Advice to get you out of a rut

Created an oil painting of two yellow roses to get me out of a rut

Does staying at home during this quarantine have you feeling a rut? Me too. My days have settled into a routine. I get up, do the crossword, eat breakfast, then head to my studio, prepare dinner, watch some television, and off to bed. Without travel, visiting with friends, or going out for entertainment, I have started to get into a “sameness” with my days.  I needed some advice on how to get out of this rut.

I decided to shake things up by changing my art medium.  Dusting off the oil paints (which I rarely touched in over a decade), I considered what I could do.  A friend wanted to gift his daughter with a painting of a yellow rose.  For me, trying to paint a realistic rose with oils was totally out of my comfort zone!

It was an exciting challenge that took a while to get a handle on painting with oils again, but I pushed through.  Enjoying the unique qualities of the paint,  I reveled in its creamy texture and longer working time. Experimenting with this different medium gave me new ideas for my current mixed media work and reinvigorated my studio practice.

“That’s good and well for you, but I’m not an artist. So how does this help me?” The key is to make some changes to your routine.

Seven pieces of advice to get you unstuck and out of a rut:

1.  Talk to someone new. An old friend, the post-person, or the grocery store cashier (all with appropriate social distancing or with an iPhone.)

2.  Try something new. How about a new recipe, online exercise routine, or craft project?

3.  Be spontaneous. Instead of eating lunch while working on your computer, count the birds you see outside your window. Say yes to new experiences!

4.  Head outside. Surrounding yourself with nature has a positive impact on the body and enhances creativity.

5.  Start a new habit. Maybe yoga first thing in the morning. Or reading before bed instead of scrolling on your phone.

6.  Reward yourself for your good behavior (like passing on that third glass of wine) and treat yourself that new nail polish you’ve been eyeing instead.

7.  Plan your dream vacation for when it’s safe to travel again. Making a plan gives you something to look forward to in the post-COVID days.

So if you’re in a rut and want to break out, do something new (or something you haven’t done for ages.)  Try a new recipe, run on a different path, or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Or even pull out the oil paints and give it a go!


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