Hi girls, you always seem to be out doing something fabulous and having fun. I feel like I am stuck in such a social rut! I go to work during the week, then come home and make dinner, make sure the kids are bathed and homework is done, then I might watch an hour of TV if I have the energy and then fall into bed, exhausted! The weekends all seem to revolve around the kids’ sports and getting all the chores done around the house. How can I break out of this social rut and start to bring some fun back into my life? xx Jen
Great question, Jen and one that I think we are well qualified to answer here at CC HQ.
Totally understand how you feel, it’s tough when we are all so time poor and tired. But like anything, if you want to do something in your life, you have to make time for it.
Key to breaking out of a social rut is to firstly decide that you really want to. If you do, you have to make your social life and YOU a priority. Because let’s face it, the reality is that no-one in your house really wants you to go anywhere. They are NEEDY. They like you being all at their beck and call and available, whenever they holler, to fix their Octopod or read them a book or lay rose petals at their feet and fluff their down-filled silken pillows before nap time.
So the question I need to ask you is: Do you want to have bags of fun, hang out with people that make you howl with laughter, have an hour or two of ladylove away from the mind numbing boredom of household routine, and then return feeling refreshed and sparkly, with your high five reflex triggered?
Right. Now that we’ve sorted that out, the rest is pretty damn easy.
Step 1: Ring a friend >> Step 2: Go out
Result = Social rut resoundingly broken out of and ass kicked.
Alright I’m being flippant, I know it is never as simple as that.
Here are my proper tips for breaking out of a social rut.
 See socialising as a priority
Being with others is a human need. Socialising is not just something nice to do, it’s hugely important and there is much research that points to the power of staying connected and the damage that loneliness can cause. Spending time talking and being with friends and family is also key to building resilience, which I wrote about a while ago in my article “Resilience building tips to help cope with crisis”. We are all about the #ladylove here at Champagne Cartel!
 Treat socialising as a logistical problem to solve
My husband and I have a 3 and 6 year old, which means a busy schedule of family responsibilities and daycare/school/sport activities. Plus he has a corporate career and I run a small business. We both like to be fit and healthy so I go to the gym regularly and he plays competitive tennis. This means that we have to consult each other and schedule social events at times when it works best for everyone. This could be at night or an afternoon or a weekend – just whatever works. We have designated no-go zones for social activity, but we also make sure that each other gets a fair crack at socialising and will take it in turns during busy times.
If you want to do it, schedule it in and make it happen. If you want to make it happen but are struggling to make friends, read our article on “How to make friends in your 30s and 40s.”
 Think outside the box
Sometimes the only block of time I’ll have free is a week night when husby is playing tennis or working late. If I’m keen for a catchup I’ll invite a girlfriend around for a glass of vino and a platter of nibblies. Depending on circumstance this could happen after the kids are in bed at 7.30pm. Or sometimes I’ll invite a couple of friends and they can keep each other company when I read the kids their bedtime book. Conceptually it may seem like a ballache, but once you get it happening you realise how refreshing and totally worthwhile it is.
Another great thing to do mid-week is arrange to exercise with someone. If you are an early riser you could catchup before work, or go for an after dinner stroll if you have friends in your local area.
I would mention that your mid-week catchups MUST be super relaxed and with people you know really well. You don’t want to have to worry about cleaning the toilet, picking up all the lego or putting a bra on! OK I always have a bra on, but often I am in comfy pants and no shoes.
 Be sensible on school nights
Week nights can also be great for going out to free events or cheap dinner/movie deals. But I have a rule where I try and be home by 9pm. This means I still get my beauty sleep and am perky for work the next day. If you go out and get hammered, you wake up the next day all psycho and dehydrated, and probably feeling bitter about your night out. You’ll resent the idea of going out, even though it’s not the night’s fault that you are a lush.
 Keep it in the neighbourhood
I am lucky to have an amazing group of smart, funny, entertaining neighbours that I love hanging out with. We catchup regularly, often with little notice and usually with the kids. Someone might want to offload some food, or feel like a weekend cuppa, or a husband might be away and a hug is required. I can’t speak highly enough of the importance of getting to know people near where you live who can pop in at a moments notice.
 Be virtually awesome
There are times when going out just isn’t possible. Or sometimes the people you love are a long way away. This does not mean you have to avoid socialising. Get thee to Skype or Facetime, pour a drink and have a much needed catchup with someone who rocks your world. Or give them a call! I phone a friend or family member most days, usually when I am driving to work in the morning (don’t worry I have a handsfree car thingo setup). The hours spent in the car are such wasted time for me and I love to fill the minutes with the voices of the people I love.