The Art of Squirming Out of a Rut

“The beginning is always today.”—Mary Shelley

Contrary to the positive vibe that 2020 was predicted to carry based on the Chinese Horoscope (because it was a double number), the unforeseen disaster such as the COVID-19 pandemic befell humanity.

For nine months, given protective measures, people were advised to stay home for most of the time and leave the house only for specific and essential purpose. Many companies closed shop, and lots of people lost their jobs. Those who were still fortunate to keep theirs were assigned alternate work arrangements to serve the advice of the medical sector to accommodate only 50% of the employment population at the office at a given period of time. There were those who discovered, developed, and honed their skills to compensate for lost income. Delivery/courier service became the messengers from the limited view outdoors each one had in order to send across food, mail, and what not. However, due to certain unfortunate circumstances that came with the recent past, there were those who were unable to cope. Some caught the virus and did not make it. Bereaved families, relatives, and even friends were devastated. Indeed, it was horrid and at the same time, painful.

Due to the ordeal, there were those who had felt like they had lost their purpose in life. There were goals that were not fulfilled, as much as plans that did not materialize. There were those who succumbed to tons of stress. What would have been a person’s positive and optimistic outlook was replaced by fear, anxiety, and emotional overwhelm. The impression that life amidst the pandemic had no end became a common thought. This leads many people to the mental state of being in a rut, or stuck in a helpless situation.

Breathe In, Breathe Out
The new year has just begun, and thoughts of the immediate past year still looms. After all, the pandemic is still far from over. Many barely made it to this day. All the same, no one wants to be in a rut.

Give oneself a fighting chance. Meditate. Begin by realizing that the mind and body are in a rut, and that this situation is impermanent. Think of ways to avoid it from happening again. The following points may serve as a guide in examining one’s thoughts:
1. Lessons learned from the past year
2. Habits that do not enhance the well-being.
3. Change in lifestyle for health improvement.
4. Quality time spent with a person(s)
5. Any improvement of oneself with the use of new technology
6. The fair use of intuition
7. Any enjoyment missed
8. Anything one wishes and needs to learn
9. Important things one can start/stop doing
10. Things one would like to accomplish in the new year

The process of avoiding the state of being in a rut is not simple. It takes acceptance, strength, courage, and determination to make it through. People in general have different capabilities as well as the capacity to heal the self through a process. Allowing oneself to cope with life no matter how long it takes is the key. Nevertheless, even if the progress is slow, the goal is to get there.

There Is No Better Time than Now
Everyone has his own coping mechanism. When one gets to a point in his life when he feels that he is in a rut, he can just let it be. Fighting the stress will only cause more stress. Sometimes what the body needs is some rest and relaxation. Let go and surrender to what comes. Accept one’s current mental state and move on from there. Remember to find time for enjoyment. A person’s happiness is his own and should not be based on another’s. Search deep within to find it.

Discover, Develop, and Hone a Skill
In the long run, honing a skill or engaging in a productive activity will be most helpful in changing one’s perspective of life and how to live it. The new year, 2021, holds the promise of a better beginning and hope that everyone will have the opportunity not far from today, to go out, breathe fresh air, and see the world with their own eyes.
Rethink your life. While you’re still breathing, move forward and soldier on.

Happy New Year, everyone!

*Currently working at the Philippine International Convention Center, where she began service 21 years ago, *Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim was an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College – Manila and finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology, at the University of Santó Tomás.