Health

‘I Feel Stuck’: How to Keep Going When You’re Totally Overwhelmed and Can’t Focus

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You know that feeling of having so much to do that you just don’t know where to start? I know it all too well, and I’m surely not the only one. It simply makes you feel stuck. 

I’m not going to list out all the ways that I’m soooo incredibly busy because let’s face it — that’s just annoying. Plus, I know I’m not rare or unique in any way. Practically every working woman and mom I know struggles with balance, making time for everything, and the daily struggles of life. 

So instead, I offer you this: solace, understanding, and the simple notion that you are not alone. Below I’ve identified some of the top ways that women feel stuck. Sound familiar at all? 

With each one, I’ll offer ideas to help. And no, these are approved methods from a certified psychologist or tips from the latest best-selling self-help book. These are solutions from real women who have been there, and have managed to find their way out. I gathered these from a recent girls’ night out, and the insight was perfectly wonderful. I hope it helps you, too. 

“I feel stuck in my career.” 

We’ve all been there at some point. Maybe we’re hoping for a promotion that hasn’t come. Perhaps we’re not feeling challenged. Or we just have a whole other set of dreams or aspirations that we never got around to. These are all legit reasons to feel stuck in your career, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. Here’s the advice of my friend who recently left her high-paying job because she was unhappy: Dream. Yep, her advice is to dream. 

You don’t have to go quit your job tomorrow or make a lateral move to a job you’re going to dislike just as much. Instead, allow yourself to dream and think about what you might want to do next. Look up job descriptions, research different industries, and just ask questions. My friend is nearly 40, and she realized that she has so many more years of working. So she’s now looking at a totally new second career. After all, she’ll have another 20, 30, or 40 years of working. She figures it might as well be doing something she likes. 

“I feel stuck in my relationship.” 

Whether you’re dealing with a divorce, separation, or just your relationship in general, this is one of the most stressful things you can go through in your life. It grinds on you daily, especially since you likely see the other person on a regular basis. 

As someone who has been there myself, my advice is to give yourself time, and focus on the other relationships in your life right now. Sometimes we tend to be in a hurry to make decisions or fix problems (this is so me!), but don’t make yourself rush into anything. Time can be a good thing. While you wait, don’t forget to focus on those really good relationships you already have in your life. Or maybe relationships that you’ve let go, and it’s time to get them back. Call old friends and make plans to get together. Give more quality time to your kids. Look up old family, and reunite. These are all really positive things you can do while you give yourself some time. 

“I feel stuck in my workout routine.” 

As much as you’d like to, you cannot force yourself to be motivated to work out. You just can’t. The whole saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” is oh-so true. If this sounds like you, my best gal pals suggest finding an accountability partner. Maybe this is a BFF or neighbor. Or it might be a trainer that you pay an obscene amount of money for, but at least it guilts you into going to the gym. Whatever the case may be, find the accountability, and then put yourself to the test. 

“I feel stuck in my food routine.” 

This could mean a couple of different things. It might be that you’re in a food rut and need motivation for making cool, new, tasty meals. This one can be an easy fix with a visit to Pinterest. Or perhaps put a callout on your Facebook, asking for recipe ideas. You will surely be met with plenty of suggestions! 

The other thing this could mean is that you’re trying to lose weight and are having trouble following the latest keto meal plan or just healthy eating in general. The tough thing about this one is that you likely know what healthy eating looks like, but it’s just hard to follow or life gets busy! If this is you, try the accountability plan again. By having someone you’re being accountable with (either a friend or an actual program), it helps bring this into the forefront and reminds you to focus. 

“I feel stuck in my life.” 

If you’re just feeling overall stuck, then it might be time to turn to a professional resource. Every women at the table during my girls’ night expressed understanding of going through a tough time where they felt stuck in life. Some talked about having social anxiety, especially around other parents. Another talked about dealing with postpartum depression. Another told us she’d been dealing with depression off and on for years, so this was a typical thought for her. 

This is one where you really might need to tap into other resources, and it definitely shouldn’t be something you hide or are embarrassed about. I’ve been to therapy many times, and I remember how much I resisted the notion of it at first. It’s really not a big deal. Plus, going to therapy doesn’t mean you’re depressed, need medication, or are going through a midlife crisis. (Or maybe it does, but so what?! You’ll get the help you need.) 

Don’t stay feeling stuck or lost. Be kind to yourself — as kind as you would be to your best friend, mom, or daughter. And don’t be afraid to stop, take a pause, or just ask for help. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? 

Stacy Tornio is the author of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book and the mom of two adventurous kids. Together, they like planning vacations centered around the national parks.

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