5 things to do for when you feel stuck

It is really easy to give advice in hindsight or just from an outsiders perspective. However, when you are in the midst of a personal challenge it can be difficult to know how to help yourself in the moment. It’s something that takes time and practice.

I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck. Sometimes sitting around, wallowing and doing the bare minimum feels like the only thing that you can muster the effort for. However, if you’re willing to step outside of yourself and whatever situation you’re in you’ll see that there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more useful.

Things like:

Doing a workout because endorphins make you feel good.

Going for a walk in nature because nature is a healer or will at least help you feel calm.

Venting to someone that won’t give advice because often you just want to be heard and don’t need someone to tell you what to do.

Have a solo dance party because your favourite music will always brighten your day.

Journaling to work through your feelings because it helps bring clarity.

Figure out what you need

Through periods of overwhelm it’s easy to feel lost and stuck. When there are 101 problems finding a solution can be challenging.

Often, the best place to start is by figuring out what you need in the moment.

Finish the sentence:

When I feel anxious in a crowded place, I need…

Perhaps you’re in a crowded place feeling anxious, sirens are going off in your mind and part of you just wants to go home this instant.

But all you need is a moment alone in a quiet place to do something soothing like count, a sensory exercise or tapping.

It takes practice to know what you need, practice to know when to apply it and practice to be able to take space to care for yourself.

But practice makes perfect so it’s worth a try.

Anxious

In a recent post I wrote about embracing awkward. Shortly after I realised that what I was referring to was anxiety, specifically social anxiety.

I then got thinking about what being socially anxious looks like. I think when a person becomes aware of their own behaviour, they can end up amplifying it. You’re sitting there doing the thing and instead of catching yourself, stopping and doing something else you just do it more whilst your inner monologue runs wild.

It’s like you’re paralysed unable to do what you know would be helpful. And from the outside you appear awkward like it’s some sort of quirky personality trait which is often easier to accept than anxiety.

If you don’t think you’re good enough

If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.

You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.

Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.

This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.

Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.

It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.

That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.

Asking for what you want

I think that sometimes we’re afraid to ask for what we want because we’re afraid that we won’t get it.

And so, it seems easier to stay where we are and to stick with what we have right now than to seek more. If you don’t believe that you can have it then what’s the point?

But, I still think that it’s important to ask and to seek more. This is how you create the life that you want. If your expectations and ideas of what you can have and what is possible for your life are capped based what particular people will agree to, then you’re never going to have the life you want.

Just because one person says no, doesn’t mean you’ll never get a yes. It’s also important to remember that you might not even need anyone’s permission, you can decide what you want for yourself and then go for it.

What matters most?

Sometimes the choice you have to make is between taking care of yourself and meeting other peoples expectations.

Nobody wants to be considered a let down which is why often people end up putting themselves aside and focusing more on other people. But you shouldn’t treat yourself as though you don’t matter, you matter just as much as everyone else.

It shouldn’t take you sacrificing yourself in order for other people to be happy.

And maybe you haven’t even realised that you’re doing it. Perhaps it just takes you looking at things as an outsider to realise, you’re so focused on meeting other peoples needs that you’ve stopped making time to tend to your own.

Saying yes to what you want

The idea of saying yes to what you want is pretty simple yet somehow we often end up doing the opposite.

We end up saying yes to things that we don’t want.

We have this idea in our mind of what we want, what we’ll say yes to and what we’re willing to accept. Then, when the moment arises where we have the opportunity to show up truthfully, we crumble.

We say yes instead of no and we make allowances or excuses for other people. It’s like we intentionally draw the short straw. It could be about people pleasing, a fear of hurting other peoples feelings or maybe you’re just scared to say no.

What ever the reason, you’re the one that then ends up committing to something that doesn’t even align with what you really want.

And when this happens, it shows. You give less effort, show less enthusiasm and even if you don’t say it, you end up giving off a sort of ‘I don’t want to do this vibe’.

Essentially you just make things harder for yourself and you end up less happy than you could have been.

Time for a change

When you’re ready to change, you’ll feel it.

It could be a change of city, job, relationship, diet, hobby, hairstyle or routine.

Taking the example of work, perhaps you’re no longer passionate and motivated to achieve the things you once aspired to. Maybe in the past when you were stressed you had the motivation to get through it because it would be worth it in the end whereas now you feel the complete opposite.

Or with your morning routine, you may have had a set of 7 things you’d do every morning before starting your day. Then, all of a sudden that feels like a waste of time and you realise you’re happier to strip it back to just 3.

When you get the feeling that it’s time for change, it’s it’s important to go with it because it won’t go away.

It’s the old case of what you resist persists. And so if you don’t jump when you feel it’s time for a change, life will give you a push.

Everything could be different

So often, we get deeply and strongly attached. We hope that things will remain as they are.

We fear that change might bring in what we don’t want and clear out what we do want.

But, I like to believe that as wonderful and perfect as things might be right now, everything could be different and still be wonderful and perfect.

That serves as a reminder that it’s okay for things to change.

There is no need to hold great attachment to the way things are, in doing so we don’t allow space for the new.

New might not be ‘better’ but it will be different. It’s the opportunity to experience something you’ve never experienced, it’s a chance to learn and grow.

Open to change

Sometimes in life you can be so set on knowing yourself and figuring out who you are that you don’t leave room for flexibility.

I think it’s important to find the balance between knowing yourself, whilst still remaining open to new things.

You don’t want to end up being rigid.

However, the reason we close ourselves off to new things is because it can take a lot of effort to change.

Your thoughts, opinions, beliefs and world view took a long time to develop and become what they are today. Being open to new information that could change any of that can feel like more hassle than it’s worth. Or maybe it feels like a threat to your sense of self.

Suddenly, the things you aspired to, cared about and believed in are different. It’s almost like you’ve become someone new, which is not a bad thing. However, the hard part can come from showing up as a changed person and letting go of your old self.