Dig yourself out of a rut!

We all feel stuck in a rut sometimes. It just takes a moment, a sideways glance at our life, to notice the same old day after day or regular weekly routine – and it feels dull all of a sudden. What we need is a change!

Perhaps we suddenly can’t remember the last time we went out to socialise in the evening. Or we realise that our social life follows a pattern of the same things on a specific day or night of the week without variation or addition. We can all get used to, and be bored by, having a social life organised around the invitations of family and friends. Or, feel that a friend or partner leads the way in decisions about what constitutes a good day or night out. In such circumstances, who could be blamed for wanting a bit more independence, or a change, at least once in a while. Any of us could find ourselves in any of the above circumstances, in a couple or individually and regardless of whether we are in a relationship.

However, people who live alone often withdraw from social activity that they would have to embark on alone, for all manner of reasons. These are usually to do with perceptions about being seen to be, and judged for, being alone in a society where couples are the norm. But this can be equally true for example in the case of the “single spouse”, whose partner works away from home all week; the retiree left at home alone during the day for the first time; or the single parent whose children have recently flown the nest. Because of their reluctance to socialise without a partner or regular companion by their side, solos all too often fall into a deep-sided rut.

Whenever I feel as if I’ve got myself in a rut I make a list of possible changes (small, medium and large) and then set goals to achieve them. For example, last summer I decided to learn how to meditate through an online course, which gave me a new and rewarding practice – and something to build into my morning routine. To help and inspire individuals or couples to dig a way out of a perceived rut, I’ve given suggestions for change in 4 categories below.

Change a routine
• The regular route and/or transport choice for a specific journey. Perhaps include walking for part of the route. When I lived and worked in London, I regularly changed my tube train route, or got off a stop earlier and walked the rest of the way via St James or Green Park, in order to make sure I saw the seasons changing.

• Any regular mealtime choice such as when, where and what to eat, and maybe who, if anyone, to eat it with. These days, the popularity of fasting means choosing to miss certain meals and/or not to eat at all for between 12 and 18 hours – many of them while asleep, I hasten to add.

Do something new
• Pursue a new hobby or under-used gift, skill or passion: singing, dancing, painting, crafting, designing, playing bridge for example? Internet research will help to find any appropriate groups, clubs or courses. Try Meet Up on Facebook to check what groups are organised in your area.

Do something for other people
• Support a national or local charity or cause by doing something to raise money in an individual or organised event.

• Support your community by helping to organise fetes, fundraisers or special celebrations. I support the community in which I live by directing the Christmas panto, amongst other things.

Do something challenging
• Visit a local gallery, exhibition space or concert to challenge views, values or taste. The shock of the new can be refreshing as well as startling. Invite someone else along (not necessarily a partner) – but make sure to choose the venue or event.

• Want to see a film, play, group, comedy act but not sure if it would be to others’ taste? Don’t miss out – get a ticket and go anyway, and alone.

Remember the old adage: change is as good as a rest. Look forward to change and have fun!!

Christine Ingall 25 June 2019