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Signs You Need Change to Optimize Your Mental Health

We tend to prefer certainty and stability over spontaneity and uncertainty. We may turn down exciting opportunities out of fear and a desire to stay where we know it’s safe. While a routine certainly has its benefits, an excessive avoidance of change due to fear of the unknown can make us feel bored and unfulfilled.

The stats show that “routine burnout” is quite common, with a whopping 80% of Americans feeling “stuck in a rut.” How can we get over our fear of change and embrace opportunities around us? And how does embracing change improve our mental health? Here is what we know.

Routine, Stability, Boredom, and Mental Health

According to therapists and scientists, routine creates structure which optimizes our physical and mental health. We like to know what is going to happen next. It makes us feel safe and secure in the world around us. Children do great when adults model and implement a routine. They like to know what boundaries exist so they can learn how to exceed in the routine created for them. As adults, we aren’t much different. Humans are creatures of habit.

While a routine is great for improving our mental health, we lose out when our routines are too rigid. There must be room for growth, risks, fun, and evolvement. If there isn’t, those feelings of being “stuck in a rut” start to emerge. Our anxiety and depression begin to skyrocket. Yes; routines are healthy but not when they prevent us from trying new things or taking on new opportunities. We need to know when it’s time to switch up our routines so we can be the best versions of ourselves.

When is it Time to Make a Change?

Here are the top signs that you are ready to make a life change and get out of an unhealthy routine:

  • You can’t remember the last time that you made a new friend or tried out a new hobby. Meeting new people is critical. We change as we age, and we need new people in our lives to reflect those changes. It’s great to maintain old friendships, but don’t let the stability of those friendships prevent you from expanding your circle. Also, be more open to trying out new hobbies and developing different skills.

  • Your life is chaotic, but not in a good way. Do you constantly feel stressed out? Is there little time for fun or spontaneity? If so, you may be keeping yourself busy to avoid a growing sense of unease or boredom. Why keep busy if you aren’t enjoying it or being productive? Consider slowing down and removing activities that no longer serve you. Don’t be afraid to have downtime. We all need to recharge and enjoy life.

  • You are sick of your family and/or partner. If you no longer enjoy spending time with your family or significant other, it’s time to consider why. Are you tired of doing the same things together? Do they feel stuck in a rut too? Or, have you moved past a romantic relationship that no longer works for you? Ask yourself the tough questions. Consider partaking in new and fun activities with your children to improve the bonding experience. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, talk to a therapist about what steps to take to get out.

  • You hate your job, but you stay because it’s easy. Too many of us stay in jobs out of fear and convenience. While we sometimes have to work at a job we don’t like because we need the money, we shouldn’t stay in a job you hate indefinitely. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Consider going back to school or learning a new skill. When the opportunity for a new job arises, don’t immediately turn it down out of fear.

  • At the end of the day, you feel anxious and depressed. Anxiety and depression are signs that something is wrong. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Talk to a loved one or a therapist about your feelings. If these emotions are related to boredom or feeling unfulfilled, then it’s probably time to make a change. Write down some goals for the next year and start working on one at a time.

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you suffering from anxiety and depression? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.

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