year. I wasn’t going to the gym, I was just doing more than sitting on her couch or riding around town or my usual daily routines.

    I say all of this because the company we keep is a huge reflection of the habits we will begin to mimic. Changing who we choose to be around can be a baby step that makes a big difference when you’re in a rut. I recently have recognized that I have had a friend that I started visiting after my mom left more and more frequently to “hang out” on her couch. About six months later, I started seeing my habit reform. I saw that my friend was the one pulling me down this time, because I was spending so much effort trying to help her the same way I spent so much time trying to help my mom…Our desires, or should I say habits, in life were not in union despite what words were used to describe desire—a rut of her own, but doing little to nothing about it to get out. I was able to recognize it and started backing off. I went over less and less but still kept communication open so she wouldn’t see it as much. I started inviting her over to my place more instead of going to hers. I started breaking away because I could see that I needed to think of where our friendship was going to take me…down a road I’d been before and I didn’t like it. I needed to stop being there for others and start being there for me.

    Since then, I have learned to sew much better and even was commissioned to make my first prom dress. I have planned and gone on 4 family vacations in the past 8 months after not going on any vacations in 3 years before that. I have spent less time with my daughter while she’s spent more time in school, but more time focusing on the quality of our time together. I have carved out portions of time each day to just be completely alone, which hasn’t happened in over a decade (I used to revel in being alone, as though it was my sanctuary, but then got into a rut of needing to be around someone all the time). I just started changing all of these other areas in my life—without any additional effort—because I started falling into my natural person again when I removed negative influences in my life. I am still trying to be comfortable again in my own skin, be my own person, do my own things, go to places by myself again. My anxiety dropped tremendously and for once in so many years I actually look back and see why grad school and jobs never worked out. I wasn’t ready for them. I may still not be ready, but I’m much closer. I can feel it. Little by little, baby steps at a time, I make my own perfect.

    I just want to say thank you. Thank you for what you are doing on here. Thank you for asking and listening. Thank you for being a positive influence. Thank you for being you.

    • Awareness is the first step in making change, and it looks like you have really succeeded in clarifying some of the challenges in your life! It’s been amazing watching you grow over the few years I have known you. Remember this time. Notice the growth. Reward yourself for the steps in the direction you desire. You’re a rock star!


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