The older I get, the more I fall into ruts. Some collate them with lethargy. Some calls them depression and anxiety. The latest fad term to re-brand ruts? Languishing.
I have found enough explanations of why we fall into ruts. I have accepted that ruts are just inevitable facts of existence. As we age, our body weakens. As our body weakens, it becomes more susceptible to disturbance. Mental issues are just disturbance in our brain chemistry that our body can no longer withstand. As to why am I more prone to mental struggles? I am not sure, but I am sure it has a lot to do with the daddy issues I had and the complete ignorance of the existence of these preconditions throughout my life.
How Do I Get Out of Ruts?
- Exercising: I reliably feel better after a good and strenuous workout. Sadly, this hack is highly unreliable because it takes a lot of determination to go and work out. I already wear my gym clothes to bed. I force myself to not look at the phone so I would go to the gym straight out of bed. But I still struggle- I dread the next workout the moment I finish the last workout. I feel annoyed whenever the thought of the next workout appears in my consciousness.
- Cooking: The chance of failure is very low with cooking. The feeling of accomplishment is high with cooking. I have a very generous family that find everything I cook enjoyable. The downside? Excessive eating has been an escape for me to try to feel different. Therefore cooking is a double-edged sword- it can get me out of ruts, but it can also throw me into a deadlier spiral of self guilt and self hate.
- Re-organizing: For some people, they can access this hack by making their beds. I need a lot more. I used to find peace in doing laundry, ironing, and folding clothes. Alas, these no longer satiate my yearning for control. The last time I successfully pulled myself out of a rut using this hack was when I re-arranged the entire cabinet. I have yet to identify what to re-organize when I fall into the next rut. The bookshelves? Our kitchen? Desktop on my Mac? Argh.
- Talk to Humans: It always distracts me enough to get me out of ruts. Yet, this hack is unreliable, because I am naturally introverted, the resistance to reach out to others is high even when I was not in a rut. Plus, this hack is not entirely in my control- others are not always available.
What I Need to Avoid?
- Listening to Podcasts: I tend to become more mindless whenever I listen to podcasts. I fall into binge-eating episodes, I walk around mindlessly. It is dangerous. The good news is it is easy to avoid- just don’t bring my headphones.
- Death Scrolling: YouTube, Twitter, the usual suspects. Not only do I become mindless during death scrolling, the sleuth of negative information on these platforms adds wood to the fire. I have done things to mitigate these activities-screen time, hiding apps from my home screen.
- Writing: I thought writing/journalling would make me feel better, but I don’t. I learned that writing was too private of an activity where there weren’t enough triggers to pull me out of negative mental spirals.
What Do I Want To Re-visit?
- Video Games – I used to play sports video games every night. I don’t remember how I felt, but this could be one way to short circuit my brain.
- A Longer Project – Maybe the act of organising can be lengthened by committing myself into a longer project, such as writing a book / designing an online course.
On one hand, this awareness of how my body is malfunctioning is depressing. I know I will fall into ruts. I know I will struggle. I know I will have to fight to stay alive.
On the other hand, I have had countless success getting out of ruts. I am still around. I have figured out ways to pull myself back out. I appear to still have the desire to pull myself out. I should remain confident that I am willing to, and will be able to, endure these episodes of life.
Lastly, I do ask myself why I need to go through these? This is one manifestation of a bigger question-
What’s the point? What’s the point? What’s the point?