Is It Normal To Feel Stuck In Life?
At some point in our lives, we all feel stuck. It’s normal to feel stuck in life, and truthfully, it can take some effort to get your life back in gear!
Financial problems, health crises, fear of aging, life can feel out of control at times. Sometimes, when we feel out of control, we lose confidence and can feel emptied of our daily energy. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed can result in making choices that keep you stuck.
Life can feel like a rollercoaster ride with its ups and downs. It is entirely normal to feel stuck sometimes in life, be it in your career, relationships, or personal growth. However, feeling stuck can leave you feeling unmotivated and hopeless. If you are a woman in your middle age and feeling stagnant in your life, this blog post is for you.
5 Steps To Help You Stop Feeling Stuck
Identify the root cause: The first step in moving forward when you feel stuck is to identify the cause behind it. Take a moment to reflect on what might be holding you back. Is it fear, self-doubt, or lack of motivation? Once you identify the root cause, you can start working towards solving it. For example, if fear is what’s holding you back, try to identify what you are afraid of and face it.
Set achievable goals: Setting realistic goals can help you move forward toward achieving your dreams. Make a list of your short-term and long-term goals and break them down into smaller achievable steps. Celebrate every small win, as they will motivate you to keep going. It is also essential to create an action plan to ensure you stay on track.
Surround yourself with positivity: Your environment plays a significant role in your motivation levels. Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Spend your time doing things that bring you joy and happiness. Take up hobbies or activities that challenge you to learn new skills.
Practice self-care: Self-care is essential in maintaining a healthy and happy life. Take time to prioritize your mental and physical well-being. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Do things that relax you, such as taking a bubble bath, reading a book, or going for a walk in nature.
Seek help: If you feel stuck and struggling to move forward, it is okay to seek help. Talk to a therapist or coach who can guide you through your journey. Alternatively, join a group or community where you can share your experiences and get encouragement from like-minded people.
How I Overcame Feeling Stuck
My Shoulder Injury Made Me Feel Defeated
When you are feeling stuck or defeated, it can help to remember the past obstacles you have overcome. Sometimes in life, it is simply a matter of choosing to believe that you will move forward again, no matter how difficult the situation.
About five years ago, I dislocated my shoulder. It was devastating for many reasons, and I struggled to focus on a positive future. I am sharing some of that story in this post to offer encouragement and hope to anyone who feels hopeless and stuck.
Feeling Stuck Can Make You Feel Depressed
I was living alone for the first time in my life. For 30 years, I had been a homemaker, and now I was in the process of divorcing. Some days, I felt confident, and other days, I was caught in the waves of emotional pain of my marriage ending. Most days, I felt stuck, not sure where I was headed after the divorce was final.
I had committed to walking around my local town as much as possible. I would pack my computer and other items, then walk up to the local coffee shop. Buying a coffee and writing gave me a sense of daily routine. It helped me to stay active and engaged in the outside world.
Do You Ever Feel Trapped By Life?
Returning home in the afternoon, I slipped my backpack off. I felt a pop and then a dull pain. I assumed it was a simple tendon strain and tried to ignore the throbbing. The following day I had strapped my arm to my ribcage with a belt and was swallowing a steady stream of ibuprofen, hoping to dull the pain so I would stop moaning like Casper the ghost.
I knew I couldn’t afford to pay a bill from an Emergency Room visit, so I determined to wait it out until I could see my chiropractor on Tuesday. I didn’t have healthcare coverage. I didn’t have a spouse or partner to help me. I felt afraid and stuck in a painful situation with very few choices.
Because my injury happened on a Friday, I waited four days for my chiropractor.
Sometimes It Takes A Painful Moment To Help You Get Unstuck
Remember the old Western movies where the frontier doctor uses a pocketknife to dig out bullets from wounded cowboys? First step: a shot of whiskey. Second step: The cowboy’s best friend gives him a leather strap to bite on during the primitive surgery.
You got the picture, right? Cowboy strapped to a table, empty whiskey glass, a leather strap between his teeth to stifle his screams, horse tied up outside, and the determined doctor digging around for the bullet in dim candlelight….
Friends, had I known the pain of getting a shoulder popped back in after four days of dislocation, I would have brought a flask of cheap whiskey and my snakeskin leather pumps for my own pain management. Damn! Double Damn!!
Using my body weight as leverage, the doctor carefully positioned my shoulder and quickly dropped my torso on his adjustment table, attempting to push my shoulder back into place. It was an excellent idea, but it didn’t work the first time.
Remember that adage: if something doesn’t work, try try again.
The second body slam was when I could have really used that cowhide leather strap to muffle the shrieking erupting from my primal brain as my arm slid back into the sweet- Baby- Jesus- shoulder socket!
Obstacles Come Your Way Can Make You Feel Stuck
After the second adjustment, he gently checked my shoulder as I lay on the table, quietly sobbing. Overwhelmed with pain and feeling defeated, I ran through a mental checklist to confirm that my life really was the dumpster fire I suspected it was.
No job-check. No career- check. No healthcare- check. Very few friends-check. Hadn’t washed my hair in days- check. Extreme anxiety about my future-check.
Yup- I was a certified hot mess.
Why Overcoming Obstacles In Life Is Important
That day, a couple of years ago, some of my worst fears had come true. I was in pain. I was unable to afford healthcare or physical therapy. And I was facing these things alone.
And yet, I found a way forward. Repeat after me: There is ALWAYS a way forward.
Overcoming Obstacles Can Lead To Future Success
The point of this story isn’t to impress you with my questionable decision to avoid the cost of an ER visit. This is not a humble brag about my ability to bear physical pain. Trust me, that injury affected me in so many ways; I lost muscle strength and struggled with a mild depression over losing my physical abilities.
I didn’t go to physical rehab; I couldn’t afford it. I was so afraid that I would never regain complete use of my left arm. I went from bench pressing 70 pounds at the gym to making spider leg walking motions with my fingers up the wall to trick my shoulder into lifting my arm above my head.
Finding Your Way Forward Takes Time
I found Youtube videos on how to rehab a dislocated shoulder, mimicking the exercises as I watched physical therapists work with patients on restoring shoulder strength. I couldn’t sleep on my left side for two months because the pain was too intense at night.
I was messed up. I was scared. But I was determined to go forward, letting my body set the pace for recovery. And years later, I am thankful to share that I am stronger than before. I have full use of my shoulder, and I no longer experience residual pain due to that injury.
Feeling Like All Your Good Days Are Behind You?
Do you ever feel like all your good days are behind you? Physical injury, emotional pain, financial crisis, or maybe your marriage is a disaster? Maybe you feel so stuck it’s impossible to move forward. If that describes you, it’s time to plant the smallest seed of hope in your soul.
Try these small suggestions to help you move forward toward your goals. When we feel stuck, big goals can feel defeating. Use these ideas to create micro goals that will help move you closer to the life you want.
Nine Simple Ideas To Help You Move Forward In Life
- Make a small choice that results in personal growth. Read a book, attend a therapy session, keep a daily gratitude journal, and practice some intentional personal silence each day.
- Stop procrastinating for a month. Choose one thing that you keep putting off and do it.
- Commit to a goal and give it two months. It takes at least eight weeks to start seeing results, no matter what type of project you are working on.
- Fail fast (this is a result of taking massive action toward a goal or desired change. As you challenge yourself to move forward, you need to anticipate and welcome the lessons you learn in failure.
Push yourself for “one more.” By challenging ourselves to go just beyond our limits, we increase our confidence and belief in our abilities.
- One more weight-lifting rep in the gym.
- One more dollar saved.
- One more hour of self-development.
- One more conversation where you choose to practice focused, judgement-free listening with a spouse, child or friend.
Choosing To Move Forward When You Feel Stuck
No matter how stuck we might feel, we can always make a small choice to move forward. It has been five years since my divorce, and my life has completely changed. I have made small steps toward big goals, often reminding myself that obstacles help me grow stronger. Sure, there are days when I struggle with feeling stuck, but when I look back at the distance I have traveled, I feel even more confident that I will achieve my goals.
Feeling stuck is normal, but it should not be a roadblock to achieving your goals. By identifying the root cause, setting achievable goals, surrounding yourself with positivity, practicing self-care, and seeking help, you can start moving forward in your life.
Remember, it is never too late to change your life. Take the first step today towards a happier and more fulfilling life.
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.