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Nature’s Way—The Perfect Reset Button

Nature’s Way—The Perfect Reset Button

The first five minutes were always the worst: mentally exhausted, my body just wanted to crash down into the sofa, and my hand to reach out for the TV-controls and a cold beer to start the lovely process of switching off.

A typical work day for me repeatedly consisted of a 2-hour-plus commute, and site meetings with poor coffee followed by hours of drawing production in front of a computer screen. Certainly taxing in what it demanded of me, but nothing extraordinary compared to many jobs out there today. My point is this: we´re all pretty done-for as we head to unlock our front doors after a busy day at work, and though spending the next 5 to 10 minutes getting out of your smarts and into your training outfit may not be among the first things you want to do after hanging up your work bag, the payback can be amazing!

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Me, I like to run. It is something I picked up in High School and I guess, even though I’ve tried a lot of different sports, I’ve always reverted back to it by choice when I felt my body was going through a lengthy period without any form of training.

Now, I must say I’m pretty lucky. You see, I live in close proximity to large areas of forest and country gravel roads, so getting into an area where I’m more or less on my own is really easy. I wouldn´t say this is crucial to gain the most from a run, but I once took a jog around the city centre of Buenos Aires whilst there on a business trip, and I must say I found it hard to get into the training “zone” that enables us to reset our energy levels. To give you a feel for what I mean with the chosen word “reset” in the headline, I want to give you a short commentary from one of my favourite running routes.

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Starting out is as always hard—it takes the body some time to get warmed up for the task you’re demanding of it, and this time interval is different from person to person. For me, this is typically the first kilometre of tarmac road leading through our neighbourhood and down towards the path leading to the forest. One or two kilometres into the run, and I start feeling that my breathing is coming down, and the rhythm feels steady. Most importantly, I always start out easy to give my ligaments, tendons and joints a decent time period to warm up—especially if I´m running during the winter season.

I mentioned the training “zone”. This, to me, is a state of mind where I no longer think too much about the technique of running; avoiding rocks, cars, people out walking their dogs and so on. It’s as if I’ve gone into auto-drive mode. My mind then starts thinking more freely and meditatively. I’ve had the wildest ideas originate from these running sessions for sure, and it’s not unusual that I also sometimes lose my way if I’ve drifted into unfamiliar territory.

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So this “zone” constitutes nature’s way of allowing us to switch off momentarily and reset our energy levels. Could I compare it to what sleep does to us at night? Sure—I guess it shares some of the same benefits, but while we sleep, the body receives no exercise. I thoroughly believe it´s the combination of physical strain and allowing the mind to drift that leaves you with such a feeling of massive benefit and payoff. Not everyone reading this article knows this, but one of the reasons why we feel so good when we run, or do any other physical exercise for that matter, is the fact that the body produces its own anaesthetic called endorphins. This is our body´s way of smoothing over the discomfort and pain we might be feeling doing the physical work we impose upon it, and like the effects of a mild morphine, it makes you feel good.

A doctor I once knew told me that the body needs a good “revving”, as he would call it, once a day. What he meant was that the body needed to be physically challenged and brought up to peak performance ever so often. All the organs, including the brain, need a quick flow of blood to keep them working optimally and regenerating cells and tissue. He would indeed challenge me to make a point of running hard to catch the train in the morning, or push myself up a hill and keep my pace going over the top.

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Now, I mentioned payoff—As everyone´s experience to physical exercise seems to be different, there´s no way I could sum up an overall feeling for pushing your body up and out of the sofa, but I can say this: my monthly budget for sports-related gear constantly seems to be growing…

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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