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5 tips for getting out of an emotional/ creative rut

I think I've been in and out of ruts pretty much all summer.

Mostly, I would guess, it's because I have more free time than usual (I usually have zero) and figuring out how to spend free time is a tricky business. It's kind of like figuring out how to spend money wisely (which I'm also not particularly good at).

My ability to manage my own free time has fluctuated a lot over the past few months. Some days I get up at 6:30 am and start doing fun and useful things almost immediately, continuing all day long. Some days I come home from a long day of work or an adventure with a friend and still have enough motivation to blog and take photos and read about photography. These are the good, non-rut days. These are the days that I like other people to believe I have everyday. That, unfortunately, is not the case.

Other days I don't wake up until 8:30 and don't get out of bed until 9:30. My breakfasts and lunches and dinners morph together and happen at weird, unorganized times. I don't leave the house very much, I watch House of Cards until I feel uncomfortably paranoid, and I spend far too much time staring at a computer screen. These are the rut days, when I tell myself I'll do some creative things and some fun things and some exciting things, but I can barely make myself leave my bed.

It's been a summer that balances on the line between depressed because I feel like I have too much time that I'm not using, and overjoyed because I feel I have too little time but still get lots done.

Anyways, since I've had a few months experience with getting in and out of ruts, here's what I've found that works:




Let yourself have a day or an evening of fun 

A fulfilling use of time doesn't always mean a productive or hardworking one. Sometimes the most fulfilling things (at least in the moment) are the things that you genuinely enjoy. So if you're having a hard time removing yourself from your bed in order to be productive, remove yourself in order to do something fun. If you can't spare a day, spare an evening. The one catch here is that when I say 'fun', I don't mean 'sitting in front of a TV/computer/phone and losing all consciousness.' I mean exploring outside, or meeting up with a friend, or reading a book. It's something that adds value to your day and that you might remember when the summer is through.

Here are a few of my go-to fun things: Going to a coffee shop and buying a muffin. Taking a few photos of nothing in particular. Listening to inspiring podcasts. Walking outside with my mum. Having deep, philosophical conversations with friends. 

Clear out your material junk 

I've gone on sort of a clutter rampage over the past few weeks where I felt the sudden need to get rid of a bunch of stuff that was cluttering up my room. I wouldn't say it became more minimalist by any means (lol), but I think it became a little more current-Julia and a little less insane. There's something about getting rid of unnecessary stuff that makes you feel less weighed down, right? And if the goal here is to climb out of your rut (and out of bed), then being weighed down will not exactly help.

Here are some ways I've cleared out the junk: De-cluttered my room, donated clothes that no longer fit, deleted hundreds (HUNDREDS) of unnecessary photos that were clogging up my memory,  organized the files and clutter on my computer. 

Designate a notebook to help clear out your mental junk 

I'm not talking about a diary or a bullet journal. I'm talking about something far, far, (far) less organized: I call it my "book of knowledge" (and my sister makes fun of me for it). Basically, it started as a notebook where I could store my notes about the photography/photoshop/coding stuff I've been teaching myself, but it quickly expanded into plan territory. I've definitely talked about my plan addiction before, but I'll say it again: I love making plans for myself about everything from eating healthy to increasing blog traffic to learning how to edit photos. I also love making highly unrealistic to-do lists. Don't ask me why I do it, because I know that I'll never succeed at following them, but it is quite helpful in sorting out your priorities and ideas even if you don't reach them in quite the manner that you originally planned. Basically, it's a mess of a journal that's supposed to be a mess: it's just to sort out your thoughts in whatever ways that means for you.

A few of my favorite things to write about in this messy journal: lists of stuff I want to eventually accomplish with my blog. Ddeas for blog photography, conceptual photography, gifs and videos that I don't yet know how to make. Things I want to buy (on the list right now: new glasses and boyfriend jeans). 

a little photoshop adventure ;)


Go on adventures (or at least leave the house) 

Examples of adventures: Going night swimming, hiking a mountain, going to Europe, time traveling.

Other examples of adventures: Having a picnic with a bud, literally just sitting and talking to an old friend for a long time, going to the beach with your mom, eating at a really cool restaurant.

Even more examples of adventures: Sitting in a coffee shop, going on a run, going to the grocery store, literally anything that involves leaving the house.

My point is that 1.) summer adventures don't have to be big and crazy in order to be fun and rut-free, and 2.) if you want to get out of your rut, get out of your house. 


Stop planning and worrying; just try it out on a whim 

There have been several days lately where I feel kind of depressed or like I haven't been productive enough, but then at like 7 pm I start messing around with photoshop on a whim, not watching any of my tutorials or reading any of my guides like I planned, and expecting to give up after 3 seconds. Sometimes I do give up, but other times I get in the groove of creating something and suddenly it's 1 am and I've made a cool thing! The same can go for writing or taking photos or exercising. Start on a whim with no expectation, and see where it goes. You might lose interest in 0.3 seconds, but you might also surprise yourself.

Things that I like to do on a whim (usually after 9pm): Write a chapter of my future memoir. Make something cool with photoshop. Knit some of the scarf that I started nine months ago. Try to learn to play ukulele. Write a blog post. Do a complete bedroom redecoration. 
 

Alright blogger friends, those are my tips for finding your way out of a rut! Let me know if you've been in a rut lately or not, and if you have any tips to share!

♡ Julia




14 comments

  1. I cannot tell you, Julia, how many times I have rearranged my room late at night when I SHOULD have been sleeping. So nice to know I'm not the only one. :)

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  2. Such a great tips! Thanks for sharing!
    xx
    Mónica Sors
    MES VOYAGES À PARIS
    NEW POST: LAVENDER FIELDS AND DREAM DRESS

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  3. Good post! Creativity is definitely a good route out of boredom. Just, as you say, getting out a notebook or some paints and letting your mind wander is great. Equally running is good for clearing your mind and helping you start your day over. x

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  4. I love de cluttering and that really helps me have a clear mind! I could really see where you're coming from in this post - I get into ruts all the time x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

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  5. These are great ideas! I love, love, LOVE your blog posts, and get excited everytime you have a new one!

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  6. Great tips! I find going out and experiencing new things inspires me so much x

    Tiffany Tales | Lifestyle & Beauty

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  7. Great tips! I always find cleaning out junk definitely helps!

    xx Sofia | SOFIAADOT

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  8. I think waging a war against clutter is SUCH a good way to get re-inspired and also anchor yourself in your space. Great tips, lady!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  9. Haha, getting out of bed when you aren't motivated is the worst feeling. But you gotta keep going. This post super helpful.

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  10. I love your ideas! I usually dedicate an evening for fun or some kind of outing with my friends to get me out of the rut. Also, I love mini trips for a bit of inspiration. Always helps :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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  11. Amen to everything you said in this post! I am exactly the same in that I either have total badass days or days where I get NOTHING done. I love the idea of designating a notepad to metal clutter. Definitely need to give that a go!

    Bethany | Curly and Wordy

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  12. I love your idea of the "book of knowledge" hehe. I certainly have disorganized notebooks where I write my thoughts, which is why I could never get into the beautiful bullet journal craze!

    Kim
    Simply Lovebirds

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  13. I am so comforted to know that I'm not the only one who has a tendency towards depression during the summer. Thank you for these tips!

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  14. Wow wow wow. Can I just say that I found your blog thru Pinterest and have only read this post and I'm already in love! This post speaks to me in so many levels and I absolutely love your humor! I particularly agree with equating success with done rather than perfect because as a perfectionist, this is definitely something I struggle with. Looking forward to reading more of your posts, Julia!

    x Kate
    https://allthetrinkets.wordpress.com

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About me
I’m a 19-year old college student who’s still very much “in bluhm” (heh) but I’m figuring it out as I go, laptop in hand.
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