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How to get out of a mid-winter rut

Now To Love logo Now To Love 14/09/2017 Now To Love

© Provided by Bauer Media Group (NZ) LP Battling a case of cabin fever? Starting to get itchy feet? Call it whatever you like, but winter is the time when it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

Whether it’s a career change you crave, a health goal you want to tackle, or just a shift in routine, we have some tips to help you kick things up a gear.

Respect yourself

You wouldn’t go around trash-talking a good friend, so why do you say such harsh things to yourself? Experts say a big part of developing the confidence to get what we want from this world is to show ourselves some kindness.

It’s not naff to give yourself a word of encouragement or a positive pep talk; in fact it’s an important aspect of increasing overall happiness.

Try incorporating some wellness-boosting habits too. “Self-care rituals are a vital part of wellbeing, and they can be as simple as taking the time to have a healthy breakfast, away from your phone or computer,” says Auckland-based life coach and owner of Blossom Life Coaching, Tracy Manu.

“Other things to look at could be getting out of the office at lunchtime, and making sure you drink enough water. These are all really basic needs, but they are the things we often brush aside.”

Consistency is important, as it’s the small, achievable changes you can do regularly that have the biggest effect on your happiness.

“People tend to think it’s only the big things that will make us feel better, like an overseas holiday. I find people will book the holiday, have a great time, but then as soon as they come back they’re simply waiting for the next thing.”

Surround yourself with positive people

It was the American entrepreneur Jim Rohn who coined the now famous line, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether you believe it or not is up for debate, but experts agree that positivity – and negativity – is contagious.

Aim to be around people who have a positive outlook, choose to see the best of situations, and want to find constructive solutions. Surround yourself with those who want the best for you, and who want the best for themselves.

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Look for the bright side

Gearing your mindset towards more positive beliefs is the first step to tackling a lifestyle change, says Tracy. Repeating positive affirmations in the morning, and focusing on what you are achieving, rather than what you aren’t, are surprisingly effective ways to retrain your brain.

“What we focus on tends to grow, so we want to make sure we are focusing on what we love and what makes us happy,” she explains.

“Practising gratitude is another great way to help us hone in on what is working well in our lives. In time we start to become more prone to going down the mental track of gratitude and positivity, rather than instantly looking at the negative.”

Exactly how long it takes to form new, more positive thought habits depends on the individual, but again, consistency is the key to training your brain. Every day for 30 days, try listing things you are grateful for, or think of a positive mantra each morning. Over time, it will start to become second nature.

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Identify what’s holding you back

Is it a fear of failure that’s getting in your way, or could it even be a fear of success?

“Being really empowered and authentic is a powerful thing to do,” says Tracy.

“It can be scary, and often we simply shrink back down, to fit in with the norm.”

If lack of confidence is the culprit, small steps are the name of the game. Set yourself a challenge – once a week, do something that is outside of your comfort zone.

Again, it’s your belief system that is often a key element here.

“I see it a lot, people who stay in a job that isn’t satisfying because they don’t have the confidence to go out there and make a change, or the person who has always wanted to become self-employed but has held back because their belief is centred around ‘I’m not good enough," says Tracy.

“But beliefs are thoughts and thoughts can be changed.”

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Work out what you really want

If you’re unsure about what really lights your fire in life, Tracy advises thinking back to your favourite childhood memories as a starting point.

If those are a little hazy, focus on what really makes you tick, and brings in the feel-good factor. It could be being in nature, doing yoga, reading, tinkering in the kitchen, anything that puts a smile on your face.

Rather than looking at things in terms of material gains, think about how you feel while you’re carrying out your new goals. What will it be like when you’re in that space? How will you be different?

If you’ve lost some of your drive, looking at what you are grateful for can work wonders for re-igniting the spark.

“It’s really about your relationship with yourself,” says Tracy. “When we begin to connect, that’s when we discover what we really love, who we really are, and what we really want in this world. That’s when a deeply satisfying life becomes a reality.”

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