How to become unstuck when you feel stuck
Feeling stuck in life comes from various inputs and situations and we need a way to become unstuck to live with purpose and Joy. Then we can enjoy each day and love our lives even in the middle of busyness and stress. Some of ways we can become stuck include;
- A long term illness or chronic pain
- Relationship problems
- Lack of a sense of purpose
- Burnout in our professions
- Overwhelm at work and working long hours
- Little sense of achievement or loss of passion for our goals
- Grief and sadness that hang around
You’ll notice above I said when you feel stuck. We can feel stuck without actually being stuck. To get out of it, we need solutions to build momentum.
I’ve experienced a stuck feeling many times in my life and as i’ve walked through the stuck feeling I’ve realised it’s a feeling not a truth. But feelings can masquerade as truth.
Also, being stuck can be a sign of something needing to be addressed or changed. For example, if you’re exhausted you may be stuck in one place due to loss of energy and mental rest.
Stuck in the heat
I have a strange experience every January. I’m in Australia so it’s the middle of summer in January. Christmas is over and the busyness has lessened. The kids are home and it’s hot. This year the fires are severe and smoke hangs around. I take leave at this time from my work which should be refreshing for the new year but I often find I feel the opposite.
I want to be up early to walk and stay healthy but I find the desire to sleep in and do nothing takes over my thinking. I believe in stopping and resting to build strength and motivation, but at the same time I feel a slowing down in my goals and enjoyment of just being. The thought of working, pursuing and progressing comes to a halt.
The benefits of feeling stuck
But i’ve discovered three things from this sensation of feeling stuck and unmotivated.
- It’s a good place to be. I liken this time to arriving at a car park before a long forest walk. We haven’t yet seen the beauty of the forest. The streams, the scent of pine, the mountaintops and the campfire rest spots. We’re in a dull car park waiting for something good to happen before we start walking. There’s a plan but we need to stop, reflect, and look forward to the walk knowing there will be beautiful sights, refreshing smells, and times of rest and effort to progress on our walk.
- It’s a time to enjoy what we see now. Time with our kids, watching shows we enjoy, reading books, catching up with friends. This contradicts the traditional definition of productivity and achievement. When we place value on high achievement, we risk missing the sense of success in loving others and allowing our bodies and minds to rest.
- Feeling stuck can be a signal we want to change something. Maybe we’re struggling at work due to burnout. Burnout isn’t a sign of personal failing but a signal that something isn’t working. Are we overworked or working with a difficult person? This time of feeling stuck can be used for reflection on what pulls us down and planning new steps for a better outcome.
Imagining a different walk to live with purpose and joy
This year we’re taking a walk through a beautiful forest together. The forest walk is a metaphor for our lives and is a visual representation of the process of life.
The forest walk metaphor provides structure to your goals and journey. The nature of the forest imagery brings clarity and mental well-being.
The impact of nature and sunlight on mental well-being
In a study here researchers looked at the impact of nature and sunlight exposure in workspaces and how these influence employee mental health and job attitudes.
They found that exposure to greater levels of natural elements was associated with lower depressed mood and higher job satisfaction as well as greater commitment at work. Overall, they concluded that being exposed to nature enhances our mood and helps with satisfaction with our work (and I add… to greater happiness in our lives).
Taking the forest walk to your preferred future
We may not be exposed to the peace and beauty of nature each day but we can be enriched by it in a few ways;
- Please follow the articles here each week and visualise the beauty of each location as you reflect and plan for your best life
- Engage in a balanced amount of exercise in the outdoors by walking in the cool of the morning or evening
- Enjoy photographs and imagery of trees, flowers, clean lakes, and mountaintops. If you’re a coastal person, this may include images of the beach. Images of beautiful scenes can be calming.
- Use a daily journaling practice where you reflect on something beautiful in your garden or life. For example, I saw a photograph this week of a close image on a conifer branch. It was deep green and reminded me of the pine growing in my yard. This pine started a few inches tall when my son was 3. Now the tree creates shade in my yard and I enjoy this memory as it grew with my son.
You’ll notice each article this year focuses on an aspect of the forest walk using concepts and skills so you can enjoy each day, succeed in work, and love your life.
The premise of my writing and work is to help you enjoy each day, succeed in work, and love your life through;
- Daily simplicity in habits that bring you happiness
- Focusing on self acceptance and self compassion
- Understanding and acknowledging your past and any mental or emotional roadblocks
- Moving away from perfectionism toward care for yourself and others, kindness, and attentiveness to each task in the day
- Constructing mindsets, goals, and habits to build your best life. Your best life is defined by you but is a rich life in your character, connection to others and your calling or purpose for contribution to your world and family.
3 ways to become unstuck and boost your motivation and live with purpose and joy
I thought I’d mention the forest walk concept so you understand why I keep mentioning the forest. So let’s get to it. Here are three ways to help us all pull our feet out of the muddy car park and look forward to our walk in the crisp cool air under the shade of the forest canopy:
- Stand still in the car park. This is a two stage process. First note down the things (mindsets and challenges) you suspect are keeping you stuck. For example, a hindering mindset might be “I’m too tired and depressed to keep moving”. Second, what’s a new way you could utilize this mindset differently? Notice here I didn’t say to get rid of it. For example you may be feeling unmotivated but you’re still allowed to become unstuck and make small choices to move again. This may require help or support. Third, what are 3 clear goals you have for the coming year? This will help you define a few small steps to take to get moving.
- Map your journey. Before we start a walk in a new location hoping to reach a destination, we are wise to carry a map. To keep this simple, pick 3 destinations (goals) you would like to achieve this year. Even small ones are fine.
- Take one step into into the forest. For each of your three goals, list three steps you can take towards them. Your goal may be big but your actions need to be small and achievable. This creates movement through the entrance to the forest. There’s a journey ahead but you’re entering the first floor and noticing the trees around you, small flowers, and the path ahead of you.
Images and stories help us connect emotionally with a process. My children are into the teenage years now but I still love children’s books. Im drawn to the lift the flap sections that reveal a hidden secret. An animal. A colorful leaf. A Christmas gift. The scenes of snow and pines brings to mind the peace and simplicity of nature.
Along a forest walk, we come across rest stops, mountains, difficult hikes, smooth downward paths, bumpy paths, bears, squirrels and woodpeckers, roadblocks and many more places to progress along the path.
Life is the same. We move along the path towards our desired destination while we navigate the bumps and challenges. We don’t get rid of them, otherwise the forest would be flat, dull, boring. We use our strengths and awareness to move and achieve success but we also stop, rest, reflect and observe the places we see along the way.
Follow along this year for more habits for happiness and your best life on the forest walk.
An M, Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME (2016) Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLOS ONE 11(5): e0155614. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155614