135. When You’re In A Rut

In this week’s episode When You’re In A Rut, I wanted to get really real with all of you. As I have found myself in a rut since Christmas, I thought right now might actually be the best time to record an episode on: how to help ourselves get through being in a rut. I have 10 tips that I share with you today.

  1. Run to Rest, Not Avoid: The importance of intentional rest rather than using it as a means to avoid tasks.
  2. Don’t Compare: Don’t compare oneself to others, as people often don’t show their struggles.
  3. Don’t Judge the Rut: Accept your current state without self-judgment.
  4. Balance Patterns with Novelty: Highlights the significance of introducing novelty into daily routines.
  5. Talk to Someone: The value of vulnerable and honest with others.
  6. Zoom Out: Encourage you to view the bigger picture beyond the immediate challenges.
  7. Get Present: Advise against dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
  8. Save Big Questions for Later: Suggest postponing major decisions or projects until in a better mental state.
  9. Set Minimum Goals: Recommend setting achievable daily goals to maintain a sense of accomplishment.
  10. Be Patient and Compassionate: Urge patience and self-compassion, emphasizing that ruts are temporary.

When you find yourself in a rut, please be kind to yourself and maybe try implementing one of my strategies for helping yourself through being in a rut.

Get the Full Show Notes HERE

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0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone is Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 135. When you’re in a rut I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:54 Hey, everybody, how’s it going? Welcome to the podcast. I feel like my nose sounds a little plugged. So you guys will have to bear with me a little bit. Um, I just find this time of year is like I’m hot. And then I’m cold. And then I’m hot. And then I’m really cold. I think it was two degrees when I woke up this morning. But some of you missionaries out in Minnesota who are listening are like that is nothing Jenny, I’ve heard from a few of you over there via email that it feels like negative 20. So I’m not going to complain with the negative two. But all of that to say, I think my nose sounds a little plug today.

1:39 Um, I actually decided that I could maybe put this recording off until tomorrow. But tonight, I’m not like filling the awesomest. And I’m actually just a little bit tired and kind of ready to be done with the day. And I was like, you know, maybe I need to be on my A game when I record this podcast. But then I was like, You know what, I think I just want to be real with y’all. And kind of share with you how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks, which is, I feel like I’ve been in a rut. And so we’re gonna talk all about that today. And I hope to give you some good tools and some good tips and strategies. What actually happened is I feel like I was in a rut pretty much since Christmas got over. And then it’s just kind of stuck around. And then early last week, I was like, finally I feel like I’m back to normal. And then today I have this headache. And I feel a little under the weather. And so I’m like, Oh, I guess I’m back in.

2:53 So it’s almost like a perfect time to talk about this and to share with you guys. Kind of some of the tools and strategies I like to use when I’m in a rut. Because I basically it’s going to be for me too. So I sometimes just get this way in the winter. And maybe some of you are like that right now, too. I was talking to one mom who was telling me about her daughter who’s serving and they have 22 hours of darkness right now. And only two hours of daylight each day. So I’m hoping those people in that mission and other missions like that have happy lights and things like that to keep them their bodies getting the amount of light that they need. But I think that it’s just normal for many of us this time of year to sort of, I don’t know, especially after the New Year evaluate kind of where we’re at with things and how we feel about things. And after all my kids laughed at Christmas, I was kind of in this place. And I was feeling a lack of motivation and a lack of desire to really do anything. And then the more I started looking at that and judging that, the more I just started to kind of question who I was and what my purpose was. And yeah, even as a life coach, I should have all this stuff figured out. Well, you know, I have a human brain just like you do. And so sometimes we get in these ruts the way I described it to my husband, it’s almost like if I was standing right in front of a wall of some kind and there was something like some kind of painting or something on the wall that I was supposed to be able to tell what it was but I just couldn’t see it because I was so close to it. It’s like I couldn’t see past just basically what was right in front of me. And so it just felt kind of, you know, like, almost like a drudgery and I just sort of lost, you know the vision of what I want to create and all kinds of stuff. So we could call it like, a rut, we could call it a funk is sometimes what I call it, like,

5:10 I’m just in a funk, or sometimes we could call it it was funny, I was talking to my coach. And the first thing I said, when I got on there as I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve been on a roller coaster. And but then I was like, but you know, what would maybe be more accurate as if I called it a lower coaster, or roller coaster, but lower, like, just lower vibrations of emotions is what I had been feeling a lot of, you know, emotions, again, none, never wrong thoughts, never wrong feelings, just thoughts and feelings that we feel from time to time. And I was feeling a lot of them that didn’t feel as good.

5:49 And so the question is, is, what is the best way? Or what are some of the best tools to sort of help yourself through these times when you feel like you’re in a rut? And what are some of the ways that you can sort of be with yourself, and maybe some ways to help you kind of move through it, and come out the other side, okay. Now, I think these ruts can happen. For a lot of reasons, I think that sometimes we just get sort of in this mundane place, right? We’re just doing the same thing every single day. And so it just starts to feel like well, I don’t, you know, I’m not seeing any, maybe traction, maybe with our goals or whatever. And so we’re like, I’m just tired of doing this. I think it could be you know, physiological, even right with our hormones. And with chemicals in our body and things like that. It could also be environmental kind of with me, sometimes with the weather. Sometimes I think we get in these ruts or these lower coasters,

7:00 when we have a super high high. And then it’s funny how our body wants to kind of, and our minds want to bring us back to more of like a homeostasis or an even place. And so sometimes our brain or body will sort of overcompensate. So if we’ve been on a high high, we’ll kind of experience this lower low right after that. And so I think there’s a lot of reasons that this can happen, it can happen when we have a big transitional time. It can happen when we have a big change in our lives, right. So maybe we’ve just gotten married, and it’s this wonderful, beautiful thing. And then we kind of come home from our honeymoon. And it’s just like, oh, and now we’re just in this mundane, day to day or after you have a baby or after you get home from your mission. Right? All of these things give us an opportunity to sort of whether we like it or not kind of bring about this feeling where we’re on in a rut and have a hard time. You know, feeling the way that we want to feel or moving forward.

8:08 Especially when you think about it, like this analogy, like I told my husband where it just feels like there’s just this wall right in front of me. And I can’t even make out what I want to do next, or how to get rid of this wall or anything, it just kind of feels like you’re right in the middle of it. So um, I’m going to share with you 10 things that kind of to think about or to do or to try or to not do when you’re in a rut. So the first one is, is run to rest, rather than avoid doing so this was sort of an Aha I had a few weeks ago. Because, you know, on this podcast, I talk so much about rest and the importance of rest, and how in our society now and in the world, and sometimes on our missions, we really start to value our worship work, which is important, but it’s also our bodies and our brains need rest from time to time. And what I started noticing myself doing was I was avoiding doing things rather than indulging in rest. So there’s sort of a difference. So let me explain. So let’s say I needed to write an email. Okay. So, in my mind, I’m like, my brains, like, oh, that’s gonna be hard. We don’t want to write an email. Let’s not do that. And then we avoid it. Okay, so we’re avoiding doing that email, but I also was taking a nap instead. So I’m actually resting but what I try to tell myself as Oh, I just need to rest. But what I’m actually doing in that rest is just avoiding what I’m supposed to do. So it’s definitely a fine line and you’re the only One that’s going to know like, is this an intentional rest that I’m running to, like a rest that’s going to be rejuvenating? Or is this just me avoiding either feeling, a feeling I don’t want to feel, or avoiding doing something that I know that I need to or want to do, okay? So be aware, give yourself in kindness and love the rest that you need, especially when you’re in a rut. But it might start to backfire on you is if you continually choose rest, at the expense of doing something that you need to get done. So maybe it’s where we start to split the time, like, I’m gonna intentionally rest here, and I’m going to intentionally sort of make myself feel uncomfortable and do this other thing, like workout or whatever it is, okay? But I’m not going to avoid working out just to continue to rest. Okay, I hope that is clear. But number one is run to rest or reward yourself with rest, be kind to yourself with rest, but don’t use it as a way to avoid doing what you need to do. Okay? Number two is don’t compare, especially when you’re in a rut, okay? What happens is, we’re in a rut, and we look around at everybody who’s meeting their goals, and who’s motivated and who’s showing up on social media, and who’s getting all of the baptisms and who’s just landed their, you know, favorite, most desired job that they’ve ever had, or who just got into nursing school, or whatever it is, if you can, at all costs do not compare. Because most people don’t show you when they’re in a rut. That’s why I thought it would be valuable for me to share with you that I have been, we don’t see people’s rats, we don’t see people’s lower coasters, we usually see them, when things are going really well for them. The exception might be someone that you’re really close to. The exception might be if you’re teaching a friend on the mission, sometimes we see their ruts or their places where they’re stuck. But number two, just don’t compare. Wherever sometimes I think of to the rut that we’re in, is that our brain and our body knows, like we need a break. Like we need to rest, like we need to slow down. And so that’s when it sort of comes around is because it’s what we actually need. So just trust that where you are is where you’re supposed to be. That leads me actually to number three, which is don’t make your rut wrong. Okay, and it might sound like this to you. Like, we’re I shouldn’t be in a rut, or I wish this route was over. So we’re not going to judge where we’re at. We’re not going to judge how we’re feeling. And we’re not going to judge how we’re getting through that rut or how we’re coping. So if you’re not going to judge where you’re at, you’re just gonna be like, Okay, I guess this is where we are today. I guess I’m still in the rut, you know, and that’s okay. And if we’re not going to judge how we’re feeling, maybe we’re feeling anxious, and I have felt a little bit more anxious over the last three weeks than would be, quote unquote, typical for me. We’re not going to judge that either. We’re gonna be like, okay, so I guess anxiety is part of the red or I guess discouragement is part of the RET, or I guess, disappointment is part of the RET, and that’s okay. We can do that. We can do those feelings. And don’t judge how you’re getting through or coping, okay? Because people will say, Well, you should just go on a walk, or you should just go to the gym. And we have all these ideas about, quote, unquote, good ways to cope, or quote, unquote, not good ways to cope. But don’t judge any of it. You just whatever feels like restful and nourishing and kind to yourself. That’s what you should be doing to take care of you and to get through and cope. Okay, number four. Remember, your brain likes patterns. We’ve talked about this a lot about how, you know, it will choose a thought it wants to continue to believe that thought because it’s easy to just stay in that pattern of belief, rather than change the way that you’re thinking or viewing something. It also likes patterns in our day to day. It’s a way for our brain to know what to expect. But number four is your brain likes patterns, but it also likes novelty. Okay, so if you see yourself like maybe even on the mission, I think that we could be particularly prone to this as like, we’re just doing the same thing. Every day we get up we do our Exercise, we do our study, and then we just have appointments, right? And it can start to feel really like a pattern or very mundane. So if you can see if you can shake it up a little bit, like, can we do our study in a different place? Can we go to the park? Can we can we do it in a different way. And if you’re not like feeling the brain power, if you’re in this rut, kind of like I was standing in front of that wall, like to even see outside of it, or be creative enough, awesome that you have a companion or a friend, be like, Hey, how can we change this up? How can we change up our study? How can we change up our exercise? How can we change this up a little bit, maybe change the order a little bit, or go back and forth between the two or whatever we need to do to introduce that little bit of novelty, that will help you if you’re in a rut. Number five is to talk to someone. So I think it just can be really useful to talk to somebody to be vulnerable, and to be truthful about what’s going on for you. Here’s what I love about that. Number one, when we say things out loud, it sort of helps us on it, and like have love and compassion for ourselves. It also gives someone else the ability to tell us like we’re doing fine. And that’s okay to be where we are. My husband has actually gotten really good at this, where he will just be like, Hey, you’re having a bad day. Okay, totally fine, I’ve got you, it makes sense that you’re having a bit bad day, we all have them. Okay, and so that can be really validated. Here’s the other thing that is awesome about talking to someone about it, is it gives other people the permission to also be in a rut.

16:56 It’s like, Hey, look at where I’m at. So, if you’re ever there, too, it’s okay. The more we’re honest and vulnerable and truthful about where we just are, the more permission we give to other people to be honest and truthful about where they are. And I can’t think of something like more connecting, than being vulnerable in that way, and being open and authentic. So number five is talk to someone. Number six is to zoom out, I want to share with you a story that happened over the last few weeks when I was sort of in a rut. And I live in this suburb of Boise, a little smaller town right outside of Boise. And I was running a few errands. And when I got up in the morning, it was completely foggy. I there was no sunshine, there was no blue sky. It was like I was like oh, here we are. This is what a rat feels like K. And here we are again. And we’re sort of in this mundane place where I’m still not feeling awesome and and then as I drove up into another part of town meridians, actually where I was driving up through, as I came up the hill, there was no fog, in Meridian. And I just thought that that was such a good analogy for me for that time, is like even though I’m right here and feeling all of these feelings and having all of these thoughts and not feeling on my A game and feel like I’m on this lower coaster, right? It’s not the truth of what is actually out there. It’s not the truth of what my life actually is. And I’m having a hard time seeing what it actually is because of the fog. But if I can get outside of the fog, if I can see the bigger picture, there is like blue sky and sun. Okay, and that was just so good for me to know, I actually had this other experience over Christmas actually, where I put a little dishwasher pod into the dishwashing machine and I happen to like rub my eye very inadvertently without rinsing my hands and I had no idea that the little pod things the plastic on him. Were so dangerous for your eyes. I just had no concept of that. I mean, I knew if I swallowed it that would be bad but or if it like had popped open that would be bad. But apparently just the film outside on the outside can be really harmful to so I started noticing that night that my one right eye. If I covered my left eye was completely blurry. It was like I was in a fog. So of course we called our friend who’s an eye A doctor and he he told us all the things to do. And by the next morning, after doing tons of eyedrops, it was totally fine. But it was all that night when one eye was clear as I looked out of it, but then when I covered that eye and looked out the other eye, it was completely blurry, like I was in a fog. And again that blurriness was not the truth of what was existing in the room, there was no fog in the room. But it was just like the lens through which I was seeing things. And this can be true when we’re in a rut, too, if you can just bring yourself to see outside of it a little bit, you might be able to notice that like there’s some sunshine, and there’s some blue skies, and that this way your feeling is temporary, that it’s not the truth of what your whole life is like, it just you might just be in a rut, you might just have your nose right in front of one of those boards, and you can’t see the whole picture, but it’s not going to last forever. If you drive a little ways, or go a little bit further down your life path, it might clear up, okay, and so you can zoom out, zoom out on the whole big picture of how amazing your life is. And it’s not bad just because this fog is here right now. Okay, number seven, is get present. I find it very important when you’re in a rut, to not dwell a lot on the past and not look really far into your future. Okay, so this might sound counter to what I just said about zooming out, I think what I mean about Zoom Out is like, if you’re on the ground, then let’s take a helicopter all the way up above the, the fog and all of that so you can see what’s going on. But what I’m saying with number seven, get present, don’t look to the past, or don’t look to the future, what I found, when I’m in a rut, and I look to the past, I get discouraged, I sometimes use it against myself. And when I look to the future, I get kind of anxious, more anxious than I normally do. So I tend to like judge my past self and then judge my current self, you know, based on my future, I did a podcast about this over Christmas. I’m your own Dickens Christmas Carol, if you want to check it out. So as much as you can, when you’re in this rut, just be where you are. Just be present, be present with yourself, be present with your emotions, know that it’s all okay. And be kind to yourself, Okay? Try to not let your brain ping pong all over the place and it will a little bit. But if you can try to be really present and kind. Okay, number eight is save big questions, or big projects, or big decisions for later. Okay. When I was in this read, I had a few people reach out and say, Hey, can we do this thing together a podcast together? Or things like that? And I just was like, No, I just want to be really honest with you. I’ve been struggling I struggle a little bit with a seasonal seasonal affective stuff. I’m not sure what’s going on. But now’s not the best time. Can I reach back out to you in three weeks? I think I’ll be doing a lot better. And they were they were of course. So understanding. They’re like, That makes so much sense. I’ve been there I get it right. And so save any of those big questions about like, should I go on a mission? Or should I go to this college? Or should I marry this person? See if you can just table those for a few weeks until you’re feeling better? Okay, maybe? Because sometimes it’s hard to kind of figure out like, am I feeling sort of down or discouraged or disappointed because this isn’t the right next step for me? Or am I just feeling this way because I’m in a rut, okay. And maybe it is just because you are where you are. Okay, number nine. I love this idea of picking a minimum sort of goal that you want to achieve for that day. And it might be different every day. So for me, one of the things that I always have, whether I’m in a rut or not in a rut, if I’m doing amazingly well or not as well. I always get dressed and do my hair and do my makeup from head to toe. I always have and so no like sweats or pajamas for me during the day. Now for you. It could be that your goal is I want to stay in sweats and pajamas one day so I’m not saying that one thing is right or wrong. What I am saying is have something very simple, a simple little thing that you can feel successful at in case this rat goes on for a while. So like I can feel successful that I brushed my teeth I can feel successful I had a shower, I can feel successful that I got out of bed I and commit to yourself to just doing something that you know you can be successful at that feels easy because when you’re in a rut, a lot of these things feel really hard. Even, I don’t know what it is for you even like writing an email could be hard. Even talking to someone at the store could be hard, even I don’t know is FaceTiming with your family hard on the mission is dating hard when you’re in a rut is studying hard. A lot of those things can feel extra hard and feel like they require so much effort when you’re in a rut. And so pick just a few things that you know you can be successful at. And then just do those things. If you have to. Just keep up with those little things. This gives you a little bit of an ability to be like Good job today. I got dressed. Okay, good job today, I brushed my teeth. Good job today, I had a conversation with a person on the street, whatever it is for you. So whatever, wherever you’re at whatever emotional state wherever your head is that no, just pick a Pick something you can do and that you can be proud of. And sometimes it’s gonna have to be super small. It’s kind of have to be tiny sometimes. But pick something you know you can do and feel proud of at the end of the day. Okay, number 10. Be patient and compassionate. Okay, it this is so important. One of the things that is sure to keep you in a rut is judgment, self hatred, and self loathing for where you’re at. I promise you, nothing will keep you stuck. And they’re in that rut longer. So instead,

26:56 we need to be compassion, compassionate with ourselves, we need to be like, listen, Jenny, like, this is okay. I know you don’t love feeling this way. I know you’re confused about who you are and what you want and what this life’s about. And that’s okay, it makes sense. We’re going to be feeling better soon. That’s one of the things I love to tell myself is because when you’re in a rut, and all you can see right is the fog or that wall right in front of your face, that blurry wall. It feels like you might feel that way forever, because you you have a hard time seeing out of it. But I like to tell myself, it’s not going to be this way forever. And that’s where the patience comes in. Because I promise like, it was like week two, I’m like, I’m gonna come out of this soon, I’m thinking it’s gonna be right around the corner. And then we’re on to week three. And I’m like, huh, still here, I guess still feeling all these feelings still confused. Still not sure what I want. Still a little bit judging myself or whatever. And then all of a sudden, one day, I felt a lot better. And I was just patient with myself, I was just compassionate with myself, and hopefully, and really trying to do all of these other things that I have shared with you. So let me repeat them one more time for you. Run to rest or indulge yourself with rest or be kind to yourself with rest. Rather than avoiding stuff. You’ll feel so much better if it’s a reward instead of something that you’re just using to avoid. Number two, don’t compare. Number three, don’t make the rut you’re in wrong. Don’t judge it. Don’t judge where you are or how you’re feeling or how you’re coping. Number four, your brain likes patterns. But remember to add in some novelty. Number five, talk to someone. Number six, zoom out, get above the fog or outside of the fog in your mind. Okay, number seven, get present. Stop bouncing back and forth to the past and present, or past and future. Number eight, save big questions, big projects or big decisions for later. Number nine, just use minimum baselines or minimum goals that you know you can achieve to feel successful every day. And number 10. Be patient. Be compassionate. And before you know it, you’ll start to feel better. Okay, just like I have and you will too. All right. So I hope all of these help you I hope it gives you something to kind of think about and something to kind of work towards to being kinder and more compassionate to you when you’re in a rut. Alright, sending love to every single one of you, especially if you’re not feeling awesome right now. I see you and My heart goes out to you. And we’ll talk to you next time. Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges. And many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you’ll want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you are involved in just now that Jenny the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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