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How to Get Out of a Rut - A Guide For Women

Getting Unstuck By: Katie Lister

January 20, 2024

Am I stuck in a rut? Where can I learn how to get out of a rut? Do you feel stuck in life, and nothing seems to change? Being stuck in a rut may feel very emotionally crippling. Despite your giving it your best effort, you can’t seem to move forward from either the same job or relationship.

Hi, my name is Katie Lister. Besides being a practicing Registered Nurse, I am the founder of Growth Gals. Getting out of a rut takes work. You must identify the problem and have an action plan. This article will give you all the information you need to get out of a rut and lead a successful life.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

How Do You Know You Are Stuck in a Rut?

Before you can learn how to get out of a rut and stop feeling blah, you must first understand how you got stuck in a rut. When you are stuck, you feel emotionally stagnated and are not motivated to do daily tasks. The days may seem the same, making you act like a zombie or you are operating on autopilot mode. Most times, it often feels like you are a spectator in your own life.

Burnout and being stuck in a rut may feel the same and can significantly affect your mental and physical well-being. You may feel demotivated when you experience challenges in both your personal and professional life. Sometimes, the feeling of being stuck in a rut may persist, and you may need professional help to rule out other mental conditions like Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

 Here are some of the signs that tell you that you are in a rut:

·       You Have No Energy

You know how to lead a more fulfilled life but have zero energy. Simple and everyday tasks like exercising and laundry feel like mammoth tasks.

·       You Neglect Self-Care

Self-care is essential for your well-being and state of mind. When we feel good about ourselves, we feel better about the world around us. When you neglect doing the things you love, it’s a huge indicator you are stuck in a rut. Going to a movie, going on a spa date, reading, and listening to music are all examples of self-love that make you feel good and better about yourself.

·       You are Stuck in a Comfort Zone

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that the only constant in life is change. The fear of change and getting out of your comfort zone can cause you to feel stuck in a rut. The desire to change things is present, but the fear of failure and the unknown limit you from doing anything. You do nothing to avoid rocking the boat and maintain the status quo.

·       You Lack Motivation

Lack of motivation is closely tied to lack of energy and self-care. You feel uninspired, disappointed, and ‘blah.’ You have no interest in former passions, hobbies, or even relationships with loved ones, whether family or romantic.

·       You Have Negative Thoughts

You are stuck in a rut when you start feeling negative thoughts creeping in. Negative self-talk will make you feel inadequate, and demotivated, keeping you from achieving your goals.

Why Are you Stuck?

Why do I feel like I’m stuck? Being stuck in a rut happens to almost everyone. Here are several reasons why you are caught in a rut:

Unhealthy Habits 

Humans are creatures of habit, and we tend to have the same solution in similar situations. For instance, you drive the same route to and from work daily. You won’t take another route because you prefer to avoid the uncertainty of the other alternative routes.

This rigid behavior is because our brain leans toward familiarity and resistance to change. The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain responsible for problem-solving and decision-making and plays a significant role in the getting stuck process. The cortex focuses on the intricacies of a problem, ignoring the broader picture. This tunnel vision blocks your ability to identify alternative solutions to an issue.


If you are the type that waits until the last minute to finish projects, the result is mediocrity. With such mediocrity, it is hardly surprising that you are stuck in a career that won’t go anywhere. Old habits die hard, and procrastination also affects all aspects of your personal life.

 Your procrastination might be in small daily tasks, but it’s a habit that will take time to eliminate. A life without anything to look forward to will make you feel unmotivated and like you are stuck in an endless loop of despair.

You Have Set Unrealistic Goals

You only have so many hours per day. If you set unrealistic and achievable goals, you will go around in circles all day and accomplish nothing. Time is precious, and being disorganized will only lead you on a wild goose chase and invite feelings of discontentment. When you can’t complete anything in a day, it takes a toll on your self-esteem and makes you feel incapable of doing anything to completion.  

The Dangers of Being Stuck

When you are stuck in a rut, like working a job you don’t like or continuing to be in a failing relationship, it’s not just your mental health that takes a hit, but your physical health too. Often you will wonder, is there something wrong with me?

Some health issues you may experience when you are stuck in a rut include:

Anxiety and Stress

Feeling stuck increases your anxiety and stress levels. Your body responds by producing more cortisol (the stress hormone), causing physical distress. You might suffer from digestive issues, increased heart rate, and tension headaches. Over time, these symptoms might develop into chronic health problems.

Emotional Issues

The emotions you undergo, while stuck in a rut, might start spilling over and manifest as depression, irritability, and lack of inspiration and motivation. These emotional spillovers can make physical symptoms even worse, creating a never-ending and vicious cycle that becomes hard to break.

Weak Immune System

Chronic stress experienced while stuck can cause a weakness in your immune system. Your body becomes more prone to infections that take longer to heal. This cycle creates despair as your failing health makes your feelings of being stuck worse.


The mental and emotional turmoil from being stuck in a rut makes sleeping difficult. You might lie in bed, your mind racing with worry and anxiety, making it hard to sleep or even stay asleep. You end up taking short naps and wake up feeling exhausted. Lack of sleep leads to lowered cognitive function, stress, and fatigue.


Get Out Of That Rut!

While you might try to avoid it, you might be in a rut. Getting stuck is a gradual spiral that you don’t see coming. When you realize that you are already attached, you can cope by:


Being stuck is not a permanent situation. However, denial can hold you hostage and prevent you from making the necessary changes. Ignoring your fatigue and lack of motivation as a passing cloud becomes an endless cycle that prolongs your misery. To start the process of getting unstuck, you must accept the situation and practice some self-compassion. Don’t blame yourself, but move on and focus on making changes.

Take a Social Media Break

Most of us are social media addicts. We log into social media apps when we wake up, all day, and before bed. It would help if you took a break from social media while in a rut, but it will not be easy for you as we are a generation that depends on social media as entertainment.

Instead of wasting hours laughing at memes or envying influencers for their seemingly perfect lives, pick up a new hobby and do something positive. In the first place, most of these social media posts are curated and not actual. Instead, use this time to figure out your sense of purpose and build a more authentic social life with real-life people.

Practice Gratitude

Your state of mind is critical to your life. Practice gratitude in your everyday life. Practice positive self-talk and affirmations to prevent yourself from spiraling into negativity. No one is coming to save you. You must practice self-love and become your best friend.

Be kind and gentle to yourself as you would a struggling friend, co-worker, or family member. It’s all about taking stock of what you have to be grateful for and taking charge of your life. Moving forward, get a new job, leave a toxic relationship, or mend a broken one.

Start small and take small steps, one day at a time. Go to a site like Unsplash and get daily motivational quotes you can download on your phone. Over time, small changes grow into significant and permanent changes.

Growth Gals Can Help You Get out of a Rut!

Are you a woman who is interested in self-improvement? Do you need to explore who you are, your values, aspirations, and inspirations? If yes, join us at Growth Gals, a community of like-minded women committed to improving themselves.

We offer support that can help you identify when you are in a rut and how to get out of it. Follow @growthgals_ on Instagram to stay updated on our support and coaching groups. Check out our newsletter and keep yourself updated with tips for self-growth. Join us now and begin your exciting journey toward getting out of your rut!


Getting into a rut happens gradually. To get out of the rut, you must know the signs. Talk to a mental health professional to rule out mental conditions. Step out of denial, take social media breaks, and practice gratitude and positive affirmations to get unstuck. Remember, getting out of the rut takes a lot of willpower. Start this New Year with positivity and change!

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