Let’s talk about ruts

alone on beach

You know what I mean… Those times where you feel totally lost, completely stuck and don’t know where to go or how to get out?

We all have them.

They can be lonely and scary sometimes. So let’s talk about them. Because it’s often best during these times, and quite necessary, to hear you’re not alone. And when you know you’re not alone, it makes feeling down-and-out much less scary.

I get it. I’ve been there – in the very very recent past, in fact. I know what it’s like. Let’s be honest… It’s the worst.

Life is a series of ups and downs, highs and lows. But ultimately what makes the difference for those who are consistently happy is seeing the positive in all parts of life… Even the dark and gloomy and truly scary parts.

Sometimes for me the idea of blogging and being a part of the blog world is intimidating because so many of the ladies (and gentlemen!) of the blogging community seem to have it oh-so together. This is why for a long time I’ve just been an outsider; enjoying others’ blogs from afar but always judging my own potential contributions before I could even muster up the courage to blog for myself. And that’s what blogging is ultimately – the courage to put yourself out there. For all to see. And for many (thanks Internet ) to judge.

Part of gathering myself out of my most recent low period, was creating this blog, along with making a list of goals to attain in the upcoming year. I didn’t want them to hold the tune of New Year’s resolutions- in fact I wrote them back in November and started working towards some then. (Y’all- I taught myself to crochet!)

So for me, the first thing I did was write out some things I wanted to accomplish that I thought I could manage, to start to make a dent in working on myself immediately – read a book a week, learn to crochet, shoot more portraits, etc. I started with little things that I knew I could sit myself down and begin to complete. And you know what? Very often the best way to get your butt in gear is to start with the small steps. I can attest for myself – finishing a new book felt good and so did the tiny square of fabric I made! (Even though it doesn’t have much use and is a bit off, I still did a thing!)

No lifeguard

I am (working) to make a career out of my creative passion of photography. Another thing that often helps me when feeling uninspired is to simply create. I know you may say you’re not the creative type, but we all have some creative spark in us! We just have to let it out, or at least give it a shot. I promise going to that pottery place in the mall and just spending an afternoon focused on painting away will make you feel at peace. And when you get your shiny new mug back you’ll be able to smiling knowing you did that yourself!

Of course I would be fooling myself if I didn’t say having a support system of people you love, and above all else trust, around will also help beyond measure. If you are living somewhere new and don’t know many people yet (maybe because of your rut?) Take this time to create a supportive community around yourself. Hey, maybe you’ll meet a new friend while you’re painting your pottery! I promise having at least one person in your life who you feel like you can trust to listen to you without judgment, but with an open mind and open heart will make everything a million times more bearable.

Another thing that always seems to help me is treating my body well. I’ve found when I get out and get moving I tend to feel restored afterwards. There’s usually no better instant therapy for me than a sweaty run. Or even just getting out to take a walk around the block for some fresh air really helps to clear the head. I also know for me, yoga and guided mediation definitely help. I have spent time searching for the things that work best for me. There’s tons of activities out there to help you get up and moving. Sometimes the search to find what clicks for you is part of the fun! Heck- even putting on some feel-good music and dancing around your room is great! And be free with it- no one is watching!

Of course there’s also no finer way to make yourself feel better than to treat your body with kindness by feeding it the good stuff – I’m not talking go on a diet or change your life plan. But some extra veggies at every meal and less processed foods can truly do a body and mind well.

Ocean Grove beach

A suggestion a dear friend of mine recently told me she uses when she’s feeling dejected is to sit down make two lists – One filled with the things you love about yourself, and the other being things you want to change. I’m sure we can all endlessly list things in the latter but let’s focus on the good qualities you already possess – maybe you’ve been neglecting to remember them but they are most certainly there. It’s always nice to remind yourself of the good in you.

Finally, if this rut is a bit more then just a temporary slump you should never feel bad about reaching out to a professional for help. Talk to a trusted teacher or your school councilor. Usually these people have experience with these things and know just what to do and how to help. It’s important to remember needing help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s just you, taking care of yourself.

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