Stuck in a rut? Here are 10 specific steps you can take to get re-energized at work.

Stuck in a rut? Here are 10 specific steps you can take to get re-energized at work.
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Note: This content was co-created in partnership with Lowe’s Careers.

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in your car in the parking lot at work, dreading the walk to your desk.

That kind of mental rough-patch at work can put a serious damper on your happiness and productivity. The good news? Regardless of your circumstances, there’s so much you can do to “bounce back” and get in the right head space to tackle every challenge.

Life at Lowe’s is all about balance and maximizing every career opportunity, so we knew they’d have some pro tips for us. We sat down with executive recruiter Courtney Rhodes to learn a few actionable steps – consider this a free coaching session.

(1) Upgrade your morning routine.

Incorporate easy exercise, find peace and take some quiet time to figure out your day – beyond just your job. Change up your breakfast, whether you’re always eating the same thing or nothing at all. Something too heavy can really have an effect on our brain and outlook. It should be hearty and healthy.

(2) Take advantage of your commute.

“On my way to and from work I listen to audio books and inspirational songs,” says Courtney. “Sometimes I’ll call an old friend or relative to get in a better mindset. When you’re in a rut – I’ve been there – sometimes that drive feels like you’re going to your own funeral. Be intentional and do things like turn on music that excites you, podcasts, anything.”

(3) Get. Out. Of. The. Car.

When you’re in that rough patch, it’s hard to physically get moving when you arrive at work. You may sit for 15 or even 30 minutes. You may even go to work early to have time to sit, and it’s so unhealthy. You’re thinking about all the things you have to do and it builds up, when you could just do it. Turn the ignition off and walk through the door.

(4) Change up your wardrobe.

Add a few things that get you in the mindset of your next career move. It can make a big difference in the way you see yourself and how others see you. It doesn’t have to be a complete wardrobe makeover – just a couple of pieces here and there. “This is my power suit, power dress, power shirt…” Little wins.

(5) Avoid negative water cooler chatter.

Separate yourself from negative colleagues and be sure to avoid speaking negatively about your job or current situation. Instead of gossiping and griping over lunch, take time to walk, read a book, or map out your next career move. If you’re focused on your goals it will really get you out of that rut. Know what you’re working toward.

(6) Interested in an internal move to change things up? Start with your supervisor.

Everyone knows how to make a move externally – with an internal move, the important thing is to be strategic. Have a conversation with your superior and say, “I’m looking for my next opportunity. I want to start here and see if there are opportunities for elevation within the department” or “Here are my goals – I’m not sure if I can do that within this group but I want to get your thoughts on how to get to the next level.”

You might be surprised – your supervisor might be working on a new position that’s exactly what you want. Or maybe they can’t help you on the journey, but they can be your champion and cheerleader and provide intros that you need for the next level.

If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your supervisor won’t be that champion for you, then skip to step 2 – talk to a trusted HR advisor.

First, make sure you are eligible to apply internally (sometimes there’s a waiting period). After your supervisor is aware of the situation, start networking with the managers and people in the departments you want to get to. Set up coffees and lunches, and get your pitch together. “My previous experience is x, y, z and I currently do a and b… I’d like to work for your department because…” And be sure to include how you’re going to add value for the targeted department.

(7) Make sure to have an updated resume on hand.

People often forget to update it while in a current role, and forget to add wins as they go (especially quantifiable wins). If you’re not comfortable, you can hire a respected resume writer to help you.

It’s not so you can shove it around – you want to have quick access to it so that when you do have intentional conversations and someone says, “Hey, send me your resume,” you aren’t sitting on it for 2-3 weeks because you weren’t prepared.

(8) Be open to possibilities you haven’t imagined.

It’s great to have a plan, but it’s also nice to be open. There are some phenomenal managers who are great at professional development. A great supervisor might say, “Hey, you’re good with managing people,” or “I’ve noticed you’re good with presentations, have you considered moving into … ?” They’ve observed your work and know your limitations so they can serve as a career coach, too.

(9) Set achievable goals for quick wins.

We all have those ultimate big goals that can feel like climbing Mt. Fuji. You think, I’m never going to get there. Maybe you want to be CEO, but first you have to have a different title or work in a certain department. How do you get to the next step?

Consult with a trusted mentor that can provide a roadmap on those steps. For example, do you need any additional education?

“I highly recommend bite-sized, week-by-week or day-by-day goals,” says Courtney.

They can be super small. What if you sent three emails to three different CEOs this week? That’s a huge win. What if you sent three emails to three potential managers for your next position this week? Huge win.

(10) Focus on your own confidence.

If you’re stuck in a rut, really dig deep on why. If you’re thinking, “I’m a good person, a hard worker… why am I stuck in a rut?” It’s likely because you’ve stopped focusing on your goals and on yourself, more than any external factors.

It’s so important to get back to that self development so that your confidence shines through. The things you want are not out of your reach.

Can’t get enough? Here are 4 of Courtney’s favorite resources to get you fired up for the rest of your week:

Life at Lowe’s is all about finding balance, working with great teams, and maximizing every career opportunity. Dive in and learn more.

Note: This content was created in partnership with Lowe’s. 

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