Sometimes we just can’t get into our groove. Nothing sounds good. We can’t get ourselves going. More often than not we know what we’d like to be doing, but we just can’t seem to get there. All of these should-be-doings add to the overwhelming heaviness. We’re stuck.
Simple conversations can turn into an eye-rolling irritating mess. Like are you seriously asking me where I want to eat at? I need food…but I don’t want that…or that…and definitely not that. Sheesh.
Normal tasks make you want to scream and write essays about using blinkers to turn and following state driving laws. Every little thing makes you want to blow your car horn. And your lid.
But really, why would any of these experiences upset you? It’s probably a layer deeper (isn’t it always about something much bigger?). In my experience this answer is always a big YES.
Let’s go through the following 5 steps to help you get unstuck.
Step 1: Examine your surroundings.
When we feel overwhelmed and we’re dragging our feet we need to examine our surroundings. What exactly do you do from sun up to sun down? Close your eyes and visualize a typical day from the moment you rouse yourself from your beauty sleep to when you go back to sleep that night. Think about the places you go. Who do you see? How does each environment feel?
Step 2: Look at your insides.
When you visualized your day did you notice any bodily sensations or emotions? For example, if you pictured yourself driving to work did you notice that your jaw was clenched and your stomach felt tight? When you arrived home and noticed the clutter in your living room did your shoulders become tense and your mood become irritable? Close your eyes and walk through your day again. Pay special attention to how your body responds to each experience. Consider the various emotions that you feel throughout the day. Are any of these emotions heavy? Are they contributing to you feeling stuck?
Step 3: Pay attention.
Now in your real day-to-day life give yourself permission to stay present. Instead of silencing your feelings or engaging in distracting activities, allow yourself to notice your experiences. Good indicators that this is a challenging practice: you find yourself reaching for your phone, you reach out to connect by gossiping, you gulp down coffee or wine as a must-do activity. Not all of these things are bad (most are them are normal activities that most of us do). However, they get in our way when they keep us from paying attention to what’s really going on. They’re activities that help us shush our internal discomfort. Rather than feel what is happening, we often reach for activities or substances that mute our feelings.
Paying attention is the hard part, but this practice is often the very thing that will point us home again. Instead of asking ourselves, “Gosh, what is wrong with me?” We start saying, “Wow, when I’m around this person I feel threatened which makes me feel nervous. I notice that my body wants to shrink and my stomach hurts. When I get home, I’m so tense that I start snapping at the people I love.” We’re moving from going-through-the-motions to self-awareness.
Step 4: Remove the bad vibes from your life.
Okay, so you’ve ran through your typical day and started noticing how certain experiences make you feel. That information is gold on your journey to getting yourself unstuck. As a little girl I can remember telling my dad, “Hey, it hurts when I do this (in which I demonstrated twisting my hand at an awkward angle).” My dad’s sage advice? “Then don’t do that.” Hahaha! Such simple advice, but it’s exactly how we design a life that feels good. If you have people in your life that don’t make you feel good, then learn to minimize your time with them. Say no to invitations and gracefully exit out of conversations with them. If you have to be around this person due to work or family structure, find ways to protect yourself. Don’t engage in questioning that stresses you out and set some clear boundaries around your time and space. Imagine that these bad vibes are sticky. If you don’t protect yourself you’ll carry the stickiness with you and likely get it on other people. The stickier you are the more stuck you’ll feel. Cut the bad vibes out!
Step 5: Do what you love.
My guess if that if you’re feeling stuck you probably aren’t doing things in your day that you love. When we stop doing simple things that remind us of who we are we begin to feel disconnected. This sense of disconnection can often be felt within our relationships, our jobs, and our daily rhythms. It often grows until we feel stuck. This experience makes it impossible to move forward, because we don’t know which direction to go. So if you’re at this particular place of stuck then take an assessment of your self-care. What things make you feel good? What do you love to do? These activities can be as simple as exercising, making nourishing food, or calling a good friend. Blend these self-care activities into your daily routine. Re-connect to YOU so that you can get back into alignment with yourself.
Why is getting into alignment so important?
Alignment brings clarity, creativity, and direction. Outside influence has a great impact on our outlook. When we go to places that feel good and interact with people that are positive, we often absorb this energy. Inner self-work or self-care can shift our whole perspective about our experiences. By engaging in daily self-care we feel connected and centered. A feel good outer experience paired with a loving inner experience often leads to a sense of flow. When the inner world meets the outer world in a synchronized way we enter alignment. Being in alignment will directly influence how we show up in our relationships, with our friends, and our work.
When we learn to pay attention, we are better able to notice what pulls us out of alignment. Is it that person in your social media feed? Unfollow. Is it the negative person at carpool pick-up? Engage someone else in conversation and keep it light. When you tune-in to your intuition you will be able to discern whether something is for you or whether you need to keep on going. Paying attention is the best getting unstuck tool you have. Use it again and again like a muscle that will build up and protect you from getting stuck in the future.
You have all of the tools already within you. Listen to your body and heart. Together they’ll aim to keep you aligned with your true purpose.
Jen Padilla-Burger helps perfectionists heal. She supports overfunctioning perfectionists with developing self-care practices, meditation, hypnosis, and self-compassion. Jen is a lover of coffee, plants, and podcasts.