When You Are Feeling Stuck
So if you are a Midwest resident like me, it may feel like this past winter lasted a year. The skies have been grey, the temps cold, and sunlight was quite limited. It is environmental factors such as these, which can lead many of us to feel stuck. You may feel stuck physically, emotionally, or a combination of the two. In times where we feel powerless, it is easy to feel like we have no control over the world around us. So while this feeling can vary in intensity, what I would like you to know is that this experience is something that many of us struggle with, especially during the winter months. What I want you to walk away with after reading this blog today is that there are things you can do today to take back that power you feel you’ve lost.
My go-to starting point for overall health and wellness is to focus more attention on the things you can control in your life. I personally find that starting with self-care is one of (if not the most) vital ways to redirect your life in a more positive and joy filled way. We as humans are living in a time where our bodies and brains have not be able to catch up with our ambitions, pressures, and the environmental conditions of living in the year 2018. This disconnect leads to stress, depression, anxiety, adrenal burnout, and many other conditions that we often brush off as “just how it is these days”. These conditions can lead many of us to feel stuck. Not only that, but many of these conditions lead us down a path of not feeling we can enjoy our lives, but rather are stuck on a conveyor belt leading to nowhere fast. I have been on that belt many times and what I can tell you is the faster you get off, the easier it is to stay off! So here are some of my go-to tips not only for my clients, but for myself. I will not be telling you all to plan a pricey vacation, do yoga every day, or to eat only organic foods. Those things are simply not attainable for everyone. What I am going to be sharing in this blog are some realistic ways to feel less stuck so you can make some of the other less budget friendly changes down the road, if you choose to.
We see a lot of blogs these days directly speaking to self-care, and while I have many theories as to why this is; I am certain the main reason is that we have all fallen into the trap of simply forgetting to make our mental and physical health a priority. I want to be clear here when I say that many of us do not start or end our days thinking about how we can nurture ourselves, our lives, our environment. We pour our coffee, rush to get the kids ready, rush to get ourselves ready, head to work, rush to pick up or make dinner, and then try to calm our overly taxed mind and body down with a nightly glass of wine. Then we do it all over again the next day. Yes I know not everyone’s day looks exactly like this, as we are not all parents or working adults. We may also fit in a workout class here and there, and we may even eat a nice organic gluten free diet, but if we are not nurturing ourselves from our roots up, an organic diet will not fix what is ailing us. When it comes to self-care, I find the thing that many of us overlook is saying NO to the things that do not serve our overall well-being, but rather take away from it. Many of us, really struggle with saying “No” to the dinner, or the last minute project, or the extra shift at work. We struggle because we don’t want to feel the guilt of saying no, or maybe even the shame we have attached to it. However, if we are rarely or never saying no to others, we are constantly saying “No” to ourselves. What this often tells me about a client is that their real struggle is not self-care it is self-love, and without that folks getting unstuck is nearly impossible. So if you are in the midst of wanting to please, help, and do it all, please consider practicing the opposite. Yes literally practice this skill. Practice with a friend, your spouse, in the mirror, whatever you need to do in order to relearn how to put yourself first and not last.
Oh clutter, we all have it somewhere in our lives, and in some seasons of our lives seeing the dentist may sound easier than cleaning out that old junk drawer in our kitchen. Am I right? And that’s just physical clutter, what about the clutter that is not visible to the untrained eye, or visible at all. You know the emotional, psychological, and spiritual clutter that often is at the root of us feeling stuck in our lives. The staff that feels easier to push down into the abyss of “I’ll handle that later” when I have time. Well let me tell you a truth that you do not want to hear, none of us have time to handle the stuff that keeps us stuck, afraid, and uncomfortable, but we have to handle it anyway. If we don’t choose to move through the dirt and the muck that is keeping us stuck, we will just sink deeper. So how do we get started with de-cluttering? Well, like a true clinician I am going to tell you “that depends”. It depends on where you are at now, what your baseline is, what you’ve experienced in your life, and what symptoms you are presenting with. However, the short answer is also this – start with something small. You know that annoying junk drawer that has nothing but junk in it, yeah start there. Then move on to a room, then maybe another, and then maybe you’ll be ready to dig even deeper. When it comes to decluttering the mind, however, I personally feel that seeing a wellness practitioner is the most effective route. If you do not feel you are ready for that then I would encourage you to go out and buy a journal. In that journal I would first like you to write out how you FEEL stuck – in what areas of life, how is it manifesting physically, spiritually, emotionally. I would then encourage you to think about some tangible goals that you have, that if you were able to achieve you would feel less stuck, and closer to the life you want. These goals are your goals, and can look however you want them to. The coach in me, however, would encourage you to write out goals that are stated in a positive manner, initiated by YOU not someone else, that are achievable in the timeline you are looking at, and that stretch you but are still manageable. With all that being said, today is a good day to start. How will you begin your de-cluttering journey?
It is a pretty tall order to believe you can become less stuck in a life you are unhappy with without looking at the beliefs that led you here. Oh and trust me I know you do not want to go back and look at past hurts, struggles, and the subject that every client loves jumping into (can you read my sarcasm here) – your childhood. These things that I mention here are not the most enjoyable topics for many of us, or dare I say most of us, but they are important to review in order to create lasting behavioral changes. If we are not aware of our beliefs and their patterns, they will keep showing up in our life. I can speak from experience here when I say those limiting beliefs you are hanging onto can be tricky, and show up in places and actions we least expect. So how do we figure out our limiting beliefs? We figure this out through doing the work. We figure these out through seeing a counselor, a coach, a spiritual guide, a naturopathic practitioner, a reiki teacher, or a hypnotherapist to name a few. Yes, when it comes to limiting beliefs I am a huge believer in the fact that we need assistance with figuring them out. I am a clinician, and I have, and continue to need help with figuring out my own limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are hard to understand and correct because for the most part they begin when we are too young to even be aware of them, moreless actually process them, so when they come up they can be overlooked quite easily. As you can see in the picture I shared above, beliefs are like the roots of a tree, they start early, they start before even the tree is visible and once the tree has grown and become visible with all its branches and leaves, the roots are often missed or overlooked. The roots are buried deep down into the earth so we often assume they are flourishing and healthy if our tree is still standing tall, however, for many of us our roots could be broken, snagged, lifting from the earth, not getting enough water or nutrients, and weakening year and year creating havoc within our body. We may not physically see that the tree is being affected by its roots or that the tree is struggling at all, until the tree begins to bend, weaken, or start to lose its lovely branches one by one. So if you are feeling stuck, I kindly encourage you to look at your roots and to do this with someone trained to help you seem them best.
Lastly, a good rule of thumb that I have come to use when making a choice, “Is this serving my highest good?” and if the answer is “No” I look at whether or not is it truly serving anyone else either. I have come to find that saying “No” for me is actually more important than saying “yes” and I realize this is going against the grain in a society that is constantly shouting “say yes to it all”. If you are stuck today, you can regain momentum to move in the direction you were meant to, but you have to choose YOU and I would encourage you to consider some of the suggestions I have made here today. Every day is a chance to make a new choice, carve a new path, and start a new journey.