How To Get Out Of A Rut

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when one has enormous financial commitments. Moreover, if you have cabin fever, it will be compounding any feelings of stagnation as this fresh snowstorm moves in. Many of us are afraid to take a vacation or even lunch breaks. Some of us feel we can’t leave our jobs because of hefty student debt. It’s tempting to approach a certain age or milestone and resign with a sigh, thinking “this is it”.

It doesn’t have to be, however. Even the slightest actions or chance meetings can trigger profound alterations in your life.



Even if it’s for an hour, completely focus your attention on something different. When I need a jolt of mental refreshment, I visit a bookshop and buy a magazine on a subject about which I know barely anything: cars, cooking or sports. Delving into an alternative world for a brief period with a cup of tea can freshen your perspective considerably. (And you may find out why your brakes are squeaking or why your soufflés never rise!) Stalking the stacks, browsing all the new titles gives a little relief from writer’s block. The five-dollar rack at Kingston’s Barnes & Noble gives me ideas for my radio show.

Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Just exposing yourself to new architecture can be an inspiration.

Try preparing a meal you’ve never eaten before.

Look for another job or your dream job, even if you have no intention of taking it. You could go as far as attending a couple of interviews or just dig out your resume and update it with new qualifications and accomplishments like promotions. Having a resume ready in the top drawer is a powerful motivator. List your ten biggest strengths and weaknesses and compare the answers to those you gave in the interview you had for your current job.

Apply for a grant. Grant writing is a skill that every business owner should master and many grants are available for women-owned businesses and new businesses in the Catskill region. Grant applications always ask for written information that is useful material for practical use in your business like marketing and advertising. If you’re feeling the disheartening gloom of cabin fever, the obligatory grant application workshops will instantly revive you. You’ll meet other business owners: get inspiration, encouragement and a fresh perspective.


It can be just as damaging to have goals that are too lofty. For example, if climbing Mount Everest is on your bucket list, you may not make it. If you have a list of goals, revise them, especially if you haven’t reached one in a long time. Make sure they’re a good mix of small, medium and large and then complete one this week. Goals are not only for the future; they are supposed to assist you not hinder you. You will feel much more rewarded if you can cross them off the list weekly or monthly instead of yearly.

If your goal is to starting exercising, begin right now with a brisk, fifteen-minute walk. Don the snowboarding pants, ski-wear, wrap up warm and take a little hike in the snow. This is where having a dog helps, because when everyone else is too busy to take a break, your dog will always be happy to rise to the challenge.


Sign up for a class or learn a new language if you’re feeling idle. In addition to meeting a new set of like-minded people, you will jump start your brain and add a new skill to your resume.

Find further activities that will stretch you. Take an advanced driving course to reduce your insurance. Join a writers’ group or a hiking club. Redecorate a room in your home; organize a closet; cancel your cable and throw out your television set. The most successful people don’t go home every night to the television.

More important than any of this: if you have a passion now is the time to embrace it wholeheartedly. Whether it’s jewelry making, gardening, dressmaking or cookery; whatever it is you need to make time for it. Without interests or passions life is so dull; take a snow day today and make a start.

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