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.

You and everybody else

When you’re going through something uncomfortable, difficult or challenging it can be easy to forget that other people are experinecing something similar.

Millions if not billions of people have gotten nervous before a job interview, been heartbroken or struggled with anxiety.

It’s not specific to you or personal to you, it just happens to be happening in your life at the moment.

But it’s happening to everybody else too.

What happens when things don’t go as planned?

I think that many people would like to think that they are open to change.

Whether or not this is true can be easily tested. See how they react to things not going how they wanted.

It turns out many of us are actually only open to change within the parameters of getting some version of what we want.

We think this way because we think that we know what the best outcome is. To be open to anything else is the equivalent of wanting bad for yourself.

And that is okay, it’s rare that a person wants things to turn out badly.

But if you shift your mindset, things not going as planned can just be unexpected or challenging situations for you to work through, they don’t need to be bad or even good.

When you do this it makes it much easier to manage when things don’t go to plan.

Lessons in solitude

In the company of one as in you, yourself and um you, there are many valuable lessons to learn.

It could be something as simple as seeing yourself as you are instead of through how you are in interactions with other people. You could learn that despite being agreeable and generally follow the lead of others when in groupn settings, you’re totally different in your own company.

Maybe you like to plan, organise and feel confident to take charge when it comes to solo adventures but struggle for that aspect of yourself to be at the forefront with others.

It could be because you’re used to not being listened to, your self-esteem is low or you have an issue with always putting other peoples wants before your own. But you’ll never see these things unless you make time for solitude.

If you’re always with others you might end up believing that you’re this laid back person who is happy with other people always making the decisions, meanwhile the truth is you’re actually afraid to speak up and say what you want.

But the great thing is once you realise these things you can change them. It might start with taking charge with group plans instead of waiting for someone else to or making a suggestion when you’d usually stay quiet.

Fun, joyful and sweet

If you could choose to shift your perception in order for your life to feel a little more wonderful, would you do it?

Sometimes we’re so bogged down by the challenges we face and the harsh realities of life, we don’t allow ourselves to believe that life can be fun, joyful and sweet.

We see those things as passing moments here and there rather than something that can become our everyday life.

As much as it might seem frustrating a large part of your experience comes from what you choose to focus on. If you’re only focused on the harsh and challenging aspects of life then you’ll end up thinking that there isn’t much else out there. However, we can all choose to see things differently.

It’s not about ignoring the challenges and difficulties but instead remembering that there is so much more to life.

Habit Trackers and finding motivation

Around 5 years ago or whenever it was that bullet journals became all the range, habit trackers were an incredibly popular thing to have. You’d create a list of habits that you wanted to keep track of for the month and then put a cross in the box when you did it and left it blank when you didn’t.

Bullet journaling didn’t actually work that well for me. In theory it was a great tool to stay organized but in reality I couldn’t commit to keeping up with it. However, years later I decided to return to using a habit tracker. I was at a point where i wanted to add some new habits to my daily routine and I thought a habit tracker would help me stay motivated.

I wanted to see if having a chart with what I did and didn’t do each day would make me better at implmenting habits I felt would benefit me. After less than a week I noticed that I was making more of an effort to carry out some of my new habits because I liked the feeling that came with ticking them off. It was also because they were easy to do and didn’t take much time.

On the other hand, the things that were more time consuming were much harder to get into. This is because once you get that ‘good feeling’ for crossing a few things off, you don’t have to do more work in order to feel good. This reminded me that I need to just take action and do the thing instead of using the idea of needed to be motivated in order to get it done.

Do something you thought you’d never do

I think most people have a some idea of who they are, what they like and what they would and wouldn’t do. Sometimes the idea we have of ourselves is flexible. We’re open to the idea of changing even if that means being very different from who we were or who we thought we’d be.

Other times the idea we have of ourselves is rigid. We have a mental note of things we wouldn’t do and we stick to it. There are times when we want to try new things, explore and experiment but we restrict ourselves because it goes against the idea we have of who we are.

But I think there is something wonderful in doing something you thought you’d never do. It’s a reminder that we’re constantly changing and also to remain open to change.

Solution oriented

Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.

For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.

As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.

Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.

A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.

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.