By Nathan Kim
Rut: a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change
As we are reaching the midway point of the semester, it’s easy to become unmotivated and exhausted from the ever-increasing pile of work. I know that for me, I’m finding it harder to get up each day and consistently keep up with balancing my school life, social life, and personal life. It’s a constant battle to not feel burnt out and keep on working hard each day, but I’ve tried to combat this by utilizing some methods to regain that drive again and get out of this rut. Here are three ways you, too, can escape that feeling of being stuck and unable to move forward.
- Take a walk outside and observe your surroundings
You’ve probably heard of the concept of mindfulness, but for me the purpose of taking a walk is to clear your mind. It’s best to do this without thinking too much about where you’re walking or how long you’re going to walk. Walking in nature and listening to the ambient sounds of your environment is a surefire way to heal your body and your mind. This helps you to clear your head and take a step back from the burdens of life while appreciating your life as it is in that moment. As you walk around, you should simply observe what’s happening around you and let your thoughts pass by without dwelling on them too much. After your walk, you will be able to return to your work feeling refreshed and hopefully less stressed.
- Clean your physical and digital clutter
We all have things in our lives that need some cleaning. It can be rather therapeutic to set things back into their places and to tidy up your life a bit. At first, it might seem overwhelming to take on such a large task, but approaching messy situations in a step-by-step fashion is the best antidote to a chaotic life. For physical clutter, it starts by putting one item back in place. For digital clutter, cleaning your cluttered email inbox might be a good start. Cleaning gives you another opportunity to not have to think about other appointments in the future and engage in some introspection on how you’re feeling about your life in general. It’s important to have an organized environment because that is the location where you will be doing the majority of your work at.
- Create a master list of things to do
Most times, there are just too many things to do and not enough time. Because there’s so much to do, you freeze and end up completing nothing. In the moments where the list of endless responsibilities causes you distress, it can be helpful to record everything that you have in your mind in a massive list. Usually, I prefer to separate the tasks I need to complete into different categories, such as school, personal, work, and even social. Then, I tend to write whatever comes to mind and clump them together based on their similarities with other tasks. This helps to free your mind from the mental strain of having to remember all the things that you have to do and instead lets you focus on the immediate task at hand.
Having time set out to reset your life and find rest from the business of life should be a scheduled part of your week. It is definitely difficult to balance your clubs, schoolwork, and your own responsibilities, which is why these anti-rut strategies are quite useful. However, there isn’t one perfect way to get back into the rhythm of working, so I do hope that you can try out some of these techniques in your life to keep you pushing on till the end of the semester and find what works best for you!
Nathan is a junior majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Computer Programming. He spent most of his life growing up in the Korean community within Orange County and is proficient in both Korean and Spanish. On campus, Nathan is involved in several clubs, such as Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, Kristos Campus Missions, and Korean Culture Night. In his free time, he enjoys making videos, playing video games, watching random videos on Youtube, and organizing his life.