This is the time of year when many of us are feeling blue, either because our New Year’s Resolutions are becoming harder to maintain or because we can’t wait for the weather to transition from winter to spring. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut right about now, feeling uninspired and unmotivated to complete tasks or check items off our to-do lists.

Even though all we may want to do is snuggle up with a cozy blanket and an epic House of Cards marathon, before we settle into our pajamas there are some other options we can consider in order to climb out of a funk and reclaim a positive and productive mindset.

Try these steps below to help boost your resolve and spur on some much-needed energy and inspiration.

Take A Walk
Walk anywhere, even if you live in a cold, wintry climate. You can walk laps around your office complex, take the stairs to the top of your building, or bundle up and face the cold by taking a walk outside. If you live in an area with a milder climate, then there’s no excuse – get outdoors and take in some fresh air!

In reality, where you walk is less important than the act of walking itself, which can provide great clarity in an extremely short amount of time. A study conducted by Stanford University shows that walking boosts creative inspiration, and that “the act of walking itself, and not the environment” is the main component that brings about motivation. Marily Oppezzo, a co-author of the study, noted that walking spurs on creative thinking, allowing you to jumpstart your next project or idea. “This isn’t to say that every task at work should be done while simultaneously walking, but those that require a fresh perspective or new ideas would benefit from it,” she said.

Focus On Your Hobbies
You may feel totally uninspired at work, or you may not be motivated to take the next steps to complete that project that you’ve been thinking about for ages (starting your own business, organizing your photos, training for a 5K, launching a blog). Whatever the case, instead of focusing on a looming task or project, give some attention to your hobbies, the activities you love that bring you unadulterated joy.

Step outside of your everyday life for an hour (or a few) and immerse yourself in the activities that make you feel simultaneously relaxed and rejuvenated.

Take a productivity time-out and allow yourself to enjoy the things that make you come alive. Try a new recipe. Write a long journal entry. Go for a hike. Meet a friend for a glass of wine. Bust out your new watercolor paints. Curl up with a great book. Take a yoga class. Step outside of your everyday life for an hour (or a few) and immerse yourself in the activities that make you feel simultaneously relaxed and rejuvenated. By redirecting your thoughts away from the impending tasks you have to complete, you can free up your mind to engage in creative pursuits that, in turn, allow you to embrace the motivation needed to knock out your to-do list.

Change Your Scenery
If you work in an office and you’re facing a work-related rut, changing your scenery can be as simple as moving to another desk or area for a few minutes to take notes in a notebook or on your laptop.

Observing a new vantage point or environment will take your focus off of your ever-growing list of things to do and allow you to soak in a few moments of clarity, stillness, and inspiration. Changing your scenery could also simply mean grabbing your morning coffee at a new shop, taking your dog to a different park, or reading on your front porch instead of in bed. Shake things up a bit by introducing yourself to new places, awakening your senses to new experiences and opening your mind to new ideas.


Step Away from Your Device
Take a deep breath and put down your phone/tablet/computer. Your eyes could use a break from the screen and absentmindedly scrolling through e-mail or social media will likely not make you feel more inspired when you’re in a rut; instead, it may lead you down the trail of comparison and may ultimately make you feel worse.

If a pressing work matter arises, print off any necessary documents and read them at your desk instead of through the screen, focusing on the papers in front of you instead of the several open browsers on your laptop. If you have a few free moments, take some time to read a few pages of a book or a magazine, allowing yourself to take a break from your mobile device. Your mind (and your corneas) will thank you.

What are some of the tricks you try when you’re attempting to get out of a rut? How do you seek out creativity when you’re feeling less than inspired?

Images via Christin Rose


  1. I love this. It’s easy to feel like you’re in a rut especially during the winter months! Thanks for the lovely suggestions and encouragement:)

  2. What perfect timing. I have been feeling like I’ve been in a rut as well. The cloudy weather and the mid semester feeling is making me feel uninspired and unmotivated. Thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone in this and for the great ideas to refresh 🙂

  3. Great ideas! I find taking a walk, going for a run, or getting out of the house to just wander are great ways to clear my mind and focus on what I want to accomplish. These are simple steps, but we seem to forget how to manage stress, so it’s great to have this reminder.

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