Feeling Stuck in a Rut? Change the Scenery

Have you ever felt stuck?  Have you ever had so much to do it’s hard to figure out where to start?  This is where I found myself this week. 

I love daily rhythms and routines.  As creative and spontaneous as I may seem, I work best under structure.  Even toward the end of long family vacation, I find myself craving the normalcy of my daily rhythms and getting back to my “normal” eating, exercise and daily schedule.  However, there are times in my daily routine practices, I can feel overwhelmed – especially when I have a lot to do.  I lack motivation and creativity to get tasks done.  That being said – I had a lot to do this week.  I found myself scattered and overwhelmed by what needed to get done and trying to figure the order of importance of how I planned to tackle the tasks of the day and week.  

As I stood in my kitchen, I realized that the first thing I needed to do was to take a walk to clear my head and to get my body moving.  The second thing I needed to do was to spend some quality time with Jesus and allow Him to speak into my day.  Now you might find it funny that I’d walk first and then read my Bible, but I find that my time spent walking is part of my spending time with Jesus.  I consider my walks to be contemplative. It is a time to pray and think about what is going on in my life. 

Although I felt stuck in a rut, I wanted to be productive, I needed to start my week off right and get things done.  After my walk I decided to pack up my Bible, journal, pen and notebook – instead of my computer.  I found a quiet spot on a picnic bench at the beach.  It was in this spot where I had the quiet space to clear my mind and to experience the gentle presence of the Lord.  I was then able to plan my day and week. I also wrote down some goals for the rest of the year as well. 

I know not everyone lives right by a quiet beach – but as I travel around the U.S. I am amazed at the beauty of our country.  I find beauty and inspiration from nature like a mountain or a dessert as well as a lit-up skyline from a big city.  The point is to change your scenery – it can be at a park, or in a coffee shop.  Go somewhere that you can get creative juices flowing.

Here are the usual ruts I find myself stuck in and how I try to stay “out of the rut”:

HOMESCHOOL RUT: As a homeschooling mom of 3, this principal is helpful for our homeschool routine as well.  When my kids do their schoolwork at dad’s office, a coffeeshop or a library instead of at home it  helps change my their focus and helps them to be more productive.  Sometimes they get their schoolwork done in a fraction of the time because they HAVE to be quiet in the library.  I usually tell them we can go to the beach or park after.  The change in scenery is a much-needed reset to our sometimes exhaustive homeschool routine.   

WORKOUT/DIET RUT: Anytime I get sick of walking my 3-mile loop around my neighborhood, or I feel unmotivated – I get in my car and drive to a different place to hike or walk.  Or I mix it up with a completely different work out like a swim in the ocean or even a hard but short HIIT workout.  Anything to keep moving and help me stay on track with my goals.  When I am stuck in a diet rut, instead of focusing on what I am craving and what I can’t have, I go to the store and buy the biggest fresh piece of salmon, fresh veggies and a really good olive oil to make a good homemade dressing.  Instead of breaking my diet and focusing on what I can’t have – I focus on what I can have and indulge on that.  It’s amazing that the craving for ice cream is usually gone after a big fat juicy piece of salmon.  

SPIRITUAL RUT: My spiritual routine consists of morning prayer, bible reading and planning for the day at the kitchen table with a giant cup of coffee.  I try to do this before my kids wake up.  But doing my spiritual practices out in nature instead of my kitchen can be extremely uplifting for my soul.  I have been using the “Sacred Ordinary Days” journal and it has been a life-giving resource for my spiritual growth.  You can check that out here.

I also love finding a new worship song and playing it on repeat.  I even enjoy sitting at the piano for a while with no agenda, no practicing scales, nothing, but singing and playing for pure enjoyment. 

MENTAL RUT: I am reading “Soundtracks” by Jon Acuff.  It talks about the limitations we put on ourselves because of our overthinking.  This book has challenged my thinking on how to think.  I find reading a good book or listening to a podcast is an excellent way to get my creative juices flowing and gives me some “out of the rut” thinking for my life.

TAKE A DAY OFF: Finally, I find that sometimes taking a day off is necessary.  Sometimes, the reason why I’m lacking in motivation, creativity or experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed is because I am tired and worn out and need to rest.   Interestingly enough there are several different ways to rest (but more on that later).  Give yourself grace and freedom to take a day off – it might do you a world of good. 

These are just a few helpful practices that I do in order to remain disciplined in my routines.  I hope they can help you or inspire you to think of your own rut -breakthroughs when you feel stuck.

Where do you feel stuck?  What are somethings that you do to help boost motivation?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

May you have a productive week!

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