In these times of economic trouble, less social mobility, and an atomised society that tends to spend more time interacting online than in person, it’s too easy to find yourself stuck in a dead-end with no apparent escape. Job satisfaction is lower than ever, and even education can no longer be guaranteed to offer economic and spiritual freedom.
At some point, everyone feels stuck in a rut. Whether it’s the mundane routines we perform daily that eventually lose all meaning, a lack of purpose, creativity, inspiration, or even a dislike for ourselves that restrains us from doing the things we’d really love to. We all need color and variety in our lives, and a lack of it can grind us down to a mental bluntness that leads to depression, stagnancy, and detachment.
There’s no shame in feeling this way, and indeed, sometimes the first hurdle is gaining the glimmer of hope that life can be better, and acting upon it. If you can get to that point where you’re willing to try, however, there are things you can do that will blow away all of your negativity, and re-inspire new ways of living, change the things that tire you, and ignite your personality once again.
It is often the things which we don’t notice holding us back. The drab, familiar environments we spend our time in may seem irrelevant, but they have a great, unconscious hold over us that can only be realised when we move away from them. To travel is to be open, and to be vulnerable. It disconnects us from material things, while reconnecting us with the importance of our environment.
Whilst it may seem daunting to travel, particularly when you have no place to go, there are plenty of options out there for a spontaneous, relatively secure, and interesting trip. Not every holiday has to follow the formula of beach side hotel and tourist-trap tours. Look around and you’ll find unique experiences like expenses-paid mystery breaks, communal volunteer trips, or even desert traversal in a rentable RV.
Though it can get boring to constantly hear about the benefits of physical activity, as well as sometimes seeming like the most easily-delayed activity, being physical – in any manner – is often the root of many problems people have. There’s an endless amount of evidence to show that simple physical activities greatly affect our mental stability and creative thinking, though it is easily-ignored when we actually think about why we’re sad, angry, or bored.
Not only is physical activity important, hugely beneficial, and key to getting out of a rut, it also reconnects us with the world around us, and ourselves as physical beings. When it is all-too-easy to be down on ourselves, seeing only flaws, and no value to our lives, feeling once again that we’re physical beings in a natural world, valuing sensations as much as thoughts, can be some of the most liberating moments we experience in life.
Sometimes you need to escape a little, and sometimes you need something to provoke a line of thought, other times you need something that’ll spark up a flame of emotion in your heart. Art can do all of this, and more. Never underestimate the change of mood and thought that a great album, movie, or book can bring about.
The power of art is such that it can jolt you out of even the most heavy state of mind. It can remind you of beauty really is, and set of ways of thinking that you would never have had performing the same old tasks day-in, day-out. As something that takes little to no effort, it’s the first thing to try, as an artless life can feel very empty indeed.
Often the key thing when getting stuck in a dead end is the company you keep. Whether it’s the same old faces, or not many faces at all, meeting, engaging, and forming deep bonds with people is crucial to life. Charity work is without doubt one of the best ways to meet people in the spirit of goodness, openness, and genuine connection. United by a common goal, people who reach out don’t just value themselves more, but value universal human virtues more.
These are just some of the things that can reinvigorate a life and open up doors where there were once only dead ends. Trying to achieve something noble, spiritually enriching, or mentally stimulating often involves getting out of your comfort zone. It can be a process, or it can happen with one momentous experience, but the first step always has to come from within. Remember that there is always more than world beyond what you can see and recognize, and that even when you feel you’ve seen it all, the world is full of surprises.