Are You Feeling Stuck?
by Teresia Smith
With life being so different for everyone now, all of us are at risk of feeling like we are “stuck.”
What does this mean? You may find yourself feeling stuck in a rut, unmotivated to do even the smallest things and even a bit despondent during this safer-at-home time. Life feels harder. If you have been a victim of trauma in your lifetime, your feelings may be magnified, and it becomes very difficult to find a way to move forward. It becomes tempting to just blame others. It’s the virus, it’s the government, it’s my employer, it’s my family – all sound like plausible excuses; however, we become less productive when we focus on anger, frustration and anxiety when what we need to do is tap into our dreams, hopes and plans to overcome the obstacles that are making us feel stuck.
According to Marc Chernoff, “The real battle is always in your mind, and your mind is under your control, not the other way around. You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but YOU are not broken. So don’t let others convince you otherwise. And don’t let your thoughts get the best of you, either.” You, your ideas, your feelings and your needs are valuable. You must find and live your truth without the need for another’s validation.
There’s a popular personal development technique called, “change your state.” No, it’s not talking about relocating; it’s talking about changing what you are doing. If you have been staying inside most of the day, get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Go for a walk or hike and really pay attention to the flora and fauna. If you are feeling discouraged or glum, make yourself physically move with dancing, stretching or exercise. If your mind keeps going back to those critical voices, that record you keep playing over and over in your head, drown it out with some of your favorite music, singing along. And, of course, make sure to reach out and stay socially connected with the people in your life who make you feel good, who know you and support you. Being able to connect with those people can help lift your spirits.
A huge reason many feel despondent is they are listening to the negativity of others. Those people are trying to tell you how you should feel, how you should look and how you should behave. Affix your attention to your dreams for your life and your vision of what you want those dreams to look like. Your life should be under your control, so don’t give your power away. If those negative messages are bothering you, write them down and then beside them, write the positive response that counteracts those negative statements. Focus on your dreams and trust yourself.
As you focus on your dreams for the future, don’t look through filters of fear and failures from your past. Your past is that – your past. It doesn’t define your future. You won’t forget the past, but you can choose to learn from it and move forward. Sometimes the negative emotions we hold from past experiences hold power over us and limit our future. Just like in a game of chess, you can’t always win by just moving forward. Sometimes you have to go backward and re-evaluate and get yourself in a position to win. This is one of the reasons we at Crisis Services of North Alabama encourage people to take advantage of our services so we can help you work through emotions from past abusive relationships and not carry that baggage into future relationships. It’s not easy and will take work, but it is so worth it.
Ever heard the old saying, “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite?” Whatever you choose to do, start small, and accomplish that task first. Each small task you are successful at will be a building block for future success. If you’ve been stuck in a rut, chances are you haven’t stayed on any type of schedule, so you haven’t completed many tasks. Figure out a schedule that works for you. Even if you are not working right now, keep a schedule of sorts. Have a set time you rise, shower, dress and fix your hair. Eat meals on a schedule, and set a bedtime to ensure you are well rested. Make a list of household chores you would like to see done, and work on those daily. It’s also a perfect time to find a hobby you enjoy. Even a small accomplishment will give you a huge sense of satisfaction.
Lastly, it has been shown that when we help others, we get a great deal of fulfillment. It’s one of life’s great paradoxes: when we help others we end up benefiting as much, if not more, than those we help. Living in gratitude for what we have and cultivating a habit of looking to encourage others will leave us with feelings of love, compassion and acceptance. When we assist others, it sparks our own passions and gives us new energy and joy. Reach out and encourage someone else, and you will receive encouragement, too.
We all will get “stuck” at times in our lives, whether it’s due to trauma that happened to you or life situations that are happening to all of us. It’s not always easy to just shake it off, and we must never feel guilty for having these feelings. Life is not a race, and we are all on different courses. Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free, confidential services to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault, and we may be reached at 256.574.5826. We also offer a 24/7 HELPline where you can speak with a crisis counselor. You are not alone.