Ever have those days when nothing major happens, it’s just an ordinary day, but all of a sudden you start feeling uninspired and find yourself feeling stuck?
I love it when there’s a lot of excitement in my life. I love it when there’s a lot happening, I love having fun and good things to look forward to. Sometimes, however, things can get a little quiet. A little calm, normal… ordinary. Other times, you find yourself dealing with a difficult situation and it can consume you to the point where it’s all you think about.
So, what do you do to feel better? How do you move past that feeling of being unable to move forward and how do you transform those “ordinary” days into “extraordinary” and exciting ones?
10 THINGS TO FOCUS ON WHEN YOU’RE FEELING STUCK
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
When was the last time you did something for the first time? Something fun that made you feel free and curious again? Try something new, something you’ve never done before- this can sometimes be one of the quickest ways of getting out of a rut. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, expensive or time-consuming, as long as it’s something that will put you out of your comfort zone. The cool thing about stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things that scare you is that it shows you that you’re not done growing. You get to see that you’re much braver than you give yourself credit for, that some of those things you’re uncomfortable trying are really not all that bad. Doing something that intimidates you a little can bring that excitement back into your life, it can help you learn new things and see yourself in a different way.
TUNE OUT THE NOISE
When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it’s very easy to fall into these negative or unproductive patterns. You feel discouraged, bad, uninspired, but also maybe a little guilty, so you distract yourself from those thoughts. The phone always stays in your hand so you can distract yourself, the TV is playing somewhere in the background because if you’re left alone with your thoughts you suddenly go into the “overthink and overanalyze” mode.
Grab a bottle of water and go for a long walk. Turn off your phone. Go for a bike ride. Go for a run. Get out of the house and spend some time in the fresh air. Forget about all of your chores and responsibilities for a few minutes and focus on your breathing, on being present. Silence can be very intimidating, especially when you feel stuck, unsure about the near future or confused about things that are going on in your life. Silence can also have some answers and deep down we all know exactly what we want- but you can’t find those answers if you’re constantly searching for new ways to distract yourself, just because you’re afraid.
HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOURSELF?
Whenever you feel stuck, chances you will also start doubting yourself at some point. You might start comparing yourself to others, doubting some of your decisions and wondering if your hard work is ever going to pay off. Find a few positive affirmations that you love, write them down and repeat them over and over again. Instead of constantly telling yourself “I don’t know what to do, I suck.” tell yourself “I make peace with the present moment,” “I am in control of my life.” If you’ve never used affirmations before, it might feel a little silly at first, but it does work- you just have to stick with it and make it a daily habit. Research proves that affirmations actually change the brain on a cellular level- our thoughts have a direct connection to our level of health and outlook on life. You probably wouldn’t discourage a friend when they’re feeling down, telling them they suck, or that they’re stupid, would you? Well, maybe you shouldn’t do that to yourself, either?
WORK IT OUT
Nothing makes me feel better than a good, exhausting workout session- especially on those days when it’s the last thing on my mind. Sometimes I have to literally force myself to workout, but once I’m done, I always feel SO much better and my mind feels clear and uncluttered. The exhausting, sweat-dripping kind of workout is one of those things that I really miss being able to do. Looking out for your mental wellbeing never involves doing just one thing, but to me, those HIIT and even plyometrics sessions I hated so much were a lifeline and something that helped me stay sane.
Of course, considering my current situation those are out of the question, but I still find ways to push myself, to feel a little stronger and to use any excess negative energy to fuel those workouts. It’s not just about releasing those endorphins, although that helps, too. It’s about using your feelings of self-doubt and insecurity or maybe even a little anger and putting it all to a productive use. Physical activity can help you release tension and it’s sort of like meditation in motion. Find something you enjoy doing (tennis, basketball, swimming, running) and remember that working out does not have to be boring or feel like a chore.
A LITTLE CONFIDENCE BOOST
Sometimes when you find yourself feeling stuck, you also stop caring about the little things. Things like focusing on your goals and growth, finishing that book, or really small things like doing your hair, picking out outfits that make you feel good and happy, etc. These might seem like small and silly things, but sometimes feeling stuck can also have a bit of a domino effect. Your life lacks excitement or growth, so you feel discouraged. If those feelings don’t pass then you might find that you simply stop caring about those small, seemingly insignificant things but they can often act as little confidence boosters.
SPEND TIME WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE
Take someone close to dinner- your mom, sister, friend, your partner- and talk it out. Better yet, throw a little mid-week dinner party and invite everyone- and hey, a simple wine and pizza gettogether counts as a dinner party. We all find ourselves being so busy these days; when was last time you grabbed lunch with someone you love, in the middle of the week? This also includes yourself.
Sometimes you may not have that special someone, or they may not be available- take yourself out on a date, then. If you don’t feel like it, you don’t even need to technically “go out.” Buy a copy of your favorite magazine or two, grab some takeout from your favorite place on your way home and spend an afternoon or an evening enjoying your own company.
Some of us have the ability to find inspiration and motivation within ourselves and some of us need that little extra push. When you feel that “blah” feeling coming, read an inspiring book or watch something inspiring like one of these 11 Ted Talks to Watch When You’re Stuck in a Rut. Remember that even though reading or watching something inspiring is meant to ignite that little spark in you that is supposed to motivate action, that inspiration still has to come from you. It’s not something that you can just find while reading a list of quotes. Those things help, yes, but ultimately, it’s up to you to find it.
MIX UP YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
Do something fun, something different from your usual routine. If every single one of your days looks exactly the same, finding excitement can be difficult. Maybe you’re a creature of habit; you love being in control and get a little annoyed at any changes in your schedule or routine. Well, sometimes mixing things up a little can be just the thing you need. Avoid mindless routines or ones that waste your time- analyze some of your patterns and ask yourself if some of your routine habits might be at fault for your feeling stuck.
TAKE A STEP BACK
When all else fails and you can’t find your way back in- take a step back. Taking a break might be all you need to feel better. Give yourself one day to feel “sorry” for yourself, cry it out, express your frustration and don’t hold anything back. Then, at the end of the day, sit down and come up with a plan. Ask yourself about those things that make you feel stuck or frustrated or sad. What can you change? What are some things that you can’t change? What are some things you want to change, but feel too afraid or intimidated? What do you have to lose if you do make that change?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT
The funny thing about that feeling of being stuck is that sometimes even you don’t know what it is exactly that you want out of your life. Maybe you don’t know why you feel the way you feel and don’t know exactly how you can make yourself feel better. You don’t have to have it all figured out; you don’t have to know exactly what it is that you want- but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a change or making progress. Try new things, meet new people, visit new places- moving, doing, trying and learning is the only way you can find those missing pieces. None of it will just “come to you” while you’re sitting around blaming yourself or your circumstances- you have to put yourself out there to find it.
When you don’t have anything exciting happen in your life for a while, when you don’t have much to look forward to or when something that you’ve been working on for a very long time isn’t bringing results you’ve hoped for, it’s easy to suddenly start feeling “stuck.”
You can wait for those feelings to pass, or you can take charge of them and bring back some excitement to your life. Remember that you don’t have to depend on some special event or project to give you something to look forward to. That anticipation is great, but those ordinary days don’t have to be so bad, either. And, if you’re really craving a change, remember that nothing changes if nothing changes.