Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

It sucks to be tired, lethargic, and in a rut. I hate it. I’m in one now. But – at the same time – I  know a couple tricks to get out of a rut which I’ll share with you.

Change your self-expectations

You’re not going to be crushing it like you were a couple weeks ago in the middle of your new rut. You’re starting back from zero. It is no longer fair to yourself to compare your depressed, anxious, rutty self to your ideal self’s actions.

Instead of expecting yourself to by in the gym by 6AM five days per week, just go at any point today – for however long makes sense. Or take a walk before breakfast. Or do 10 pushups. You want to build momentum, and you need small victories to do it. Expecting 110% out of yourself when your mind is operating at 10% is like expecting a dog to ace a physics test.

Lowering your expectations also prevents that little inner critic from being such an obnoxious dickhead. He or she will find an endless things to accuse you of falling short of, unless you take that ability away. Beware the inner critic while in a rut. Take its power before it takes yours.

Do something small to build momentum and feel better.

If I feel depressed and shitty, doing the dishes makes me feel 5% better without fail. Doing my laundry tacks on another 5%. Sweeping the floor, eating a good breakfast, reorganizing my space, cleaning the bathroom – lots of things can make me feel 5% better. Brushing my teeth, which takes 2 minutes, makes me feel better.

The point is, when you’re in a rut, you can always do something to get out. You don’t have to suffer endlessly. You’re surrounded by small victories waiting for you to claim them.

You may not have your deepest anxieties addressed; external life may still be placing pressure on you. I’m not saying all your problems will be solved by doing the dishes. I’m saying you’ll feel better.