This week I wanted to talk about what to do when we’re feeling stuck, off, or in a bit of a funk. Personally, I haven’t been feeling like myself the last while, and it’s been interesting exploring what helps and what doesn’t and how to navigate this space of stuckness.
For me, feeling stuck has felt like being disconnected, demotivated and a bit disillusioned. It’s challenging too, knowing a lot of what could help but not really feeling like doing it. That can be such a struggle, and I suppose seeing myself as a ‘Coach’ too, it’s hard not to feel like I ‘should’ be able to get myself moving. But it turns out, I’m also a Human, and sometimes all the feelings and stories are louder than all that I ‘know’.
Struggling doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with us. And knowing what we could do to help ourselves but not doing it, isn’t something to beat ourselves up about. (I tried it, it doesn’t actually help at all!). The reality is that we’re going to encounter times that are hard, that are challenging, that ask us to keep going when we really don’t want to. And it’s not so much about what’s happening but how we respond that really matters.
When I’ve felt down recently, I could see it and I was aware of how I wasn’t really helping. I could see that I needed to take the time to process, to express, to feel and to release. But I was also feeling the pressure to keep showing up, and that pressure coupled with how I was feeling just led to me being distracted, numbing and avoiding what I knew I needed to do.
I had the awareness but I was in resistance to it (by adding pressure, expectations and stories) and so I wasn’t setting myself up to take action. I also felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed about how I was feeling because again, I was using the ‘I should know better’ against myself. A little reminder here that often ‘should’s are an indicator that we are fighting with reality, not allowing it to be as it is.
For change to happen, it goes awareness – acceptance – action.
So after a little while of fighting with myself and my experience, I started moving towards acceptance. I started listening to what was going on within me. I started hearing the emotions rise up, and I let them all come out. I heard all the dark and disappointed stories, I heard what shame had to say, I heard younger parts of me, exhausted parts of me, the hopeful parts of me. I tuned in. And I acknowledged, without trying to look away or run, where I was actually at.
Frustrated, fed up and disconnected. And that’s okay.
It’s all information and I love learning, so I’m here for it. And once I let myself be honest with myself, I could start seeing a bit clearer. I realised no, I’m not happy where I’m at and I’m the only one who can do anything about it.
Which means it was time for action.
Here are the actions I’ve taken and am continuing to take to get unstuck:
1. Talk it out
Expression is a high value of mine and I think if I didn’t express in some way, I would probably explode, so talking it through with people I trust has been of huge benefit. Shame also cannot survive in the spoken word, so putting a voice to how I was feeling really helped dissolve the shame I was feeling. When talking it out, I didn’t really want advice because I kind of already knew what would help, I just wanted to get it out and have it held and heard by someone else. It helped me to feel less alone and it also felt like a weight off by owning how I was feeling.
I’ve been journaling a lot more to get all the stories out. It is so helpful for me to get on paper what I’m thinking so I can see it with more space and rationale. My favourite way is what I call ‘Going into the Sh*t’, where I let out all the cringiest, dark, unhelpful stories I’ve been telling myself. The ones I really don’t want to see or look at, or would be afraid of anyone else seeing, and I give them all space on the paper. And then every time, when it’s all out and I can see it, another voice comes through and responds to all the sh*t with wisdom, kindness and compassion. Once the way is cleared, my true voice comes back in full volume and reminds me of truth, and pulls me back out of the hole I’ve gone into.
Depending on the emotions you’re experiencing it could be any means of emotional release but for me it’s been crying. Lots. And I really needed it. Crying is so healing and helps to move so much stuck energy. I used to think there was something wrong with me for getting upset or feeling so deeply but it truly is such a powerful gift and way of cleansing our energy. Let it all out, let it be messy, and hold yourself through it. For me, I feel like the numbing and distracting really contributed to my lack of energy and motivation, because so much energy was being held onto and suppressed.
4. Do the Self-Care
Stick to any routines you have in place and do the things that you know help. Every Wednesday I have breathwork, so I made sure to get to that, and I go to Crossfit everyday so that was a great focus to have. These offered me an ‘at least’ I’ve done something helpful. Regardless how small it may seem, it’s so worth having at least one thing that you can give yourself credit for (and reap the benefits of). It could be anything for you that you know reconnects you to yourself, so whether that’s reading, writing, walks, meditation, movies, sea swimming, dancing, singing, drawing – whatever it is, make time for it and do it.
5. Make a plan
Coming out the other side, I realised that I need to come back to some basics and create more structure for myself. I need a bit more support. I need to remember certain things and make it easy to remember them, so I’m writing it all down and I’ll set reminders on my phone to stick with it.
Get clear on your needs and wants. How do you want to feel? What contributes to that? What are you no longer willing to tolerate? How can you clear that from your experience? Do you need support or accountability? What small daily commitment can you make to yourself to move forward? How can you express your inner stories or emotions? What habits are/aren’t helping?
Do a little stock take on what’s contributing to how you feel now, and then tap into what the version of you that’s on the other side is thinking, feeling and doing.
Feeling stuck has actually been such a gift because like any feeling, it’s a signal. And for me it drew attention to where I’ve been getting disconnected, caught up and detached from what I know to be true. If we feel off but keep ignoring it, nothing’s going to change. So I’m actually really glad I’ve been feeling this, so now I can shift how I’ve been doing things and thinking about things, and I know this is exactly what I need. I do believe things happen for a reason, and as a student of life, I’m here for all the lessons regardless how much of a pain in the ass the teacher is.
Ultimately, we’re only as stuck as we decide to be and usually we’re more stuck in the stories of the mind than the happenings of reality. So if you’re noticing it, fantastic, you’re in the awareness stage. Time to accept where you’re at and choose your next action step.