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What to do if You’re Stuck in a Rut This January

What to do if You’re Stuck in a Rut This January main image

Christmas is over, the weather is miserable, and to make matters worse, you probably have exams.

via GIPHY

January is traditionally the most depressing month of the year for these reasons and more, leaving many of us feeling stuck in a rut and bored of the monotony of everyday life. If you’re feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled and like every day blurs into the one before, here are some ways to perk yourself up and feel happier and more productive, fast.

Make plans to have something to look forward to

For my first trip abroad with my friend Milly, we decided to go to Dublin this month. Why January, the month of feeling skint, cold and generally a bit bleh? Because we knew we needed something to look forward to! If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, consider booking a trip – even if it’s just a day trip – somewhere new. You could also plan nights out with friends for after you’ve finished your exams, or other post-exam events to help get you through the month.

Switch up your habits

If you always wake up at the same time, and have the same breakfast, and follow the same route to uni, and do everything else exactly the same as the day before, this monotony is probably a big part of why you can start to feel a bit ‘bleh’. Try switching up your routine in some way, whether it’s leaving uni earlier or later, taking a new route, or doing things in a different order.

Get active

Those of you who (like me) hate sport will probably be groaning at this one – but it’s been proven countless times that exercise does wonders for stress levels. Spending time outdoors has also been found to have a positive impact on your mental health, so try and spend less time cooped up indoors.

Of course, January’s cold, so no one would blame you if you preferred to exercise at the gym and stay warm! While you might dread going to the gym, you’ll find you feel so much happier and relaxed afterwards, so you’d have regretted it if you didn’t go. Just don’t make the classic mistake of buying a gym membership and not using it!

Switch up your studying style

If you’re feeling behind in your studies, you’re probably feeling even more deflated and stuck in a rut, making it tempting to bang your head on the desk. To get out of a study rut, try switching up your study style with the following things:

  • Start small: clear away any small tasks that have been piling up
  • Make your notes brighter and more interesting with highlighters and flash cards
  • Take quizzes on Quizlet to make revision more active
  • Get together with friends to study and quiz each other
  • If your university has them, watch back or listen to old lectures
  • Look at the big picture: remind yourself why you want this degree, and how it will help you achieve your goals.

Get more study tips for exams here.

Take a break from social media

If there’s one thing that can make you feel worse about your life when you’re in the middle of a rut, it’s social media. Whether it’s yet another person from your school getting engaged, or someone else boasting about their amazing travels abroad, sometimes you can be left wishing you hadn’t mindlessly scrolled down your news feed. It’s difficult to resist the urge to compare yourself to others, but the easiest way to do it is to simply get out of the habit of scrolling on social media. You might find it easier to allow yourself just a 10-minute scroll a day, or to go completely cold turkey – either way, you’ll probably find you miss it a lot less than you thought you would.

Be spontaneous and get out of your comfort zone

Another factor in the way you’re feeling is the fact that you’ve probably become too used to your own comfort zone – you haven’t branched out and tried something new for a while. You don’t have to do anything drastic to help solve this, but if you can be brave and try something new that scares you, but is still enjoyable, you’ll likely feel proud of yourself and more self-assured for having done it.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

And finally, you’re feeling stuck in a rut, this might make you less productive, which can leave you becoming frustrated with yourself and sometimes create a vicious cycle. Try to give yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete everything you wanted to in a day. Also, make sure you’re taking care of yourself; getting enough sleep, eating well, and generally being kind to yourself.

Remember: you’re in control of your own happiness, and the ‘bleh’ feeling you have during a rut is just temporary. If you’re really struggling and feeling low, please talk to someone.

Have you got any tips for getting out of a rut? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina edits and publishes articles which guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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