11 Signs that you are stuck in a rut (and How to Recover)

Sometimes, feeling stuck can be overwhelming. Life seems meaningless, hours are spent by doing nothing and feeling nothing. The constant nagging to escape from reality seems like the only validating proposal. 

More often, we are completely unaware of the fact that we might be stuck in a rut and it’s normal to not notice the creeping anxiety that drives along. You are not alone! Being in a rut often makes you feel stagnant. 

The scenarios are similar to when you feel the city moving, dancing, dangling with youth and you stay put; unable to comprehend how to join, how to move forward, how to jump out of this mess and enjoy life for once, for what it is. 

A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives. It’s normal, it’s normal to be confused, but what’s not normal is to continue to live life as it is, doing what you do everyday without questioning your emotions. We realize something is unsettling but we continually skip to acknowledge its effect on our mental and physical health. 

This article will introduce you to many signs that will verbally tell you if you are stuck in a rut or not. If you eventually are, we’ll help you through it and we’ll get out of it together. 

Being stuck isn’t the end to excitement, being stuck doesn’t mean life has no meaning anymore, being stuck doesn’t mean you are all alone, repeating the routine and getting nowhere. There’s always a way out and we’ll find it together in the piece of content.

Acknowledging signs that you are stuck in a rut

Usually, initial signs of being stuck in a rut are casual like feeling bored, wanting to escape somewhere, less to no excitement for the day, unconscious judgments, etc. 

These signs and symptoms start to take a toll when things don’t change for a long time. When the anxiety of being bored begins to creep in for months. Nothing seems to move forward for you and neither do you ever plan to move forward. 

Being in a rut looks like an unhealthy routine that you cannot comprehend and get out of. Unfortunately, with increasing discomfort, you simply wait for the day to get over with. Also, do care, being in a rut doesn’t mean you stop working, you  work but just for the sake of doing it and not because it gives you joy, freedom, or a future envision. 

If you experience boredom everyday and waking up every morning seems like a chore, it’s more than evident that you are stuck badly. These signs will guide you through acknowledging your personal symptoms and signs of being stuck and how to get unstuck. 

1. You wish to escape

Escaping reality is difficult and delusional. While being stuck in a rut is not fruitful, being delusional won’t get you anywhere either. So, you must address the problem first and find validating solutions that are plausible. 

While in a rut, you don’t really imagine a vacation, you simply want to run away from your routine. ‘Anywhere’ seems perfectly fine than your current location and mental state. Thus, you day dream every day and every night to escape somewhere that doesn’t haunt you, bore you, and seclude you. 

Accepting your reality will help you move forward. However, the temporary solution must always be spontaneous. Try to ditch the schedule for a day, be mischievous, focus on your inner child, go wild. Easier said than done, right? It seems pointless to hope for something good to happen when you are stuck. 

Being stuck gives you the assurity, certainty, stability, and predictable state of mind. No matter how sad that sounds, it’s what it is! I would still urge you to be mischievous. 

  • Ditch work for the day. If ditching work makes you feel lost, take an early leave and hit the clubs to dance. 
  • Take a long ride and be lost in your own city. 
  • Don’t follow your routine and anything that includes routine. Don’t go back to your place after ditching work. Instead, go at your friends, treat yourself at a new restaurant, play games, find the inner child in you, meet dogs, etc. 
  • Actually, plan a spontaneous vacation if your budget allows it. 

2. Relishing on imaginary reality— Daydreaming constantly

Being in your headspace isn’t bad and neither is daydreaming but when you constantly daydream to escape reality, you slowly start to lose whatsoever interest in it and soon start to vanish from it.

Daydreaming is normal, we all dream about destined vacations, life partners, love stories, a different reality from time to time but it shouldn’t take you away. Bring your dreams to reality rather than suffocating your reality with dreams. 

Headspace secludes you from people, physical life, relationships, and reality. It takes you to many imaginary lands (good and bad), and a parallel universe. Given your creative mind, suddenly this headspace and your imaginary world seems more appealing than the reality that comes at you harshly. 

Mind and physical world shouldn’t be prompted separately. They should coordinate together in both worlds. While it’s not easy, you can always try to attempt to make your life more happening and dreamy similar to your dreams. 

  • Don’t day dream of an imaginary lover. Instead, stick to reality and approach people. Go on frequent dates and meet someone of your interest. Not every relationship lasts but its fear shouldn’t stop you from trying. 
  • Try to bring your dreams to reality. Of course, you cannot manifest unicorns and rainbows but you can manifest positivity and colors. Change your room and enlighten with something more warm. 
  • Changes are the only constant. Make small changes, choose a different club, drink a different beverage, try a foreign cuisine, break the cycle. 

3. Purposelessness

Everything seems meaningless, doesn’t it? It does, sometimes life is difficult and it’s almost exhausting to find happy purposes. This reminds me of a famous anonymous quote. 

—life is just so pointless and obvious. We all grow old and die one day before even turning 100. But we all try to live a decent life. 

To that someone replies, —Not a single day was predictable for me. Some days were tough, and some days were sad. But something fun always came along, every once in a while. Who knows? One day, your boring life might turn into an exciting one. 

Reference, Itaewon class.

In the end, it’s in our hands how we perceive life. We can make it repetitive or we can make it fun. Fun doesn’t always have to be loud with boosting music. It can be peaceful, it can be soothing. 

  • Change your perception about life. It can be boring and exhausting, but that can be fun, too. Right? Life shouldn’t only be about happy moments, now that’s boring. It should be sad at times, loud, exhausting, fun, scary, stimulating, happy, courageous, cowardly. It should be a complete package. 
  • Don’t shy away from tiring something new even if it scares you to initiate. Try one thing every day to allow the dopamine to kick your system, let your adrenaline pump up your system. Run and tire yourself in the morning. Invest your time knowing things, igniting your curiosity. 
  • Find happiness in purposelessness and be an absurdist. You are going to do it anyways, why not make it fun? 
  • The simplest instance is cleaning. Cleaning is boring but try doing that with blasting music and swaying dance moves. 

4. No future plans or goals

When we are stuck, the present seems stagnant and the future seems lost. Nothing interests you enough to plan an exciting future. But there’s only so much that we know. There are so many undiscovered paths that you are unaware of and that can excite you with new goals. Instead of sulking, try to know those for a change.

If your job doesn’t excite you anymore, maybe it’s time to switch and progress somewhere else. You shouldn’t pursue things that don’t ignite the spark in you. Changing your job is a big unstable decision but it opens up many unpredictable possibilities. Life’s fun when it’s unpredictable. 

The same goes with studies, love affairs, etc. Between stability and spark, always choose spark or an intermediate that allows you to live and breathe without suffocation. 

  • Break things up with your partner if things are not going to work. 
  • Switch subjects in school/college and find your muse. Don’t only pursue studies for future. Study to learn, to learn, to enjoy. Learn new, random things every day. 
  • Plan small destinations. Don’t plan for money or stability, plan for happiness and excitement. That will help you get going. 

5. Boredom

—only boring people get bored. 

Life’s only boring when you make it boring. As cliche as it might sound, we often fail to acknowledge the beauty around us because we are so stuck up in our head. Take a break and appreciate time for what it is because it won’t return. 

What bores you? Simple, avoid things that bore you and try to find things that might excite you and try until you find them. Never stop trying. Attempting in itself is quite productive. To be honest, I get bored all the time but you know what I do? I switch to random things. 

I learned we don’t need to attempt big things or big changes to feel progressive. They can be just as small. Changes are changes. I tried investing my time into finding something new. 

And guess what? I learned that I enjoy learning new languages. There are countless languages in the world for me to be invested in. When I do get bored of it eventually, I can always find new hobbies. 

6. Relying on the routine too much. 

Schedule gives stability but when that stability starts to eat you, you need to change your priorities. It’s OK to rely on a routine but only as long as it comforts you; not as the last resort. People stuck in a rut often continue to live in rut to avoid situations that might get even worse. 

Suppose you are stuck at a job that you don’t like but it gives you money and stability. Without it, you might lose sanity but you might find something more worthy. We never know until we courageously try. Worse to worse, you will dance on the streets for a living. I would rather dance than be stuck in a hellhole of a job. 

7. Disconnected and envious

You lose contact and envy people who are probably not stuck like you. You dream to have what they do, but you are not ready for changes just yet. Seeing people free and living puts you off because you dream of it. 

Social media can manipulate you into believing people are better than you. Don’t compare your lives to theirs. You are beautiful just the way you are and you should appreciate your existence. Instead of focusing on others, focus on yourself. 

Love yourself just a little more everyday physically and mentally. 

  • Appreciate your uniqueness. Appreciate the smallest things. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet and focus on exercising. Treat yourself more often with foods that you like. 

8. No motivation

When you don’t enjoy life and its aspects, motivation and inspiration jumps off a fatal death. It’s not uncommon to experience no motivation to start your day, deal with life and go back to sleep with no excitement whatsoever. 

Find your muse. Play with colors, listen to music, write about your writhing tired heart, humm poetries, indulge in sports, studies, and whatever interests you the slightest. If it helps, make a to-do list of what you enjoy the most. If you like animals but can’t afford one, visit dogs/cats cafes. 

If you enjoy painting but don’t know to paint, try stroking the brush nonetheless. There are infinite muses and you can pick a new one every day. 

9. You cancel plans.

How many times have you cancelled a plan without actually wanting to? Or how many were willing to go but did not have the energy? When stuck, we often prefer to prolong the misery and stay put. Instead, go out, don’t just cancel plans but plan new plans with friends, family, or even alone.

10. You don’t get excited or thrilled

After acknowledging that fact that you indeed are stuck in a rut, you try things out but see no difference. You find trying new things already exhausting and you lose the muse before even starting. While being stuck, we disregard and contemplate a prejudice for everything. Leave that mindset behind. 

Stick to the probability that this might really be changed. Keep trying until you finally find something even remotely exciting. Until then, don’t stop.

If nothing works, make ‘trying’ your new muse. 

11. You are mostly nostalgic and living in the past

Without our past, we cannot map out our presents and futures but the past must remain past, it shouldn’t engulf your present. If you find yourself reminiscing about the past more than usual, you probably miss the time when things were greener. 

It’s OK to remember things that made you happy. Believe in yourself and in the fact that things turn around beautifully and your present can be just equally beautiful. 

How to get out of rut?

It’s not difficult to get out of a rut if you make up your mind. You don’t have to extremely force yourself with difficult changes. Choose your pace and comfort before anything, but don’t give up.  

Start with realizing the fact that you are in a rut and map out ways that will help you out. These can include the smallest of things, things that you enjoy whole heartedly. Start with little steps and appreciate every change you make. Appreciation is the key to self-motivation. We’ll discuss a few easy ideas to get you out of rut, you can choose which ones suit you the best. 

  • Keep yourself healthy: Breaking the routine is one thing but staying healthy is utmost necessary. You need to be physically healthy to help aid your mental state. Eat healthily, sleep well, follow skin-care, take lavish baths, etc. 
  • Head outside everyday: Nature is beautiful. Believe me, it’s more beautiful than the room you are laying low. Nature is full of inventions, beautiful man-made inventions, and striking outside life. Look around yourself and witness the ever changing life. Enjoy the lightened up city, cold breeze, moon, and people. Head outside everyday. 
  • Be happy with or without purpose: You shouldn’t need a purpose to be happy, remember that. Life is a gift and whosoever gifted it you, wished for you to enjoy it with and without purpose. So, don’t spend thinking about the purpose of every action that you make or that you need to do. If you enjoy it, that’s what matters.
  • Live the present and don’t over calculate the future: Sometimes we get too far in the future with our imagination. When things don’t go as planned, we get sad. Live and enjoy the present, future can be handled when it comes. 
  • Work on yourself: Invest extra time on yourself and find things that you enjoy. Polish your skills, dress yourself up, wear makeup if you’d like, go shopping, discover new things, visit natural glories, go stargazing with a telescope. 
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t pressurize yourself with expectations. Bail perfectionism and enjoy your flaws, mistakes. 


It’s normal to reach out for help if you are unable to get out of a rut. In the end, you decide what suits you better and how you can help yourself. Love yourself enough to heal yourself. It’s frustrating to hear people judging you all the time, it’s difficult to have your feelings tossed around like nothing. 

It’s best to stay away from people that don’t consider your feelings and emotions. If you are still unable to get unstuck of this mess of a rut and face anxiety, restlessness, dullness often, you may need professional help. 

Again, asking for a professional mental administration is normal, don’t think otherwise. If unnurtured, these symptoms will soon lead to depression which is more serious than one can imagine. 

So, love yourself everyday just a little more. 

How are you dealing with getting out of a rut? Let me know!

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