Getting Un-stuck When Life Feels Like Too Much
When life starts to feel like it’s too much, you may find yourself not doing a lot with your free time, staying home, and having little social interaction. A great deal of time at home may be spent trying to find distraction through shows, video games, and chores, or perhaps passing the time by sleeping. Thoughts of finding things to do for pleasure or fun people to be with may seem like they are almost certainly not worth the effort, scary, or doomed to fail for some reason or another. At the same time, you may find yourself having a lot of self-criticism, which only makes you feel worse, making it harder to get out there and get engaged in life. As if all of this was not enough to deal with, you may have a hard time even sorting out what it is that you’d like to be doing with your time in the first place. So how does one get out of this seemingly impossible situation?
Get to know what’s getting in the way.
If you’re feeling stuck in this vicious cycle, an important step to getting out of it is to understand better what’s stopping you from making a change. To get this understanding, look to your thoughts, your feelings, and what happens in your body. Try and notice if there are patterns in the ways that you think about yourself, other people, and the world. Sometimes, we have a lot of thoughts about ourselves or others that we may not be totally aware of and that impact how we feel about life nonetheless. If we believe we are supremely deficient in some way, or that things aren’t likely to work out, why would we want to try anything new or challenging? If we expect that we would be treated poorly, or simply not wanted, why look for new relationships? What does it feel like, to think about ourselves and our prospects this way?
Notice what’s happening in your body. You may feel tense, weighed down, disconnected or on alert. When you’re around people, or thinking about being around people, you may start to feel overwhelmed with anxiety or irritation. Perhaps your heart starts racing, or maybe you go numb. Try and notice your posture. You may find that you tend to be slumped over a lot of the time or maybe you keep yourself in a rigid position. Check in with your breathing. How deeply do you breath and how fast? Are you holding your breath? Try and notice if there are patterns to the ways that you feel and use your body. Do certain situations or thoughts tend to go along with certain feelings, sensations, postures, and breathing?
Try to get active, if you can, even if it’s in a small way.
When nothing sounds good, and doing nothing doesn’t sound good, you may have to act anyway. Staying frozen or distracted, lost in thought or overwhelmed with bad feelings isn’t going to get you un-stuck. You may not believe that there is a single thing you can do to feel better, but beliefs and reality are not always in line with one another. The more challenging the beliefs, and the more overwhelming the uncomfortable feelings, the harder it will be to get active. You may find yourself telling yourself that there’s no point in anything you can think of doing, beforehand, but if you get out and test it, there’s a good chance that, at least for a little bit, you’ll feel a little better. Try to push through, if you can, and do at least one thing to take care of yourself, get outside your home, or be with people you enjoy. What you do can be as simple as taking a shower, going for a walk outside, working out, picking up and old hobby again, going out for a cup of coffee, or reaching out to a friend or family member. When you do something active, social, or just to take care of yourself, try and notice if you feel any better than you did before, even if it’s only slightly. Getting active won’t fix everything, and it will probably feel hard again, the next time, but if it made you feel even slightly better, than this is a victory that you can build on.
Talk to a therapist.
Therapists are professionals at helping people get unstuck in life. When we are lost in thought, overwhelmed, frozen, and disconnected, it becomes hard to see ourselves. A therapist can help you to see yourself better and get insight into what’s got you stuck. If your feeling too much, a therapist can help you find ways to not be too overwhelmed, and if you’re having trouble feeling much at all, they can help you get more connected. Dealing with challenges such as these can be difficult to talk about, and a good therapist will work to make you feel safe and understood. Your challenges may not be easy to fix, and it will likely take time, but you don’t have to face this struggle alone and with the help of a good therapist, you can learn to better cope with, understand, and work your way out of the dark place and into the life you really want.