This is a reader-supported website. When you purchase products and services through links here, we may receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
Life is truly riotous. It’s not a clíche when they say it’s a rollercoaster; full of ups and downs. Just as we appreciate spring so much because it comes after a stark and chilly winter, without life’s obstacles, we wouldn’t appreciate life’s great times so much, they’d be without contrast. That’s not to say that the downs aren’t difficult, demanding and draining. Because, let’s face it, sometimes they’re so tricky that we can get awfully stuck in them.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve managed to re-frame the stuck times as a symptom that whatever I was doing up to that point, probably wasn’t working for me, it’s a forced recalibration of sorts. It helps me to avoid the feeling that I’m sinking down a slippery slope and that there’s an inevitable crash and burn and insidious mental anguish waiting for me at the bottom. By taking a somewhat investigative stance instead, that sense of helplessness and hopelessness doesn’t quite take root. Most importantly, it feels like something I might be able to take a semblance of control over rather than it feel as though it’s controlling me.
Turn things down a notch or two
Typically, when we’re feeling stuck, we also feel overwhelmed by all that’s facing us. There’s a tiredness to it too, just trying to keep our wits about us and the balls in the air. Put down as many balls as you can. Our circumstances will all vary and the support at our wherewithal will differ but there’s undoubtedly something or some things we can put down temporarily or remove entirely. Think of it as a gentle declutter and start with the ‘oughts’ – the things you feel you have to do but dread. If you can’t put those things down, try to renegotiate the expectations you’ve placed on yourself and renegotiate with the others involved. This could look like extending a deadline, saying no to overtime, taking annual leave, roping in other cohabitants to help with the mental load of running a household, changing your mind about something you’ve said yes to and communicating that with whoever it is that needs to be notified, postponing appointments, creating boundaries around who you’re contactable by and when, and so on.
The key here is to make space and to hold and protect that space with all of your might. Space for rest, space to think, space to recalibrate, space to see through the fog.How To Get Unstuck: Some Ideas To Help You Move Forward Click To Tweet
Lean into what feels better
From angst to joy is one almighty leap. We’re not going to try that. Instead, we’re going to aim to do the things which feel a notch up from where we’re at. This is the time for those purposeful calming and soothing things. With that space we’ve made, we can now try to get that nervous system of ours to stand down. Think long soaks in the bath, proper night’s sleep, re-runs of your favourite TV show, snuggling up with a blanket and reading a good book, walks, a date with your friends, singing at the top of your lungs, whatever it looks like for you. The idea is that we’ll feel more grounded but also that we’re reminding ourselves that within all of the stuckness, we can consciously create these pockets of reprieve. We’re bringing ourselves back to ourselves. That’s important.
Within the go-go-go we can forget the things which light us up to make more room for all that adulting. Reclaiming time gives us space to consider what might fill us back up again. That’s one of the crucial things we’re not taught at school – that life is all give and take, ebb and flow, doing and being. We have to learn how to feed both sides.
Being stuck means that something isn’t working for us. Sometimes a simple life change or a different perspective is all it takes to free up the mental energy to continue. Sometimes it’s a bigger shake-up. You’re worthy of a life that doesn’t deplete you. We all are.
With that in mind, what does that look and feel like for you? What are the issues, the obstacles, the things holding you back? In what way do you wish things could be different? Try to journal on it without self-judgment or self-criticism. Write through it as you go through it.
The next step is my favourite one because I feel as though we quite often give the most amazing advice to our loved ones but get stuck in our heads when it comes to ourselves. It’s so easy to problem-solve from the outside looking in. So, that’s what we’ll do. Write a letter to a “friend” who is going through what you’re going through. Pour the same love, encouragement, guidance and kindness into your letter as you would if you were writing to someone you care about. What would you advise? What do you see that they could do? That, hopefully, should help you to see some solutions as to what your next steps might be.
Go for the low-hanging fruit. The simpler solutions. Pick those off first. Partially because we need to be mindful of our energy levels and resources – we don’t want to return to overwhelmedness – but also because it’s astonishing how much momentum and confidence can come from taking small steps and those adding up.
Let people help
We fear being a burden yet we love to help others when they need it. What a paradox that is. Tell those you trust that you’re going through the mill and allow them to help if it’ll help. That might be with childcare to give you a breather, it could be that they offer to batch some meals for your freezer which takes all of the thinking and doing out of mealtimes for a spell, perhaps it’s the offer of an ear and you really could do with speaking through some stuff. We don’t have to go through things alone, the stuck times aren’t contagious, and we deserve a hand-hold and bolster as much as the next person.
If you don’t have a ‘village’ to step in and step up, I’d highly recommend taking a look at The Hub of Hope. There are so many terrific organisations and groups available who are set up to support us when things get a bit iffy.
You can and will get through this. Of that, there is no doubt.
>> Sharing is caring: please share this post with anyone it might help.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: