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I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt stuck in a rut. One definition of this is “a boring lifestyle that never changes”. I certainly have experienced that feeling, sometimes after periods of extended inactivity, but other times even when relatively busy. It can feel somewhat boring when life seems too predictable, or even frustrating when it produces feelings of lethargy. This is bringing to mind the phrase “a change is as good as a rest”. This was a saying that my old mother used to quote years ago, and these days I’m beginning to realise more and more how important small changes really are. Big changes are also useful at times but sometimes can feel overwhelming and may not be right for everybody depending on
individual circumstances. I tend to think of myself as a slightly restless person who needs variety in order to feel challenged and fulfilled in life.

Did you know it is possible to get burnout from feeling totally “stuck in a rut”? Clearly, though, some of us need a lot more variety in routine than others. Familiar routines can be very comforting, particularly if we’re feeling stressed or overworked. I found this to be the case when I was struggling with feelings of loneliness and loss after a close family member died.

Sometimes making small changes can help the day feel more purposeful and enhance a feeling of control. I remember deliberately choosing to go on a slightly different route to and from work, and finding the journey felt better. Also, sometimes I choose to go out first thing on a shopping
spree for me, rather than finishing household tasks first. The “going out first” felt a bit liberating and ran counter to my usual habit of chores first, outings second.

Here are some suggestions for a variety of changes, large and small, which might help if you feel in need of a change.

  • Stay in bed a bit longer/get up earlier to do something meaningful
  • Try a new game or puzzle
  • Cook/eat something different
  • Listen to the radio or a podcast, or maybe a different type of music
  • Do things in a different order than your usual schedule, e.g., walk at a different time of day
  • Volunteer (or cut down a bit on voluntary work if overtired)
  • Take up a new hobby/sport/exercise programme
  • Visit somewhere new for a short break/go on a day trip
  • Use a different mode of transport, e.g. ride on a bus or train and consider the surroundings from this different perspective
  • Do something different which shows kindness to others
  • Research different skills (library, online?) and see what appeals
  • Learn a new skill/join a class/choir/sport group/art group/voluntary group etc
  • Try visiting the library and taking out a different type of book
  • Change of pace – for example, deliberately take longer to complete something (enjoyable) or try a quicker way to finish it

Rachel Honeyford

I work by providing a safe, confidential space where people can bring their feelings and thoughts and work at their own pace. My aim is to be supportive and compassionate while helping people see aspects of their situation they haven't already considered. I aim to adapt my approach to every unique individual's particular wishes, needs and circumstances. For example, I offer the opportunity to work creatively and/or look at past experiences or how someone thinks and feels in 'the here and now'.

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