Unstuck

Do you ever feel like everything in your life is going great and suddenly, without warning, you veer off the road and hit a tree? This happens to almost everyone from time to time. Some people remain on the road staring at the tree they just hit, and others start to evaluate what happened and work diligently to get back on track. Many of us may be feeling stuck in our careers or on a job that we have always hated but needed the income to survive. Many are feeling stuck in their personal lives. Daily routine can drain one of their time and energy, leaving many struggling to jump off the fast-moving treadmill.

When feeling the challenges of being stuck, the emotions that accompany it sometimes doesn’t go away, no matter how hard we keep thinking about it. Often the feeling gets stronger the more we think about it. Feeling stuck often reminds me when you are going out for a lovely walk on a sunny, beautiful day and you happen to step in bubble gum that someone threw on the ground as opposed to putting it in a bin or wrapping it in paper until they get home. Often, I have seen people heading to work, enter the train and sit on a piece of gum that someone left on the seat. It’s almost frightening watching the change of their mood. One solution to dealing with feeling stuck is to decide to make changes. It helps to take a closer look at what’s happening in your life to pivot and make the necessary changes that will be beneficial. It’s not an easy process, but it can be done. Here are a few tips that may be helpful to get unstuck.

Retrace your steps that led you into this stuck environment. Try tracking when you felt great or enthusiastic. Try analysing what may have triggered your feelings of sadness or a melancholy mood. Quite often we have conversations with ourselves that may make us feel worse. As a young boy, older people would tell me to “Stop being so hard on yourself,” when I would get down if my baseball team lost a game. I would blame myself for striking out or missing a ball. It’s also one of the early lessons in life that I learned about being a part of a team.

Connect with someone that you trust to share your experiences and may be able to help you to get unstuck. The person can be a good friend, a colleague, a partner, or spouse, or sometimes it can be a new person recently met that may have insight into a similar situation. It’s important not to drain someone with your stories by complaining. It’s easy to share what you are feeling with someone and to listen attentively to their feedback. Often, it helps to hear the thoughts and experiences of others and how they may have handled a similar situation. Just feeling heard and connected to someone that may have had a similar experience can be very favourable.

Most importantly, allow yourself to be stuck. Often, feeling stuck is unavoidable and a part of everyday life. In many cases, feeling stuck just needs to run its course if it’s not allowed to continue for too long. It’s essential to use this time to relax and ease up on the negative internal voices. Whenever I feel stuck or frustrated about a situation, my partner always reminds me that nothing occurs overnight so stop expecting it to disappear overnight. Wise advice that often makes me roll my eyes, but deep down inside I know that it’s true. Lately I have been working hard to lose my pregnant belly that I picked up during the 2 years of COVID lockdown where I ate everything in sight. Everything takes time, commitment to making the necessary changes, and staying focused on the goal.

One of the things that always helps me to become unstuck is to take a walk backwards to think about a time when I was happier about my situation or my life. Afterwards, I always ask myself what I saw, what did I hear, what did I feel in that moment, and who were the people around me that provided support and pushed me when I needed to be shoved toward a goal. You will be surprised how it can change your inner state, as well as your mind, body, and soul.

It’s a great time to dream about what’s next for you, then start writing that plan to reach your goal. Remember, feeling stuck is part of a process that everyone goes through at different times in their life. The key is learning how to get passed that stuck feeling and plan how to respond to it when it happens again. Once you identify the issue, the period of feeling stuck may become shorter. Often, I have an honest interview with me, myself, and I to jot down the thoughts in my head and what I am feeling. Once the thoughts simmer down, moving to a favourite spot inside my dwelling, in the backyard, or to a park bench helps me to tune in and listen to my inner wisdom speaking loud and clear telling me what steps need to be taken to become unstuck.

In the past, I have behaved like a 2-year-old, when no one was around to call for the people in white jackets. I have jumped on the sofa or bed, laid on the floor screaming and kicking like I was having a temper tantrum. Believe it or not it helped me and made me laugh at myself. Shaking up your daily life and mixing in a bit of excitement to your day can help you to become unstuck. Planning an event to see a great exhibition at a local gallery, meeting old friends you haven’t seen for several years, or just going to one of your favourite shops can bring excitement into your life to help you get the bubble gum from beneath your shoe or get you unstuck. It helps to include positive people that you trust within your immediate circle of friends and colleagues. Too often, the wrong voices have infiltrated our circles. It helps to take a closer look at your circle and decide who stays and who needs to be eliminated. You can learn so much from having the best friends and colleagues around. I have discovered that true friends never lie to you. Although sometimes they can be quite brutally blunt but loving. My mother would always say, “Friends stab you in the forehead and drive you to the emergency room and sit next to you, but fake friends stab you in the back and leave you for dead.” The lesson is that friends don’t bite their tongue and share the truth with you. As a boy I would ask my mother, how big was the knife they used, was it a butter knife or a butcher’s knife? She would roll her eyes and pray for strength to deal with the annoying little boy with a ton of questions.

One of the questions that helps me to feel unstuck, after talking to myself is, ‘What would the future want me to do today to reach my goals?” It really helps me to become unstuck when I focus on what I truly desire and achieving what I want most in life. Remember to not be harsh or too critical of yourself. Getting unstuck is a process.

Have you ever felt stuck? Share a few gems with me on what you do to become unstuck to move forward and achieve your goals.

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Mikael Wagner is a communications project manager with focus on health promotion, public relations , marketing and focus group facilitation.

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Mikael Wagner

Mikael Wagner is a communications project manager with focus on health promotion, public relations , marketing and focus group facilitation.