Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stuck in a Rut? Check out these Coping Strategies

It’s that sinking feeling that you know things aren’t moving in the direction you want to go and things have been at a standstill for way too long. Perhaps you feel that you made the wrong career choice, have too many responsibilities on a constant basis and no time to recuperate, your house is up for sale, but not selling due to too much competition. Whatever the reason, we’ve all been there and sometimes, all we need is to remind ourselves to be gentle with ourselves in the same way that we are kind to others.

• Where you can, find ways to extend deadlines. For example, if you have a work or school project that in your mind, you would like to have done in a week, but you have 3 weeks to complete it, give yourself an extra day or two and remember to take time out for yourself.

• Lower your standards and make your goals attainable. If you are not feeling like the Energizer Bunny and you set your intention to write 2 essays in one day, when you have a period of a month to complete them, narrow your goal down to, "I will complete 2 paragraphs of my rough draft today of my first essay."

• Help someone else. Whether it’s volunteer work or being a good listener, helping someone helps us feel reconnected and assured that we are not alone in our struggles. Not to mention, it can take our mind off of the “in a rut” feeling that can make us feel isolated.

• Find your symbol of inspiration. Whether it’s gardening, spending time with your cat or dog or listening to a song that inspires and motivates you (I like to belt out “Cool Change” by Little River Band!), whatever gives you inspiration will help give you the hope to keep going.

• Surround yourself with positive people. People that give you a happy, positive feeling, be it good friends or family can keep you upbeat in down times.

• Develop an inspirational mantra such as “How can I be less affected by this?” or “Today, I will gather knowledge that I didn’t have yesterday about reaching my goals.”

• Review your past successes. Look back at a time when you won an award or were shown appreciation, respect and praise for something that showcased your inner most talents. Imagining yourself in this situation and going back in time will help you recapture the energy that keeps you moving forward toward future successes. Begin with the end in mind and use that energy to stay on course toward that destination.

Always know that being stuck in a rut is a temporary situation and using this time to be extra gentle with yourself is a great way to come to some new epiphanies about what you really want from your life at this time as it relates to personal, academic and professional growth. For more information on this topic, visit this link.

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