Whether work is getting you down or you’re out of creative ideas for your side hustle, we all get stuck sometimes.
It could be a general feeling of malaise. Or the winter blues.
Maybe your best friend just moved to the other side of the world and life feels a little empty without your regular cocktail nights.
The triggers of feeling stuck are numerous. The good news is that so many different causes mean there are also a million ways to feel better.
Shifting Your Energy
The reason there are so many options to choose from is the only real rule is its got to feel good. Really good.
In many cases, this means doing the complete opposite of what makes you feel stuck. Or something completely unrelated. But it could also mean moving onto to an easier part of your project so you can keep making progress.
It all depends on where the stuck feeling is coming from.
The first step to shifting your energy is actually noticing that you feel stuck. That you’re not feeling as shiny and bright and bubbly as usual. Without noticing how you’re feeling, you’re bound to continue as you are. Which isn’t so fun.
When you notice yourself feeling stuck, ask yourself where it’s coming from. Is it specific like an Excel formula that you can’t crack? Or is being continuously interrupted all day long driving you crazy? Maybe you just feel generally worn out from balancing work and your hobby and the gym and social life.
Thinking about what’s driving the feeling of malaise sets you up for the next step, what would feel really good right now?
Close your eyes, lock yourself in the toilet at work, take a couple of deep breaths, whatever it takes to tune in and listen to your intuition.
The more I do this, the more I learn that my mind, body, subconscious always knows the answer.
Now I realise that if work is driving you crazy then taking off for a 10km run probably isn’t on the table. But walking up a few flights of stairs to elevate your heart rate probably is.
So adjust as necessary then schedule in doing whatever initially came up. Still go for the 10km run. I’ve talked before about protecting your energy and it’s an ongoing, everyday practice. Doing what you can in the moment is a great start but don’t shortchange yourself by stopping there. Find the next level by following through with your initial vision.
Ways to Feel Better
To get you started, I’ve pulled together a list of my favourite ways to shift my energy. That way if the tuning in and feeling it for yourself is a bit too daunting, you can just try my suggestions until you learn what works for you.
1. Get outside
There’s something about fresh air, sunshine, grass beneath your feet that completely recentres you. We evolved outside so it makes sense that it feels calming compared to being cooped up in an office cubicle. Bonus points for bare feet on the grass!
2. Breath and meditate
You’ve probably heard by now that most of us don’t breath properly. It’s crazy that something so fundamental could be done in the wrong way but the reality is we breath in short, rushed breaths that trigger a stress response in our bodies. Breathing properly has an immense power to shift your energy, even ten deep breaths will do it. If following a guided meditation or reciting a mantra works for you, go for it.
3. Clean and organise
There’s something about a tidy space that makes me feel calmer. If I’m feeling agitated and stressed, this is my go-to action to feel more in control. There’s something about being surrounded by order and knowing where everything is that just feels good (there’s that phrase again). I also think that cleaning requires just enough brain power to be distracting without needing full concentration so is ideal when your thoughts are going crazy. Plus you get the immediate satisfaction of seeing something become shiny!
Earlier I talked about running or taking stairs to raise your heart rate. Walk around the block or pace your office. Dance it out until all you feel is joy. Slow it down and stretch. Make it feel juicy. Recently I heard the incomparable Gala Darling say you can’t think your way of feelings, you need to do something physical. So move until your mood shifts.
5. Talk it out
Sometimes talking about it transforms everything. Ever find yourself explaining something you are stuck on, only to figure out the solution while you’re talking? Unlock your brain by thinking out loud. If it’s more of an emotional stuckness then a problem shared is a problem halved. Not having the thoughts swirling around in your head anymore will feel amazing. So even recording it as a voice memo on your phone will help!
6. Write it out
Pretty much the same as point five. Get it out of your head so the thoughts stop driving you mad. Burn it. Tear it up and put it in the bin. Delete it. Pour it all out then destroy it. Or write in your journal and randomly reread it at some point in the future, see how far you’ve come.
7. Change your environment
If you’re moping around at home then go to your favourite cafe. Work from a different desk. I’ve already said about getting outside. Sometimes all you need to change your perspective is to change your scene.
8. Take a break!
This one gets an exclamation mark because how often do we find ourselves in a funk because we’re tired! We go and go and go. No wonder we’re wiped out and feel crappy. So read a book for pure pleasure. Take a nap. Go to bed early. Eat lunch anywhere other than your desk. Watch Netflix for hours on end. Do a facemask. Sometimes all it takes is to recognise we’re out of energy and take time to recharge.
There’s nothing quite like a feel-good anthem to get you pumped up. If I’m flagging at work but really need to focus, I put on music with a good beat and it keeps me going. When I wake up exhausted and drag myself out of bed, playing great music while I do my make up gets my day on the right track. But this doesn’t just need to be listening to music. Put on a favourite podcast that makes you laugh or inspires you to achieve more can shift how you’re feeling.
I’ve saved the best for last. Whenever I’m truly feeling in a funk and everything is on top of me, writing a gratitude list gives me perspective. We have a tendency to focus on the negative so forcing ourselves to look for all of the wonderful things in our life restores balance. Maybe today someone pushed past you getting on the train but the daffodils are coming out so spring is nearly here and life’s really pretty good isn’t it?
For bonus points, try combining ideas on this list. Stretch out to rock music. Record your gratitude list out loud. Take your novel to a cafe. The options are truly endless.
Feeling Stuck in Life
We all have days where we feel stuck. When life gets too much. Maybe just one part of life, like work, or maybe it feels like everything is challenging.
It is perfectly normal to be in a funk sometimes.
But that does not mean you need to stay there. That energy is only temporary. It is entirely within your power to make a shift.
Focus on feeling good.