This is for everyone who is feeling a bit the same, a bit stuck… a bit bleughhhh…
And after the time we’ve had lately, that’s probably quite a lot of us. We’ve not been allowed holidays, parties, big nights out, trips, plans, or even the office! So, it’s hardly surprising that life feels a bit ‘Groundhog Day’ and we’d all love a delightful change to get us out of our ruts.
I gave the idea of ‘rut-busting’ a lot of thought when I was writing the new book, Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life, and much as I would love to get on a plane to LA (like Tess) or even wander the streets of Stratford upon Avon (like River), it’s probably not going to happen any time soon.
So, enjoy some armchair travel via the book, and if there are still lots of things you’d love to change, here are some ways I’ve tried to shake myself up during and post-lockdowns.
Hair is just such a good place to start. New hair means every time you look in the mirror, it’s a little boost because new hair is new you.
Absolutely fed up with my totally overgrown brown curtain deep in the heart of lockdown 2, I took the nail scissors to it and chopped in a deep, thick fringe. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s just hair… it will grow out if it’s a disaster.
And I have to tell you – I love the fringe! It makes the brown curtain look so much more stylish. And it hides the frown lines. And even though I’ve now had the fringe cut properly, I’m up for trimming it myself between haircuts.
So consider a hair change, or a chop, or a brand new colour, or red streaks, or a pink wash or whatever you might have always wanted to try… chances are, you’ll love it!
2. A wander
I walk everywhere, every day. Even though I’ve lived in this part of Glasgow for years, there are still new streets, new parks, new playing fields, new corners to discover. When everything is boring and you’ve been the same way 50 times in a row, by foot, by bike or by car, pick a new route. Go the long way round, take the wrong turn, even walk the usual loop the other way. Look around. Spot the trees, the cafes, the flowers that have come out, the newly repainted doors. Everything about walking is relaxing and headclearing. It’s the perfect exercise and you don’t need any special kit for it.
3. Do new things
So in the new book, Tess tries dancing lessons. I’m slightly jealous of her. I love the idea of doing this, but for one reason and another, haven’t got round to it. Meanwhile, new things I have done during lockdown are: mild jogging; jigsaw puzzles; messy but very enjoyable gardening, mainly involving wildflower seed; birdfeeding (I have peanut feeders, seed dispensers, a birdbath – these mainly attract some greedy squirrels, two fat pigeons and the occasional adorable blue tit, but the feeling of watching pigeons drinking water you put out for them is quite the joy); and I have flirted with the idea of putting paint on canvas, but that is still on the to-do list.
4. Wear new things
I would wear jeans every day of my life if I could. But sometimes, it’s good to make a change… to try shorts, my trusty chino skirt, a pencil skirt. I like my wardrobe to be 95% classic (aka quite boring) but 5% madness… usually from Topshop or ebay. Dangly earrings… fuchsia pink fake fur… you get the picture. Sometimes, you should just take the ‘special’ dress from the back of the wardrobe, don trainers and walk it down the high street… because!
5. Fix the problem
If you’re in a rut because things aren’t right and really dragging you down, you may have to take some time out and properly tackle the problem. You don’t like your job, your child hates school, you’re not getting on with your partner, your mother is driving you nuts, you hate your teeth, or your house… whatever the big problem is, you can’t keep letting it drag you down. That’s just daily stress and sadness and not allowing life to be what it could be. So, you may need to make a good plan to change what needs to change. Have some air-clearing conversations. Get some help if you need it and even set some (realistic) deadlines.
Some things take time to fix and you have to be patient. But you’ll also know in your heart if you need to just ‘rip the band-aid off’ and make a big, drastic fix. I’ve often been too slow and cautious about my fixes and they’ve taken a long time. Now, I hope I wouldn’t put up with bad situations; I’d go after what I wanted and be more bold.
The last time I heard We Are Family by Sister Sledge, this line stuck with me: ‘Have faith in you and the things you do.’
7. Break a bad habit
Those habits that make you hate yourself a bit, or quite a lot, they can be broken. They can! Even if you break them for a while and go back to them, you’re still winning. Everyone who keeps trying to escape from them will eventually win. There’s so much good resource out there online to help you.
Heck, you can even get an app to cheer you on. It’ll send you little notifications and reminders and award you with stars and flames and tell you how much progress you’ve made even when you have a little backslide. Drinking, smoking, weight, sugar binges, screen addictions, chronic unfitness… don’t hate yourself about any of them. Love yourself enough to take the very first steps to break free.