Getting Out of the New Year Rut

by Jessica Pigza

Although the new year brings hope and resolution, for me it also brought exhaustion. Lately, I’ve been finding myself in an unmotivated rut. I said I was going to stress less this holiday season, but I’m still exhausted. And don’t even get me started on all the sickness that has been going around. Between the stomach bug, flu, strep, back to the stomach bug again and ending with an ear infection, my three kids have been through the wringer. My nights were sleepless and my days were filled with medication schedules and Lysol. I am happy to report that as of now, they are all healthy and at school, so now here I am, playing catch up.

I’m overwhelmed, and often when that happens, I tend to shut down. After doing a lot of thinking, and then some overthinking, I’ve determined that I jumped into the new year without taking any time to get myself right again after the holidays. My focus is always my family, but from Halloween through New Year’s, that focus is magnified and multiplied. Once it’s over I’m exhausted, happy and full of gratitude, but still exhausted. Then it’s straight back to school, activities, sports and homework. Before I know it, life is as crazy as its ever been. I’m trying to get motivated but I’m tired and I stay tired because I’m still not taking the time to care for myself. I had so many goals for the new year and now I feel as if all those goals are just taunting me because I am no closer to accomplishing any of those.

Not taking the time to care for myself can not only be toxic to me, but to my family as well. It can lead down a self-destructive path of not caring and feeling depressed. When did this happen? How did it happen so fast? So now that I recognize what’s going on, it’s time to take some small steps to break the cycle and get out of this rut. It’s like the domino effect, I just have to get the first one knocked down and hopefully it leads to a chain reaction of good choices and habits. Below are some of my “dominos” to help me get out of my rut.

1. Sleep

Such a basic idea, get enough sleep. When I do I am a totally different woman. I remember things, I eat better and I’m more patient with my three little blessings. So why is it so hard for me to go to bed on time? The kids are in bed between 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm because I know how important sleep is, yet I can not listen to my own advice. The evening is my chance to clean, prepare for the next day, catch up with my husband or relax for even a minute. My husband is good, he goes to bed around 10 pm every work night, but I always stay up just a little longer. I sacrifice sleep for some quiet time or a chance to watch something I DVRed months ago. I know that going to bed late having three kids is a risk. Odds are that someone will come into my room while I’m busy dreaming of either my to-do list, my calendar or Channing Tatum cleaning my house. They will then put their sweet little face next to mine….and proceed to scare the crap out of me. Earlier this week it was my youngest – she had a bad dream. Last night it was my middle child – he was in tears because of growing pains in his knees. So if nothing else, I believe sleep will be a great place to start, my shows will still be there tomorrow or even another month from now.

2. Eat Better/Drink Water

When we eat crappy food, we tend to feel crappy. Eating better will not only help to cleanse my system from the overdose of holiday treats, but it will make me feel better and possibly help me to drop those unwanted holiday pounds. Drinking enough water will also aid in cleaning out my system and keep me from feeling sluggish. This concept also ties back to sleep. When I’m tired I tend to eat constantly to stay awake and drink large amounts of caffeine which I know will make me twitchy.

Need help getting your eating habits back on track? Check out Alison’s blog for getting back on track after the holidays. She offers some great ideas on realigning one’s eating habits. Who else will be cleaning their pantry out with me this weekend?

3. Get Dressed

Yes, I do realize I write for a blog that is all about getting dressed every morning and feeling confident, but sometimes we don’t and we quickly forget how just that one simple act can impact our day. It’s cold, it’s easy to be lazy, I put on some holiday weight and I don’t want to wear real clothes. These are all reasons to not care, but I need to remember that getting dressed is a small, yet very powerful way to feel better. It’s time to break the cycle, put in some effort, find clothes that fit and get my butt out the door feeling great again!

4. Revisit My Goals and Get Organized

It is only February. We are roughly 33 days into a 365 day year. I need to remember that a clean slate is not just a once a year concept. Every month, every week, every day is an opportunity for a fresh start. Every year I say “this is going to be my year!” I was prepared to make some big changes and to help with this I signed up for the Rediscover Me Challenge offered by our very own Alison. Confession, I didn’t even start. I printed everything out, I became part of the Facebook page, but time got away from me. I vowed to catch up but I kept falling behind and I became so frustrated that I wasted this opportunity. It wasn’t until I started reading other women’s comments that I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was having trouble putting themselves first. The supportive group on the Rediscover Me page will still be there whether I start tomorrow or Monday or even a week from now. Now part of my reorganization includes carving out the time I need to rediscover myself!

5. Quit Being So Hard on Myself

As mothers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to remember everything. Somedays we are on it, while other days we may fall short. Asking for help can be hard to do. I want to be supermom and do it all! But I can’t. I’ve spent the weeks since January 1st trying to maintain and survive. I’m hard-pressed to admit, but I’d fallen behind in the cleaning, piles of stuff were accumulating and my to-do list was so long I quit writing things down. As a stay at home mom the house is my domain, if it’s not clean I feel it’s my fault. The reality is though, I am only one of five people who live here and I did not make this mess on my own. That is why last Saturday I enlisted the help of my husband and kids to work together to get the house to a point where I didn’t feel like I was constantly playing catchup. I felt guilty at first, spending a free Saturday morning having everyone clean but I got over that when at last I felt like I could breathe again in my own home. John Heywood said it best “many hands make light work.” I can stress over trying to do everything myself, or once in a while, get help to get caught up. My kids are now policing each other when they leave something out because of all the time they spent helping clean. Will it last? Probably not, but for now, I will totally take it!

Bonus: Music

There are a few other ways I plan to motivate myself and break free from this rut. One being music! As any motivational movie has taught us – a lot can be accomplished during a musical montage! But seriously, do not underestimate the powerful, uplifting effect that music can have on your mood. My motivational music of choice is a mix of punk rock, pop and alternative with a little reggae thrown in for fun! Whatever genre gets you moving, there are so many apps available so you’re never without your tunes. A few of my favorites are Amazon Music, iheartradio, Pandora and Spotify.

Bottom line, if you feel like this, remember you are not alone. Also, remember that it is temporary, a moment in time that can be a result of exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and stress. My goal is to get out of my rut as quickly as I got in it. I recognized it and I know I don’t like feeling this way. Now it’s time for those dominos to start falling!

When you’re in a rut or feeling down, what do you do to pull yourself out?
About Jessica

Jessica is a military wife, married to her husband Nate of 14 years, and stay at home mother to three energetic and fearless children, Sophia, Brandon and Rachel. Originally from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, the military life has given her a chance to live all over the United States and meet many amazing people along the way.