What to do if you find yourself in a rut


February 2nd is Groundhog Day in the US. The idea is that if the groundhog sees his shadow when he comes out, there will be six more weeks of winter.  

Whether that is true or not, for the last several years I have thought of the movie “Groundhog Day” this time of year. If you haven’t seen it, it’s when Bill Murray’s character finds himself living the same day over and over again (and ultimately reexamines his life).

I think that a similar situation is true for many people. I can see how it could be easy to fall into this rut, especially if your work schedule looks similar every day. People sometimes tell me that they wake up, go to work, come home, veg in front of the TV (or do something similarly mind-numbing), go to sleep and do it all over the next day. Passion, purpose and joy are lacking.

If you’re finding yourself going through the motions, it is first important to become aware that it is happening, and then consciously make the effort to make some changes. Much of how we feel is based on our own thoughts and actions.

Once you’re aware that you’re in the rut, you can make the decision to add joy or adventure in your life. After I mentioned this one time when I gave a talk at an organization, a man came up to me afterwards and said this statement really resonated with him as he often forgets the “joy” piece. He indicated that sometimes he gets too caught up in work, home life and to-do lists that he forgot that he was in need of some laughter in his life. Sometimes we become disconnected with what truly lights us up.  

One way to remind yourself of what brings you joy is to reflect on your former hobbies that you may have stopped as life became busy. Gardening? Crafts? Dancing? Music? Volunteering for a cause you believe in? Placing focus on helping others is often helpful.

What are your curious about? What lights you up? Who can you help? How can you serve?

Whatever you come up with, carve out time to do this activity. It helps to put it on your calendar and commit to it. There’s no need to put joy on the back burner.

Remember that happiness is part of your overall health and well-being. Science even shows that incorporating JOY benefits our health. When we engage in activities we truly enjoy and that really make us feel alive, a natural high occurs in our brain by stimulating chemicals (neurotransmitters). There’s also the extra benefit of decreased stress level.

So there you have it. Give yourself permission to drop the guilt and go have a little fun. It’s good for you. :)

Let me know! What are you going to do this weekend that brings you joy?

Bonus! :) Re-discover what brings you joy -- get your free mini workbook with prompting questions for reflection below!   ↴