Professional life can be hard. There, I said it. It can mean long hours with little to no recognition for your work ethic. Though your work may advance the company, it can often feel as though it goes unnoticed. Sound familiar?

It sounds as though you’re suffering from being stuck in a professional rut.

A professional rut could also be described as being in a funk, down in the dumps or just feeling a bit low in regards to your career and professional life. A professional rut can happy to anyone and at any point in their career. Things might be going great, you might have received a promotion or praise for some excellent work a while back…but now what? You might feel as if there’s nowhere else to go.

But the only way is up, my friend, and you won’t be stuck for long! You must actively seek out new methods to un-funk yourself and rediscover your groove (so to speak).

To start, you could try re-arranging your desk. Make some new charts or a to-do list, bring in some extra photos or buy some new stationary. Break the norm and tedious, daily routine and try and find some inspiration in your own space.

If you’re part of a company that does the technique known as hot-desks – where you switch every day to try and boost employee productivity – try to sit beside people who you don’t know anything about or haven’t spoken too much. If your company is relatively small, you could take time out of your day to discuss a bit of what you’re doing with the person beside you to see if they have any ideas or ways to help you better complete your workload.

That professional rut hanging over you still? You might feel like your career is a bit stagnant or not stretching you as much as you’d like, but once again – there’s a simple solution. It might sound strange to ask your boss for MORE work, but explain to your boss that you’d like to broaden your horizons. Not only will your boss or manager probably praise you for taking initiative by asking if there’s anything you can help with, you might land up with something on your desk which is new and interesting. Of course, asking the boss if there’s anything extra you can do never goes astray either and won’t go unnoticed.

There are multiple other ways to work yourself out of a rut that don’t involve work. You can up a new activity outside of work to reduce stress and meet new people. Whether it be yoga, running, painting, it doesn’t really matter if it’s new and exciting. Less stress at home means less stress for you in the workplace, which might help you to calm down and focus on the tasks at hand.

Of course, if your job is not your dream job, then your life is too precious to waste doing a job that won’t make you happy or help you get to a job that will. It might be that you’re stuck in a professional rut because you feel like you’re wasting your time doing something that you hate. If this is the case, then there are always, always, always solutions. You are a skilled and capable individual with a plethora of talent to offer. Scope out new jobs or approach a recruitment agency to see what your skills would be best suited to and the best way to get to your dream job.

In the words of the great Dr Seuss – “You’ve got brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Professional ruts are not the end of the world and they can happen to everyone. Ask for assistance and change up your life a bit and see what happens – you might be surprised!