We all get stuck in a rut at one time or another, feeling all uninspired and dull.
Being in a funk can be extremely frustrating, but there are things that you can do to kickstart things and get motivated again.
Here are 8 spontaneous and fun ideas for self-care that can help you get unstuck – and improve your mental wellness during difficult times.
1. Change up your look
Changing up your look can give you the boost and optimism you didn’t know you needed. Perhaps during Covid, you haven’t been upkeeping your appearance since, well, you may not be leaving the house much. There’s no shame in that! But when you make tweaks to your look, it’ll take away a sense of familiarity that may have been contributing to your feelings of tedium. Plus, you’ll feel re-energised and refreshed when you’re a brand-new you. Consider clearing or reorganising your wardrobe or going for a haircut – it can provide you with a fresh start.
2. Take up a new hobby
Life can easily become mundane when you have no expressive or creative outlets. Every day can start to feel repetitive and uneventful. Think of a hobby you’ve always found interesting but never had time to try. Always wanted to learn how to dance or bake? It’s high time to take it up to bring back some enthusiasm to your life. Who knows, you may develop a new passion or a hidden talent that you never realised you had?
3. Head outdoors
Since the start of the pandemic, it may have been more difficult to spend prolonged periods outdoors. But it’s as important as ever – maybe even more so. Research has found being outdoors can have a positive impact on the brain’s mental wellness. One study found that taking a walk in nature can reduce self-referential rumination, or repetitive thinking that’s focused on the self – a behaviour that can increase the risk of depression. Being one with nature not only increases your sense of mental wellness, but it also helps enhance creativity. The next time you’re in a rut, go out for a walk or a jog and pay attention to the world and the beauty around you.
4. Go on a digital detox
Does this statement sound familiar? “Sometimes I find myself spending hours scrolling through social media or news sites.” Especially when you’re stuck in a rut with seemingly nothing to do, this can become your go-to activity. But if your mental well-being is suffering, it may be time to break up with your news feeds.
Try going on a digital detox for a couple weeks or months (or longer) to clear your mind and focus your time on other significant things, beyond scrolling through Instagram and comparing your life to the immaculately filtered and edited lifestyles. Remember, what you see on social media is a heavily curated selection of images that show an unrealistically perfect life. Things are likely not what they seem.
Take the time off social media to appreciate your own life, too, and see the things you have going for you. Once your detox is done, see if your ideals have actually shifted and if you’re able to hear and focus on yourself better.
5. Start journaling
Writing is a therapeutic activity for many, but when you’re feeling low, journaling can help you to pour out the whirlpool in your mind into actual words on paper. You can even go one step further by getting into gratitude journaling, which involves writing down the things for which we’re grateful every day (it can be as few as five things a week).
Gratitude journaling is known to improve sleep, symptoms of illness, happiness and overall mental wellness because it encourages one to be in a positive state of mind. If you feel like you’ve nothing to be grateful for, start small and don’t give yourself pressure to force something out. As you progress, you’ll see how you’ve turned negative feelings into positive ones over time.
6. Exercise regularly
It’s no secret that exercising releases endorphins, which can make you feel good and help to destress. Doing regular exercise also gives us an outlet to sort out our minds and manage our emotions. No matter how busy you are, it’s always a good idea to set time aside to go for a run or sign up for a yoga class – anything to get your blood flowing, ease the tension in your body and increase your focus and energy.
7. Book a spontaneous trip
Looking forward to the world opening up again? Dreaming for a holiday might just be enough to get you out of that rut. Even better, you can book staycations for a little change in environment. A luxury hotel stay, a beach town getaway, an outback trip – the options are endless!
In fact, go one step further and make it a solo trip. Solo trips are said to help you get out of your comfort zone and encourage you to really discover yourself.
Originally by Cheryl Lim, July 2019 / Last updated by Isabel Wibowo