Today I’m sharing some things to do when you feel stuck in life. Sometimes just taking a small step or making a small change can get you back on track, so try one or more of these suggestions and I promise you’ll start to feel better.
Falling into a slump happens to all of us, even the most driven and productive people. It can feel really frustrating because we all want to feel like we have direction and motivation but instead we feel like we’re in limbo with our hands tied.
Feeling stuck in life can be caused by a variety of factors, such as feeling overwhelmed by choices, struggling to find a sense of purpose, or dealing with difficult life situations. Whatever the reasons is, trust that you can overcome it.
Understand Why You Feel Stuck First
If you’re feeling stuck, there are things you can do to help move yourself forward, but first it’s important to identify what’s causing you to feel stuck. Once you know what’s holding you back, you can begin to make changes and take steps toward overcoming your obstacles.
Begin by asking yourself exactly what you’re feeling.
- Do you feel uninspired?
- Do you feel indecisive?
- Do you feel trapped in a situation and not know the way out?
- Do you feel burnt out?
- Do you feel afraid to make the wrong choice?
- Do you feel pressure to do something your heart isn’t aligned with?
- Do you feel powerless?
- Do you feel overwhelmed?
Sometimes we use I’m stuck as a way to avoid an even more uncomfortable feeling, so you’ve got to be honest with yourself. Getting to the root of your feelings will help you use the right strategy and actually solve the problem instead of just putting a band-aid on it.
If you feel like you need to go deeper into WHY you feel stuck, this post about 9 Reason You’re Feeling Stuck may help you get more clarity.
How to Get Unstuck
1. Change Your Mindset
The first thing you need to do is realize that feeling stuck is just a story you’re telling yourself. I know because I told myself that story for years, and I was never able to make progress until I quit telling myself that limiting story and told myself a new one that said anything was possible and I could do anything I set my mind to.
Being stuck is a state of mind, not reality.
There are options all around you, but because you believe you’re stuck you can’t see them. Or maybe you feel some fear so you’re avoiding them and that’s totally understandable, but you can’t let it hold you back if you want to move forward.
Maybe you feel tired or uninspired but you don’t have to stay that way. Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts, just accept and change them.
Reframe “I’m stuck” to “I’m looking at the opportunities available to me,” or “new ideas on are their way to me.”
Turn “I’m tired” into “I have all the energy I need and I’m going to be productive today,” or if you need it, “it’s ok for me to rest and recharge.”
I’m going to be really honest with you, if you aren’t willing to change your thinking nothing else I recommend will work either. So if you feel resistant to changing your mindset that’s what you need to work on most. Then you can move forward with the rest of this list.
If might be helpful to learn how to develop a growth mindset.
Learning to change your limiting beliefs can be difficult, this free worksheet can help get you started.
2. Get Outside Your Normal Space
Being in the same physical space too long can make you feel stagnant. Sometimes just having new surroundings can get you feeling energized and refreshed again. Even just sitting outside for a while or taking a walk can stimulate your brain and shift that block.
So go outside and take a walk, go to the park, see a movie, visit a museum, hang out with a friend, try a new restaurant, or go the library.
Just today I was feeling very unmotivated and down. Going outside for a while and playing with my dogs improved my mood so that I could refocus and do some work. Or sometimes I just need to go wander around Target or Home Goods for a while, then I feel energized when I come back home.
3. Put Your Mental Clutter on Paper
When you have a lot on your mind, it can be helpful to take some time to write down everything that’s going on. Get out a pen and paper and just get out all the thoughts bouncing around your brain. Getting it all out on paper can help you feel more organized and less overwhelmed.
This can be in the form of journaling or a brain dump. You can write out ideas you have, vent about something that’s been bothering you, or it can just be a list of things you need to do.
Just tune into your mind and get out everything onto paper, and then you can sort it out. This will help you clear your mind and focus on what’s important.
4. Do Something Creative
If you have a creative hobby spend some time working on that. If you aren’t the most creative person (I can relate) buy a coloring book or paint by numbers kit, even if it’s for kids. Learn to write calligraphy with a beginner’s guide. Try a puzzle or crossword. Give your mind a break and just play with colors or build something.
5. Switch Up Your Routine
Sometimes we feel stuck because our daily routines aren’t serving our mental well-being. Look at your current daily routine. Write down your daily activities and see if there are areas that you could change up.
Can you try something new? Can you eliminate a task or habit that isn’t really serving you? Do you need to develop some new habits so that you are more productive?
Even small changes can make you feel refreshed. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Wake up earlier and take a walk or jog outside. The fresh air will help wake you up and the exercise will get your day started on the right foot.
- Take a different route to work or school. This is a great way to discover new things about your city or town.
- Try a new breakfast recipe. There are endless possibilities when it comes to breakfast, so why not mix things up a bit?
- Take an afternoon break and go for a walk, read a book, or take a nap. This can help refresh you for the rest of the day.
6. Visualize What Your Best Self Would Do
What would the very best version of yourself do to get out of a rut? Or one of the people you look up to? Channel your best self or your hero and take some small steps. You DO NOT have to be that person today, be you can get a little closer to being them.
Maybe you could even write a little script of who that person is and what she or he would do. It might look something like this:
The very best version of myself is always optimistic and proactive. She knows that getting out of a rut takes time and effort, but she’s willing to put in the work. First, she takes some time for herself to assess the situation and identify her goals. Then, she sets about making a plan to achieve those goals, one step at a time.
Throughout the process, she remains positive and motivated. She knows that setbacks are inevitable, but she doesn’t let them discourage her. Instead, she uses them as learning opportunities and continues moving forward. Finally, when she reaches her goal, she celebrates her success!
Oprah wasn’t built in a day, her success was an accumulation of small daily acts that compounded into the woman we all know.
7. Perform an Act of Service
You may be surprised to learn that helping others can actually help you get out of your rut. Volunteering your time and energy to a good cause can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel more connected to the world around you. Find a person or cause to help in your family or community.
- Volunteer at an animal or homeless shelter.
- Show up at your parents or grandparents home to help them with a chore.
- Canvas for a grassroots political campaign that you believe in.
- Offer to mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn.
- Give your partner a massage.
- Babysit your sibling’s kids so they can have a date night.
Helping other people makes them and you feel good, it can also help you meet new people and forge new relationships.
8. Declutter Your Home
Have you ever finished cleaning a room, looked at your space, and went “ahhhhh!” with relief and satisfaction? It feels good, right? On the other hand, looking at a chaotic, cluttered space can make you feel mentally drained.
That’s because physical clutter doesn’t just create exterior issues, it can create mental blocks too. When clutter accumulates it starts to drain your energy, stifle creativity, and make you feel trapped. I have seen the results of this so many times, and taking the time to tidy my space always makes me feel better.
Pick an area to clean (big or small), put on some music, and if you need to set a timer for 10-30 minutes. You can take a trash or donation bin around the house and collect things you want to get rid of, pick a closet to empty and organize, or just clean any area you’ve been neglecting.
9. Talk to Someone
Sometimes we’re just too in our heads and feelings to see things clearly, so it’s harder to find a solution to our problems. Other people can give you a new perspective on yourself or your situation, so talk to a friend, family member, or a therapist.
An outsider may be able to offer a new point of view, and help us see alternate possibilities. Sometimes we just need to vent, so maybe all you need is someone to listen and sympathize.
If you need professional help I’ve heard Better Help is a good option for online therapy (I am not affiliated).
10. Practice Self-care
Sometimes you just need to be kind to yourself. This can come in many forms, so ask yourself what activities make you feel happy and then do that.
You can go to the gym, have a spa day/night, get a massage, take a long bath, or put away your to do list and have a day to just chill with netflix or a good book. Maybe take yourself out for ice cream to treat your inner child.
I hope you found this list of things to do when you feel stuck in life helpful! If you did, subscribe below to get tips on how to better your life in your inbox once a week or so.
You may also enjoy How to Overcome Life Challenges.