When every day feels the same and it feels like life is has become nothing more than a monotone routine, you may be stuck in what’s called a “pandemic rut”. With not much else to do because of the threat of the virus, it’s very easy to fall into this so-called rut, especially if you are working from home.
While the dull and lifeless routine that you have now probably won’t last forever, that doesn’t make it any less demotivating. To bring back enjoyment and excitement into your life again, here are some strategies on how you can get “unstuck” from a pandemic rut and move forward.
Do something new
Whether it’s changing up the interior design of your apartment or taking up online classes, bringing in something new into your life is one of the best ways to break the draining routine that you’ve fallen into. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly productive, even. As long as it gives you something new to do that you enjoy, that new hobby, class, or project should be worthy enough of your time.
Consider talking to a mental health professional
Feeling “stuck” may stem from more than just being bored out of your mind in quarantine. It may also be a symptom of a mental health disorder, particularly depression. If the feelings of demotivation, unfulfillment, and monotony have gone on for too long and won’t go away no matter what you do, consider consulting with a therapist as soon as possible.
Most of us aren’t built to be shut-ins, but this pandemic has forced us into staying more time at home than ever before. The lack of time outdoors may be a reason for your rut because, after all, there is only so much you can do at home.
Try spending more time outdoors to break your negative cycle of monotony and enjoy the psychological benefits that nature offers. Even just taking one walk every day or every few days can help reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and improve your overall mental state. More than that, heading outdoors will allow you to increase your physical activity; another challenge that staying indoors presents.
Modify your routine
Humans thrive off of having a routine. It helps us build good habits and take more control over our lives. But sometimes, the excessive structure can make life feel repetitive, boring, and demotivating.
Try changing your routine to “shake things up a bit” and help you escape from Groundhog Day. For example, sign up for an online class to help your brain see things from a new perspective. Or maybe try waking up thirty minutes earlier to squeeze in a new step into your morning routine. Big or small, making changes to your routine can be very effective at bringing back excitement into your everyday life.
Start a project
Feeling as if you have nothing to work towards is a common woe of people stuck in a rut. Even if you’re hitting your deadlines at work or submitting all of your assignments, these little accomplishments may no longer feel satisfying after doing them for so long—and mainly because you are expected to do so.
That said, now may be the perfect time to start a passion project—no deadlines, just small, actionable goals. It can be anything that you feel the motivation to work towards, perhaps a painting, a car upgrade, an embroidery piece, or just about anything that you want to do as long as it brings you joy and contentment.
Having something to look forward to may seem like a distant feeling during a pandemic, but there are still a lot of things that you can plan for despite the current situation. The anticipation for an awaited event may be just what you need to feel more motivated and in control of your life than you are now.
Pencil in plans into your calendar, whether it’s something big like a long vacation after the pandemic or something small like a weekend hike to the woods. Either way, having something to look forward to can help you look beyond the short-term and feel excited about the future.
We’re not going to be in a pandemic forever, but while we are still in this situation, it’s important to make do with what we’ve got. However, this doesn’t mean going through the same day over and over again. While waiting for things to go back to normal, employ these strategies to get yourself unstuck from the monotonous cycle of pandemic life.