I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been feeling stuck. I can’t follow my path through the woods. When I feel this way I withdraw, become irritable. I hate this feeling. I want to remove myself from all situations that make me feel this way. But, that is not possible. I must be where I am, at least for the time being. There are a few productive things I usually try to rock myself loose of my rut. I also appreciate any advice, please share how you get yourself unstuck in the comments.
You can’t know where you are going, or not going, if you don’t know where you are now. So, first of all I must realize that I’m stuck. I know I’m stuck when I can’t muster enthusiasm for that which I used to have a great deal of enthusiasm. Sometimes it takes me a good long time before I realize that I’m stuck. It’s usually a really big rut that I’m in when that happens: so wide I can’t tell I’m in it; so deep it takes a powerful change to break free of it. Once I know I’m stuck I can either accept that I will need to change things now or very soon, if I need some time to ponder the situation, as I’m wont to do.
My rut a few years ago was massive: a flailing, failing computer repair business. We tried all kinds of things early on to get customers. But, at some point I got stuck. I just held on while we made our slow descent into a soft crash landing. I didn’t notice that I was stuck in the business until I made a significant life change, the decision to get to a healthy weight. I realized my business was never going to be successful with me, at least the me I was, running it. Since I was the heart of the company, when I told my business partners I no longer wished to live with its burden, it was finished. I felt relief. I came unstuck.
I haven’t felt terribly stuck since then, just small ruts that need a little rev to get atop. I’m sure this is one of those and that little changes like the following will bring me to the other side.
Find a new interest: New music, new books, new movies, new sports, new games, new food, new skills, new friends, new new new. I find that if I can find a new thing to immerse myself in I get all kinds of new energy. If that energy is aimed in the right direction it can push me right out of the rut I’m in. If not, as I usually find when I find an addictive TV series, I may dig my rut a little deeper.
Mix things up: Change the time of day I write, give up a vice or addiction, rearrange my workspace, room, house. My dad can’t stand a stagnant room. He always looks for the best way for a room to be laid out. When I was young, my dad would rarely stay home from church, but when he did, we would usually come home to a rearranged house. He would tire of the rut the house would get in. I was always excited when the house looked different when I got home.
Look back: I have always freed myself from previous ruts. Looking back can give me insight into how to rock myself out of this one.
Clear the board: I always feel good when I complete the things that need to be done. I can then focus my brain fully on whatever I’m stuck on. So, I look for small, easy, or menial projects that won’t take a bunch of brain juice, and actually complete them. If they’re simple enough I can actually brainstorm solutions for my other projects and when I complete them I have a bit of momentum to break free of my rut.
There are a few books that I always turn to when I feel uninspired. They aren’t necessarily inspiring books, some only remind me not to take life so seriously, but they all give my tires some traction.