I have been stuck many times in my life. I've been stuck in boring jobs, stuck in unhealthy relationships, stuck in my lack of confidence, stuck in worry about my appearance and stuck in how I feel about my body.
I would venture to say that almost everyone has been stuck before. And when we are, the feeling becomes routine. We keep making the same choices, continue in the same mindset, hang around the same people and participate in the same activities. We may long for happiness, fulfillment and something different, but don't know how to break free from the endless cycle of feeling stuck, or maybe we can't even identify that we are stuck at all.
Either way, here are five telltale signs that you're stuck, and steps you can take to set yourself free.
1. You feel like you are going through the motions.
You know the feeling: you wake up, get ready, go to work, eat lunch, work some more, make dinner, watch TV, sleep, repeat. No excitement, no fulfillment, no vibrancy. We often forget that happiness is our true nature and can get caught up in tasks rather than focusing on how we want to feel.
If you're feeling this way, make sure you take time daily to connect with something you're passionate about. Take note of that one special something that fills you with joy. Thinking about this should bring a smile to your face and make you feel alive. Now, make sure to do that one thing at least once a day.
2. You keep making excuses to avoid change.
When we continue to come up with excuses, we're not allowing for the possibility of a different outcome. We become a hamster on a wheel, exhausted and disheartened. Bottom line: if you look for an excuse, you'll find one.
Ask yourself, “If not now, when?” Consider setting some deadlines around your decision and change-making process. Do you need two weeks to examine your feelings? Do you need a month to research new options? Set timelines to support your change-making process.
3. You feel like you have no idea what to do next, or fear what's to come.
When we fear the future, we have lost our trust in the bigger picture of life. We lose sight of the importance and vitality of living in the here and now. There is a solution when it comes to fear, and the solution is always inside of you at this very moment. There is no need to go searching elsewhere for it.
Schedule time to engage with yourself and visualize a few different scenarios. What feels right? What excites you? Make plans with people who inspire you and discuss your ideas with them. How do they respond and how does that make you feel? Get to know your values through inner-dialogue and conversations with trusted friends.
The next time you start fearing what's to come, put your arms out in front of you with your elbows tucked to your side and remind yourself that everything in that space, your body, your mind and the present moment, is something you have control over (and that’s what matters).
4. You feel scatterbrained.
The moment you wake up, does your mind instantly start racing? Do you struggle to stay focused throughout the day?
When we're stuck, we can often feel like we are running in circles, our minds are foggy, and we start one task without finishing another. Life begins to resemble that terrible song that you can't get out of your head and it's driving you crazy.
To get unstuck, it's essential for you to get out of your usual physical and mental space.
When this feeling comes over you, drive somewhere unfamiliar, move your body in a different way, talk in gibberish, listen to different music. If you are super-organized, get messy. Do something different and watch the magic unfold.
5. You feel like you're just not yourself or something feels off.
Have you been feeling off for no particular reason? Is something just not sitting right with you?
We can start to feel pretty weird when we're stuck in a pattern that doesn't serve our highest calling. We tend to overlook our intuition as something that's not tangible, but our intuition is our truth. Listen to that voice.
When you feel this way, reach out. Our culture romanticizes the idea of hyper-independence, this idea that we can do everything on our own and that “successful” people struggle, sweat, bleed and cry all alone. That is simply not true.
Nobody can do it all alone. Sometimes it takes an impartial ear, a healthy nudge and a feisty advocate to help guide you to your answers and point you toward your dreams.
These are my tips for combating a feeling of being stuck and taking steps to create a passion-filled life. Please let me know what works for you in the comments below.