Feeling stuck, stagnant, or just plain down for periods in our life is completely normal and isn’t necessarily clinical depression. This is especially the case if you are an artist or creative person of some type. With life in general comes an ebb and flow of creative energy and vibrancy. The less formal structure we have in our work lives, the easier it gets to feel off course at times. Without a busy schedule to numb us, we can become acutely aware of our unhappiness.
The first thing that we need to do is STOP making ourselves wrong. It is completely acceptable to feel stuck, sometimes for extended periods. The key is what we do and how we cope with these down times.
I have dealt with depression in my own life and like most others, have gone through challenging times. Sometimes these phases have shown up too often and have stayed far too long. I have learned over the years to acknowledge that I feel flat but at the same time, to keep moving forward. Even taking small steps towards some type of goal has kept me from crashing too low most of the times. When we do things that make us feel as if we are accomplishing something, we are filled with a sense of pride. We all need a feeling that we are advancing in life even if it is in small ways.
Assuming these blocks are not caused by a chemical imbalance but rather just rough periods in our life, there are steps that we can take to get us through. Knowing that we WILL in fact feel stunted at times, here are some steps that you can take this week to keep you from becoming totally paralyzed:
Change it up
There is a good chance that if you are feeling stagnant, it’s time to shake things up. Making changes in some part of your life will throw you off of your regular routine and provide new momentum and energy. Often times, it could be as simple as choosing a different food for breakfast or starting to go to a gym. If what you are doing doesn’t uplift you anymore, it’s time to change it up.
There are bigger changes that we can make but often those are the most difficult. The idea of leaving a relationship that doesn’t serve us or moving to a new city for example, takes a little bit more strength, planning, and energy. Often when we begin with the small things, we are naturally led to the larger shifts that need to take place. There is a reason why we don’t make huge changes all at once. Our bodies, minds, and spirit simply can’t handle it. We need the time to adjust.
I owned a beautiful home in Toronto for 7 years. For the last 2 of those years, thoughts would come to my mind about selling. I had intuitive nudges saying that it would free me up to make larger changes in my life. Of course I had no idea what those changes would be at that time. Eventually with the help of a good friend who happened to be a real estate agent, I did sell. After selling my house, I also had a contents sale which freed me up from a lot of my stuff.
After living with a friend for a few months, I decided to visit my ex in New York City. That trip forever changed my life! By total synchronicity, I met a casting director of a well-known Soap Opera who said that if I ever came back to NYC they would put me on their TV show. I had dabbled in acting for many years and my dream was always to be on a Soap Opera!
I headed back to Toronto and ALL I could think about was getting onto that show! I asked for guidance and did much reflection during the following week. Almost instantly, I was led to a lawyer who suggested that I get a work visa as an actor and model. I prepared my case and almost effortlessly, I was approved for my visa. Soon after, I made the move to New York City. And yes, I DID get a small role on that TV show! When we are on the path to enlightenment and growth, the Universe conspires to help us.
After living in the big apple for almost 3 years, my friend in Los Angeles told me that she kept having intuitive messages during her yoga practice to invite me for a visit. Not one to turn down an intuitive sign, I booked my trip. Long story short, I fell in love with LA, found the perfect apartment during that visit and within a couple of weeks I made the move to LA. That move was perfect for me. Los Angeles was more fitting for my healing and wellness business, and offered me a more relaxing lifestyle than the one in New York City. By trusting my instincts, the Universe led me to a place where I would feel safe and at home.
To think, it all started with selling my home and lightening my load. I tell you this story to remind you of something. We don’t need to know the long-term plan. We don’t have to have it all figured out. Our job is to simply follow the immediate steps being shown to us via intuition, dreams, friends, strangers, and nudges. If we move towards those things that feel exciting and uplifting, then it is a sure sign we are going in the right direction.
This week, start small but change it up!
Take a baby step
When we feel stuck, often ANY step is better than NO step at all. As we begin to move forward while taking baby steps, the Universe will show up to guide us. We WILL be shown what steps to take next. Many times our initial movement will not make sense and we may even question why we are bothering. But because we all need to feel as if we are moving forward, any step is a good one.
Sometimes that step is simply taking time to sit quietly and meditate, clean the bathroom, or do our laundry. When we are in the midst of depression, we can often be overtaken by feelings of unworthiness. There is no better way to validate ourselves than by doing something instead of nothing at all. Anything that makes us feel as if we have accomplished something is a wonderful start and helps us to release the judgment that we are lazy or unmotivated.
Just like a newborn who has finally taken their first steps, we too are guaranteed to get walking. Trust the process and know that baby steps are all we need.
Sometimes the best steps to take are those that impact somebody else’s life. This week if you are feeling down or lost, do something kind for another person. Maybe volunteer or help a friend. When we give of ourselves, it takes us out of our own head and reminds us that we are here to make a difference in the lives of others. The reward of helping others is that we feel better too.
Process then move on
The moment we are sent into a downward spiral, there is always a deeper meaning. When we look for that meaning and use it as a tool to grow, we will be led towards a brighter future. It is vital that we take the time to honor and process these shifts. The key here is NOT to get stuck in reflecting, analyzing, and processing. In other words, don’t wallow. Give yourself a short time whether it is 3 days or one week to move through the issue and then get back on track. Otherwise we may find ourselves moving further and further downward. I have certainly experienced this in my life.
Processing our emotions can be done in various ways for each of us. By now, you’ll be taking time to journal every morning which gets things out of your head and onto paper thus leaving you feeling lighter. Find your own way to move through. Often a skilled therapist, coach, or healer will assist you in getting unstuck. Also learn to open up to trusting friends because often they will have no idea what you are going through unless you share. Experiment and find what is right for you.
Remember, things are always shifting and what once worked for you may not be the thing for you now. The Universe is ALWAYS guiding and protecting you and it knows best as to what will bring you the most joy and peace.
Don’t fall into being a victim. It is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going our way. Of course, often there is validity to feeling that life has given us a bad hand of cards, especially if we’ve experienced a serious loss or death of a loved one. The difference between those that move forward in life and those that don’t is that they don’t allow themselves to feel victimized for extended periods. The empowering approach is to realize that everything in our life happens for our spiritual growth and the sooner we accept all things, the sooner we will feel free. Recognizing that we are feeling victimized is the best way to move out of it. When you are feeling weak or disillusioned, try to look for deeper meaning in your experiences. Sometimes this will take a while but the clarity will come.
The single biggest reason we feel stressed or stuck is because we are living in the future or in the past. I am ALL for setting goals and envisioning the life that we want but when those goals become more important than where we currently are, we begin another downward spiral.
When you are motivated and when you have big dreams, you also have huge expectations of where you want to be. Often, when you don’t meet these expectations on your timeline, you feel down and pressured. The key is to get present.
There are numerous ways to become more present. Meditation is the greatest example and breath work is another powerful tool to bring us into present moment awareness. In the present there is only love, peace, and stillness regardless of what is going on in the world around us.
This week take the time to become conscious of your surroundings. Sit quietly, take deep, slow breaths, and begin to feel your present moment more intensely. Look around and learn to appreciate even the smallest of things that you once took for granted. Let go of the pressures and deadlines and learn to just be. With presence comes embracing everything that is in your life including your sadness or depression. Learn to be okay with feeling stuck and down knowing that this is just a part of life and that it will pass.
As a wellness coach, I know for certain that there is nothing better to get us out of our low cycle than movement. ANY type of physical activity will send endorphins flowing through our bodies which in turn make us feel better. But of course, when we are down, the last thing we want to do is exercise. It can be a difficult cycle. The worse we feel about ourselves, the less we want to do anything about it.
Nobody can help you to get motivated, only you can do that. It comes down to making a choice. At some point, you need to decide that enough is enough. You literally need to find it within to push, motivate and get your butt out the door. The benefit is that you will feel better in the long run. And ironically, once you get yourself going, you will feel better, and better, and better! You just have to get it started.
I have always used looking great as my motivation. Even when I am feeling down, I have allowed myself a maximum of one week off the gym. Then, my main driving force to look good has always worked as motivation. By now, you will have committed to some type of workout routine and getting your body moving in any way will help. Find your own motivation and set goals. If you have kids, exercising increases the odds that you will be there for them as they get older. If you’re newly married, it means a longer life with the person you love, or if you’ve finally created the business of your dreams, don’t you want to be around to see it thrive and prosper?
Trust the process
EVERYTHING happens for a reason! When you feel down, stuck, or just plain lethargic, it is vital to be gentle with yourself and to trust the process. Whether feeling stuck is caused by your diet, thought process, or a chemical imbalance, it is happening so that you can learn, grow, and move on. The key here is to have faith that you are exactly where you need to be and then get to the important job of figuring out why you are not feeling your best.
When we learn to have unconditional trust and faith, life gets so much easier, even during the most difficult of times.