What to do when you’re feeling stuck
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged. I’m working harder than I ever have on my plans and goals. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize. But recently I’ve just feel like I’m on a merry-go-round, doing the same things every day, struggling with the same things every day, stuck where I’m at and not able to move any closer to where I want to go. I feel frustrated. I feel very much like I’m spinning my wheels, busy busy busy all the time, but not gaining any traction. Plus, it’s winter. Ugh. It always gets to me this time of year. Overall, I am just in a big, stupid funk.
And to top it all off, I scroll through Facebook and see 90% positive posts about other people’s successes and how happy and motivated they are (which is because I’ve unfriended or hid the negative people and have worked hard to surround myself with positive, happy people!), and I think, what the hell is the matter with me, that I can’t be more like them? Of course I do realize that, like me, a lot of people don’t put their negative shit on Facebook, they keep it offline and go to their good friends and family to vent. Either way, it has not helped my funk and has just made me feel more discouraged.
At one time in my life, I would have wallowed. I would have relished feeling down and thrown up my hands, giving into it all, spiraling into a deep, dark, depression. I would have turned to food, punishing myself with it and gaining 10-20 lbs. I would have shut out friends and family, withdrawing into myself, in a gigantic pity party for one. And I would have blamed my circumstances, other people, the moon’s alignment, and anything else I could think of instead of taking responsibility for my thoughts and feelings.
That’s just not me anymore. I’ve realized how much power there is in taking control and taking responsibility of my life. I recognize that there will always be some things I’m not in control of. But the majority of the stuff that affects my life, day to day, I absolutely can control. Even if it’s just how I react to the things I can’t control, you know?
So today I decided enough is enough. I don’t like being in a funk. I don’t like feeling powerless. I don’t like not looking forward to my day. I sat down today and made a list of a bunch of different things I could do and have done in the past to pull me out of it. I want to share it with you today in hopes that one, some, or all of these ideas might help you out the next time you’re feeling down, stuck, or otherwise not your usual upbeat, motivated, rock star self.
- Decide to change. The simplest, most powerful first step you can take is to decide you’re just not gonna do it anymore. Decide that from here on out, you are going to be in control of how you feel and what you do. Period.
- Do something that scares you. I’m not necessarily suggesting skydiving or swimming with sharks, though feel free if you’re so compelled! It can be something small like trying a new hobby you’ve never tried before or going to a Meetup group you’ve never been to. Anything that gets your heart going a bit and nudges you outside your comfort zone can jolt you out of your rut.
- Take a day off. Give yourself permission to take a day off. Relax, spend the day reading or working on a hobby or meeting a friend for coffee or a walk. Sometimes just having a completely self-indulgent day is enough to re-energize you.
- Move. Seriously. Get up and move. I’m not talking a hardcore workout, unless that’s what you’re into. Do something that makes your body feel good. The difference it makes in your mood and mental well being is incredible. For me it’s yoga because it forces me to slow down and be very present, pushing aside all other thoughts and emotions. Plus it makes me feel like I’ve had a full body massage by the end of it…
- Take stock. Rather than just focusing on how far you need to go to achieve your goals and dreams, take stock of just how far you’ve already come. Write down all of your accomplishments, big and small, and be proud of the progress you’ve made!
- Try something new. Novelty can be a powerful tool. That thing that you’ve been thinking of trying? Go do it. Don’t worry about whether you’ll rock it or not, just go do it. It’ll get your head out of your current situation and move your thoughts in a different, productive direction.
- Check out some new scenery. If you can’t afford the time or finances to get away somewhere, that’s ok. Something as simple as taking a different route home from work or being a tourist in your own town/city can make a huge difference. It’s all about breaking routine. Which takes me to my next idea.
- Shake up your routine. Do things in a different order. Throw in a midday cup of tea. Go outside for lunch instead of sitting at your desk. Change is good!
- Create something. Nobody ever needs to see/hear/read it, if your objection is that you’re not an artist/musician/writer. There’s just something about making something from nothing. Even if it’s nailing some pieces of wood together. Or putting together a model car. Again, it’s about moving your thoughts and perspective in a different direction and getting out of the cycle of thoughts you might be stuck in.
- Visualize. One of my biggest struggles is comparing myself to everyone else and not having a clear picture of what success is going to look like for me. So I take 5-10 minutes, get rid of all distractions, close my eyes, and work on getting a clear picture of what my life and me are going to look like when I get where I want to go. I see myself fit and healthy, with confidence, financial abundance, and joy, being well traveled, and surrounded by people I love. I visualize that until the picture is so clear in my mind that I can come back to it quickly, any time, anywhere.
- Gratitude. This is so so important. How do you expect to ever find happiness if you are constantly thinking about what you don’t have? It’s just not possible. Spend 5 minutes making a list of all the amazing things you have in your life. Everyone has struggles. Everyone faces obstacles. Everyone has circumstances in their lives that are not perfect. The difference between the happy people and the not so happy people is attitude. Be grateful for what you have and work towards what you want.
- Do something for someone else. Zig Ziglar said, ‘You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.’ The quickest way to fill yourself with joy is by making someone else’s life better. Whether it’s listening to someone vent, sending a text to tell someone you’re thinking of them, or helping an overwhelmed mom with some free babysitting, it will take the focus off of you for a while and put it on someone else.
Do some of these. Do all of them. But do something. Don’t allow yourself to wallow anymore. Life is way too short!