From The Straits Times    |

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Ever felt like you are trapped on a hamster wheel, spinning in circles and going nowhere? We all get stuck in a rut at one time or another, feeling all uninspired and dull as our everyday life becomes a little mundane. Being in a funk can be extremely frustrating, but there are things that you can do kickstart things and get motivated again. Here are eight spontaneous things you can do to get out of a rut and make you feel like something’s happening in your life again.


1. Book a spontaneous flight

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When you feel stuck and trapped, a little change in environment or going on a getaway is always a good idea. There are several long weekends in 2019 that you can take advantage of to go on a little getaway to escape the bustle of the city and relax. In fact, go one step further and make it a solo trip. Solo trips will help you get out of your comfort zone and encourage you to really discover yourself.

AirAsia is advocating exactly that, as seen in its recent cheeky champaign, “Holiday Quickies”, which promotes short but fulfilling vacations with the lowest fares possible, with flight times ranging from just 55 minutes to four hours. Visit the airline’s website for more details. Of course, other low cost carriers such as Scoot and Jetstar Asia are also great options.


2. Change up your look

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Changing up your look can give you the boost and optimism you didn’t know you needed. When you make tweaks to your look, whether big or small, it’ll take away a sense of comfort and familiarity that may have been contributing to your feelings of tedium. Plus, you’ll feel reenergised and refreshed when you’re a brand new you. Consider clearing or reorganising your wardrobe or going for a haircut – it’ll just provide you with a fresh start.


3. Take up a new hobby

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Life can easily become dull and mundane when you have no expressive or creative outlet beyond your normal day-to-day of work. It can also get very repetitive and uneventful.

Think of a hobby that you’ve always found interesting but never had time to try. Always wanted to learn how to dance or bake? It’s high time to take it up to bring back some enthusiasm to your life. Who knows, you may develop a new passion or a hidden talent that you never realised you had.


4. Head outdoors

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Research has found that being outdoors can have a positive impact on the brain. A study found that taking a walk in nature can reduce self-referential rumination, or repetitive thinking that’s focused on the self — a behaviour that can increase the risk of depression. Being one with nature not only increases your sense of mental wellness, it also helps enhance creativity. The next time you feel trapped or suffocated, go out for a walk or a jog and pay attention to the world and the beauty around you.


5. Go on a digital detox

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The 21st century is the age of social media, but social media can also be extremely detrimental on our mental well-being. Case in point: The concept of FOMO, developing an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be happening elsewhere due to posts seen on social media.

Try going on a digital detox to clear your mind and focus your time on other significant things, beyond scrolling through Instagram and comparing your life to the immaculately filtered and edited lifestyles. Remember, what you see on social media is a heavily curated selection of images that show an unrealistically perfect life. Things are not what they seem.

Take the detox to also appreciate your own life, and see the things you have going for you. Once your detox is done, see if your ideals have actually shifted and if you’re able to hear and focus on yourself better.


6. Strike up a conversation with a stranger

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It might be intimidating or awkward to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. But getting out of a rut is all about trying something new and going out of your comfort zone. Talking to someone unknown is a great way to practise your communication skills, expand your social connections and equip yourself with new knowledge. You’d never know what you’d glean from speaking to someone.

This can also build up your self-confidence, boosting your spirits in new ways. Who knows, you might make a lifelong friend in the process.


7. Start journaling

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Writing is a therapeutic activity for many, but when you’re stuck in a rut, journaling can help you to pour out the whirlpool in your mind into actual words on paper, allowing you to organise your thoughts and feelings. You can even go one step further by getting into gratitude journaling, which involves writing down the things for which we’re grateful every day (it can be as little as five things a week).

Gratitude journaling is known for its benefits, from better sleep to fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness, because it encourages one to be in a positive state of mind. If you feel like you’ve nothing to be grateful for, start small and don’t give yourself pressure to force something out. As you progress, you’ll see how you’ve turned negative feelings into positive ones overtime.


8. Exercise regularly

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It’s no secret that exercising releases endorphins, which make us feel good and helps us to destress. Doing regular exercise also gives us an outlet to sort out our minds and manage our emotions.

No matter how busy you are, it’s always a good idea to set time aside to go for a run or sign up for a yoga class – anything to get your blood flowing, ease the tension in your body and increase your focus and energy.