Ruts are sticky and hard to get out of. They do what it says on the tin. Whether it be work, college, relationships, life en general - they constantly loom before us and we tend to fall face-first into them like a pile of bricks. Getting out a rut can be quite difficult and they can feel never-ending but the sheer feeling of euphoria at the end of the Rut Tunnel can be extraordinary.
Whenever I find myself stuck in a situation wherein I feel low, painfully lazy, unenthusiastic or just downright miserable, I frantically look for some inspiration and encouragement to help me climb out of what can seem like a deep hole of "Ughhhhh".
I find myself in these situations constantly. Suffering from depression means ruts come at you regularly and learning to get over them, through them and past them can be mentally and physically exhausting; there are certain things I've noticed that I do anytime I've felt particularly down and 'not bothered with life' - particularly when it comes to my job and my general work ethic.
Most of the reliefs from ruts for me are creative in some shape or form, usually; they tend to involve my interests - whether it be fashion, literature, history, film and so on. I tend to look at what I love to remind myself what JOY and EXCITEMENT can feel like and by doing that, I slowly but surely build up the strength, positivity and enthusiasm to move on.
When I find that I'm stuck in a slump, I give myself the necessary time I feel I need to dwell in it; I sleep excessively (and saunter off to college, of course), eat junk food, listen to sad boyband songs and moan at reality tv shows. Some days later when I feel somewhat better, I give myself a swift kick up the arse to get back on the swing of things.
(Please note that in certain cases it isn't always possible to get yourself out of a negative place and that further help may be needed. I know this all too well, as depression can leave you in a pool of misery for quite some time. However, I can sometimes shake myself out of what I like to call my "bad weeks" and this is what I'm referring to with the below.)
I tend to watch a lot of documentaries and series based around the working woman, the fashion industry and creatives when I feel like I need encouragement. I watched British Vogue's 'The Future of Fashion' series with Alexa Chung on Youtube each week and hearing about experiences, mishaps and advice from an array of names in the industry really boosted my eagerness to hop back on to my happy horse. Watching series based on the industry I am pursuing and want to continue to pursue a career in, can really help me if I struggle with motivation. I also loved watching Into The Gloss' live panel 'The Top Shelf' featuring one of my all-time favourite "real" bloggers, Leandra from Man Repeller. I genuinely felt refreshingly great, energised and included after watching it.
I'm a sucker for inspirational quotes, books, movies, interviews - you name it. I love words. I love that sudden epiphany you feel when something truly inspirational hits you straight in the heart. I love discovering inspirational vlogs about peoples' experiences dealing with everything from illness to relationships. I love hearing peoples' words of encouragement during a time of doubt, even if the subject of their situation isn't relevant to mine; it still helps.
If you follow me on social media, you'd know that I like to do room clear-outs.. a lot. I seem to do them every week and sometimes that is the case, depending on how I feel. Doing room clear-outs and re-organising my belongings, can really help me to feel like I'm de-cluttering my life and thoughts. I feel a sense of achievement, freshness and space afterwards. I can breathe. It's not only rewarding but it's a brilliant distraction for you to focus on and work at during a low time.
Rummaging through your wardrobe and sorting your clothes into categories (e.g 'Keep', 'Maybe', 'Give Away') may seem like nonsense but my interests and my job rely on items such as clothes and they're always around me; organising them gives me a sense of relief and I always feel super-organised. Giving your room a clean, rearranging your stuff and buying some new bedsheets can help you to feel good again - as my Mother always says: "A tidy room is a tidy mind!" and she's right.
Surround yourself with things you know make you feel HAPPY - I'm not talking about content or "grand" here, I'm talking about 'I-Can't-Stop-Smiling-Ouch-My-Face happy'. If you don't know what those things are or can't think of any, grab a pen and think long and hard. Think about it for a day, a week, a month. Really ponder on what makes you feel 100% amazing.
For example, here's what makes me feel on top of the world: Spending time with my family, my little sisters, dogs, getting lost in a book, my Nana's cups of tea, sloth videos, having a productive "work day", food in general but especially Mac and Cheese, historical documentaries, Glendalough, going to the cinema, long bus journeys listening to music, dancing, Halloween, looking up at the stars, my fashion elective in college, good hugs, swimming, music festivals, travelling, a cheeky cocktail (or three), buying new stationary, re-watching a favourite movie or tv show, art, and last but not least, having an interesting and lengthy conversation with a friend or family member.
When I feel crap, I make sure I'm drowning in the above. I tick at least 3-4 things off of the list during a week when I'm particularly struggling. It's nothing major, nothing too impossible and it is the little things that always succeed at cheering me up.
Exploring, going outside and feeling a sense of adventure are vital to me when I'm determined to get out of a rut. There's nothing I adore more than strolling around outside with my headphones on, wrapped in a cosy scarf, listening to my favourite music and feeling fully immersed in my own world and the one around me. Simply getting out of a bed and leaving your house can be a gigantic task when you're depressed and by getting out of bed, getting dressed and exiting your front door, you feel an automatic sense of achievement already.
I personally enjoy going to local parks, hopping on a bus and visiting somewhere or even heading to a museum or gallery that I've been putting off going to for months. I enjoy my own company (probably a little too much) but it is great to bring company along too, as a chat always helps. Being outside in the fresh air and seeing and appreciating the world around you can work wonders for the mind, body and soul. I'm starting to sound like a drunk Aunty at a wedding but being surrounded by nature and appreciating the air going into your lungs can make you feel awake.
My final tip is not having a pamper night, nor is it to exercise daily, get a new haircut or to read X and Y self-help books; you've all heard those tips by now and there's no point in me reiterating them. My last tip for you is to simply REMIND YOURSELF of your purpose in life and how amazing the life you lead is. It may sound slightly ridiculous but telling yourself how great life has been and could be for yourself is crucial when trying to leave a nasty rut.
When I'm feeling down, I tend to re-read comments and emails sent to me by you guys. Whenever I doubt myself, my career and where I'm going in life, I like to read over all of the positivity, feedback and support that has been sent my way from people all over the world. It makes me feel like I have purpose, it makes me realise that yes, I have helped people and it gives me strength.
I flick through old blog posts, my surgery videos and even old tweets, to remind myself WHY I do what I do and what I've achieved since I began this journey: it's important to observe all of your achievements and simply know that you are worthy of so much love and you have potential. It can help shift your mind on to the right path. Trust me when I say that we are all capable of so much in the short lives we lead and unfortunately bumps along the road can make it difficult for us to realise this. I believe it's important to know what makes you feel genuinely happy.
Your rut isn't quicksand or super glue; you will not sink into it for eternity. You can and will get out of it but you need to take note of HOW and remember it for next time. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, invite them out with you somewhere, include them, talk to them and let them know you're there. Ruts can develop into much bigger things and can escalate rapidly. We need to reach out to each other and make people aware of the help that's on offer.
If you've any advice or experiences you'd like to share, please do leave them below as I'd love to read them, as would others. I hope this post has helped some of you. Keep your head up!