Ever feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? Whether you have children or just animals, are single or happily partnered-up with someone, there are some days that feel like an endless hamster wheel. There are other movies that demonstrate the dreaded rat-race of life. Joe Versus the Volcano was one of them with beloved Tom Hanks who was fighting his way through the mundane.
The same sort of problem Ron Livingston portrayed playing the never forgotten Peter Gibbons, an everyday kind of guy tired of the ordinary BS that came with his life. And of course there is Tyler Durden in the the adaptation of Chuck Pahlinuk’s Fight Club. But, who can top Michael Douglas’s performance in Falling Down as he plays an unemployed, middle-aged man overwhelmed with the everyday annoyances, sick of the idiocy he’s faced with each day. It’s as if all of them, ironically played by white men, reflect what psychologists would label as a nervous breakdown followed by a nice dose of midlife crisis, and a dash of psychotic break with reality.
If I searched deep enough in my geeky film brain, I can probably dig up some movies played by women who are having their own “midlife crisis.” Except usually, those stories wind up less humorous and more like Revolutionary Road or the more recent Blue Jasmine. If you weren’t clinically depressed prior to the movie, or even suicidal, you might opt for a nice high bridge to jump off or a sharp razor after watching.
The only humorous spin of a woman in crisis in Hollywood films deals with our biological clock, as the woman races against time to try and have a baby, find a husband or settle down before it’s too late. There are way too many examples of that story line, so let me just stop right there. That’s an entirely different film analysis however, and not my point at all.
Here’s the bottom line, regardless of gender, we all have our own version of Groundhog’s Day, when our lives have become so routine nothing seems exciting anymore. Maybe you are experiencing the opposite, where everything feels so hectic that you almost feel suffocated. Stress and the effects that it has on the body are essentially the same. When stress takes over we often experience problems sleeping, concentrating, mood swings, maybe even a blanketed apathetic view of our lives in general. It can also affect our health.
If you want to get out of your rut, you don’t really need to make things complicated. While seeing a therapist does help, sometimes little changes in our lives make a huge difference. For example, if you have been working a lot of hours that have turned into weeks and months, take a break, a “mental health day.” Perhaps all you need to do, pardon the cliché, is smell the flowers.
Follow the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid):
1. Take some time off work if you can and go somewhere, even if it is for 3 days.
2. Change your daily routine, take a different route to work, exercise in the morning instead of after work, anything that might change things up.
3. Go to the book store, order it on Amazon, or buy it on iTunes- regardless, invest in a good book or two. Whether it is an actual book or these days, I prefer getting an audiobook or e-book for my iPad. Get something that will motivate you or get you inspired again. Even if it’s a stupid self-help book, get it if it will make you feel better.
4. Invest in a white board, large enough where you can write out your goals. Put down what you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. Many times having an action plan is enough to inspire changing your current situation.
5. Hang around positive people, friends who lift you up and do something you enjoy doing. Make sure that it involves exercising, getting some sun, enjoying the longer days. If you have a family, dogs, or just going it solo- no problem. Either way, get out there and plan something fun to do outdoors.