What To Do When You’re Feeling Stuck
We’ve all been there:
In a rut. Stuck. Frustrated and upset.
Today, I want to share the top 6 things to do when you’re feeling stuck.
These tips will shorten your frustration, turn your mood around, and get you back into the rhythm faster than if you tried to force yourself.
Stay calm and avoid getting worked up
When it comes to psychological blocks and burnout, getting hyper focused and trying to force the matter will never solve the problem or help you recover faster.
Imagine you are building a house of cards. You need to be precise and intentional in how you place your cards to be successful. If you are feeling frustrated, becoming more upset will only make the task at hand more difficult. The only way to continue making progress on your tower is to stay calm and to center yourself before moving forward. If not, you risk not only prolonging your frustration but also destroying any work that was already completed.
Avoid self-deprecating self-talk or put downs
Sometimes when we feel frustrated, ineffective, and stuck, we are tempted to start blaming ourselves for our inability to fulfill our own high expectations.
We want to punish ourselves for not being perfect, and for being unable to be productive and efficient 100% of the time. So, we call ourselves bad names and put ourselves down… perhaps in an attempt to start a fire under our own asses and to somehow shame us into being productive again.
This never works. In reality, the only thing we are doing is making us feel bad about ourselves and killing any spark of inspiration or motivation with self-defeating thoughts and insults.
Don't lash out at others
Just as it is important not to beat ourselves up when we are feeling poorly, so too is it important that we do not allow our frustrations to come out sideways onto the people around us. Snapping at our coworkers or our partner will not make us any less stuck or feel any better.
If you, like me, have difficulty communicating with others when you are feeling stuck, create a signal with your partner and others close to you to let them know that you are upset and it’s not about them. This will prevent unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings in the future.
Acknowledge that you’re stuck
Declare your frustrations of being stuck. Say it out loud if you need to. Sometimes, the first step to overcoming our blockages is to identify them.
Acknowledging that you are struggling also helps to validate your need for support and self-care. When in a rut, we often do not want to admit that we are struggling, because it makes us feel like we are incapable and that we have failed ourselves or others. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Admitting you are having a problem is an important act of self-care.
Take a break and work on something else
Walk away for a little bit. You may feel like you are unable to step away even for a moment on account of looming deadlines or impatient people. You can afford to step away for 5 minutes. If you feel like you don’t even have 5 minutes to take for yourself and breathe, try 2.
Think about it. If you don’t take a break, how would those minutes be spent? Working productively, completely focused, and effectively? No, they would probably just be you staring blankly at your computer screen trying not to tear out your hair. Or, they would be spent by mindlessly scrolling through things trying to feel busy and productive. Take a break. As full of a break as you can from what you are working on and completely involve yourself in something else to give your mind some new impulses and a fresh perspective.
This method is better than trying to muscle through a slump because trying to grin and bear it seldom results in productive outcomes. Usually, we just end up becoming increasingly frustrated and irritable which eventually leads to us burning out with mental exhaustion.
Understand when you are ready to jump back in
By allowing yourself a break you are letting your creative juices rest and recuperate until you are feeling ready to jump back in. Don’t try to force being ready. I have found that keeping myself as calm as possible tends to result in being prepared to return to a big project or assignment more quickly than if I try to force myself back before I am ready and mentally resisting it with every fiber of my being.
With all this being said, I cannot say how much I wish I would listen to my own damn advice with this one. I still struggle to stop struggling when it comes to writer’s block, or really, any other block I may be experiencing. I created this list as a compilation of best practices. They are good habits that need to be practiced in order to be fully integrated and internalized. Instead of working myself up and becoming increasingly frustrated, I have found that practicing one or more of these things has helped me to significantly shorten my rut, turn my mood around, and get back into the rhythm of whatever I was working on. Over time, incorporating these practices into my life has become easier, and becoming unstuck has become a slightly smoother process. I hope you have similar success.
Please share a comment of your favorite way to get yourself unstuck when you are feeling down. Thank you so much for reading!