However, as trapped as you may feel, it’s important to note that you’re more than capable of changing your situation. The first step to getting out of a rut is to identify the reasons why you may be feeling sad, frustrated, unmotivated, or bored. Doing so will make it easier to figure out what specific changes must be made in your life.
To get you started, below are five common causes behind the feeling of being stuck:
1. Career Stagnation or Dissatisfaction
Some people love what they do for a living, and that’s the goal many professionals strive to achieve. However, not everyone has a career that maximises their skills, makes them feel valued, and gives them a sense of fulfilment. You may be one of those people, which is why you’re feeling stuck. Indeed, you may be working at a dead-end job, or you may be in a career that doesn’t align with your passions and values. Either way, it might be time to start looking for a job with meaning.
You don’t have to dedicate your whole life to a job that makes you feel unfulfilled. It’s never too late to shift careers and search for better opportunities elsewhere. Of course, it may take some time to create a stable career plan, but the happiness gained from a job that you genuinely enjoy will be well worth the long-term effort.
2. Burnout or Cognitive Overload
It’s difficult to move forward in life when you’re exhausted, both physically and mentally. Burnout or cognitive overload can also be the main cause of getting stuck in a rut. When you’re tired or overwhelmed, your brain may feel like it’s shutting down, making it difficult to focus or think of anything else. Fatigue can make accomplishing any activity a challenge, slowing down your performance and progress.
This is why it’s crucial that you practice self-care. At a minimum, a good night’s sleep, a walk outside, and time spent with loved ones can help you feel reinvigorated. By taking regular and quality breaks, you can approach life with a fresh perspective and more energy.
3. Negative and Self-Sabotaging Thoughts
The feeling of being stuck can be greatly affected by your current mindset. Those who tend to think more positively are less likely to feel like they’re trapped in a rut—and if they do end up feeling stuck, it may be easier for them to overcome the emotion. On the other hand, people with negative mindsets tend to fall into the habit of self-sabotaging themselves. This can not only cause the feeling of being stuck, but also exacerbate it, trapping a person in a seemingly never-ending loop of hopelessness.
If you constantly doubt your capabilities or question your self-worth, it’s time to take a step back. More often than not, these hurtful and demeaning thoughts aren’t true. You do have the power to escape your current situation and find a path that leads to fulfilment. If you can create these negative thoughts, you can certainly stop them as well.
4. Lack of Purpose and Unclear Goals
In order to keep progressing, you’ll need to have a strong sense of purpose. If you’re unsure of what you really want in life, then you can’t determine the next steps you need to take to move forward. This, in turn, may cause you to feel stuck or unfulfilled.
In other words, you’ll need to know what your “why” is in order to stay motivated and on track. Where do you want to be in a few years? Why do you want this? What can you do to achieve this? Though these questions seem immense, they’re necessary if you want to make the right changes to your life.
5. Unhealthy Relationships
Humans thrive on social connections and relationships. Hence, everyone needs a solid support system in order to flourish. Without people by your side, you’re likely to feel lost and isolated. That being said, certain kinds of relationships can do more harm than good. If you’re giving more than receiving, and it’s starting to feel draining, then it may be time to reassess your relationships. Unhealthy bonds are another reason why you may be feeling stuck.
If someone makes you feel worse about yourself or manipulates you in any way, then it may be time to cut things off with them. Instead, take the time to go out and meet new people. More importantly, focus on being kinder to yourself. Once you recognise your self-worth and know what you deserve, you’ll start attracting people who feel the same way about you.
There’s no doubt that feeling stuck can be frustrating. In fact, it may seem like there’s no way out. However, just because you feel helpless doesn’t mean that you are helpless. There’s always a way out, and it starts with proper self-reflection. By trying to find the root of the problem, you can nip it in the bud before it gets worse.