5 ways to break out of a rut

Do you feel like you’re stuck in the same old routine? In Buddhism and Hinduism, saṃsāra is the Sanskrit/Pali word for the cycle of mindlessly doing the same thing repeatedly. Usually it’s a cycle that appears throughout one’s life, and it typically involves behaviors or emotions that are unwanted. Today I am sharing 5 ways to break out of a rut.

Saṃsāra can take many forms

  • Every day, Jeff gets up, goes to a dull job, comes home, watches some sports on his TV, then goes to bed. The next day, he does it all over again. SSDD.
  • Amanda wonders whether she will ever find the right guy. She wonders, “Why do I always seem to pick the losers?”
  • Ben and Suzanne are in a loveless marriage. They used to have a lot of fun together, but as the years have worn on, they seem to just be stuck in a rut of the same boring routine, day in and day out.

What can you do if you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of the mundane?

The first step is knowing you’re stuck, and recognizing that there’s more to life than merely existing. But changes won’t just ‘happen’ – you will have to do a little work, and for some people it might be a challenge.

Saṃsāra | Jen Merkel, Lightworker

5 ways to break out of a rut

1. Variety is the spice of life

Mixing things up is an easy way to refresh your same-old routine, but it may require just a bit of creativity. You could try something as simple as taking an alternate route when driving. I personally prefer to drive on the surface streets as opposed to the highway – I find this to be much more scenic and far less stressful.

Switch up your mealtime routine by eating at the table instead of in front of the TV – and using the “good china” rather saving it for a special occasion (in case nobody told you, YOU are special enough to use it whenever you like!). Consider trying out a meal kit – it’s an easy way to ensure you’re preparing healthy meals for yourself while trying all kinds of new dishes.

Other simple ways to bring variety into your life could be dressing in an outfit you wouldn’t normally wear, ordering something new off the menu instead of the same old thing, meditating or going for a walk … the list is endless!

2. Be more mindful

Mindfulness is a form of self-care | Jen Merkel, Lightworker

By practicing mindfulness, you are blessing yourself with the gift of enjoying the present moment. Mindfulness isn’t complicated, but it can be challenging for some.

All “mindfulness” means is that you are keeping your focus on what is happening right now, rather than what happened at work today or going over your personal task list in your mind (ps – they have an app for that!)

To get started with mindfulness, try putting your focus on your senses. For example, the next time you’re walking from your car to your front door, what sounds do you hear? What do you smell? Can you feel the breeze on your skin? What’s the temperature like? Are there any tastes you can detect right now?

Instead of looking at the overall picture in front of you, key in on some details. Don’t just look at the grass – look at the blades as individual objects. Don’t just look at the tree – focus in on the texture of the bark and the way the leaves move individually.

3. Take time for self-care

[Self-care is] the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Oxford Languages

Because we lead such busy, stressful lives, self-care is more important than ever. Of course, it probably won’t happen unless we make time for it specifically. For me, that means adding it to my calendar (with a reminder notification).

Self-care can take many forms:

  • Preparing a healthy meal for yourself, or just a cup of tea
  • Putting on some soft music and cracking open a favorite book
  • Doing a 30-minute meditation
  • Taking a walk on the beach or in the park – getting out in nature and do anything!
  • Catching up with a friend by phone or over coffee
  • Turning off all electronic devices for an hour (or more)
  • Taking a nap or going to bed early
  • Enjoying a favorite hobby, especially one you haven’t done in a while
  • What else can you think of?

4. Start your day earlier

By getting an early start to the day, you have the ability to get more done. But don’t waste that extra time doing work or chores! instead, use it as an opportunity to do some self-care (see above).

Some of the other advantages early risers have over their late-waking counterparts include better overall sleep, having more energy, getting some ‘alone time’ in before your family wakes, and more time to get things done – allowing you to take your time rather than rushing through each task. Research shows that people who get up earlier tend to have improved cognitive function, so you’ll also be able to perform better throughout the day.

5. Be more positive

Negativity is contagious, and it’s pushed on us 24/7/365. Make a point to fight against negativity by maintaining a positive mindset. That means making mindful choices for your own emotional well-being. Whatever is coming at you, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it – don’t pick up that negativity and keep it for yourself! Energetically shield yourself from it, bounce it back, or simply let it roll off.

Are you spending time with people who complain, gossip, or put others down? Is your social feed filled with political controversies, upsetting news stories, or people whose posts either get your dander up or just bring you down? You have control over all of these things! Take some time to audit the messages coming at you and make any necessary adjustments. Then fill that time/feed with positive people and messages. (Follow me on IG, for example!)

Bonus tip: Watch fewer reality and true crime shows, and more romance and feel-good shows.

How hypnosis can help

The tips above are only a start. To make a real, lasting change you will need to reprogram your subconscious. One of the best ways to do that is with hypnosis. Learn more about my custom hypnosis programs and book a free discovery call.

It all boils down to your attitude. Remember, happiness is a choice!