This week on Her Digital Coffee, we are excited to introduce Deanna, a personal growth blogger and writer from Life By Deanna. In this guest post, she shares impactful ways on how to overcome stagnation in your personal and professional life. Discover Deanna’s author bio and ways to connect at the end of this post. Enjoy!
When I started my first “real job” after college I really thought my life was set. I was finally in the adult world, making money, and using my degree. About a year later, I felt defeated. I didn’t want to go to work anymore. I felt like every day was the same. There was nothing to look forward to and I felt so lost. My life was stagnant!
Everyone goes through a bit of a slump now and then. Nothing is changing, the days feel like groundhog day, and your motivation starts to fade.
This feeling of stagnation is normal! It’s a sign that something needs to change in your life. The times when you feel like doing nothing because life feels “blah” are the times you need to do something to improve yourself!
It’s easier said than done but just noticing that you feel like life has become boring is the first step to fixing the problem. Now the question is, how do you work on yourself when your life feels stagnant? Let’s talk about it.
How do you know your life is stagnant?
As mentioned above, life can start to feel like groundhog day. You may feel that every day is the same (wake up, work, sleep, repeat) or that nothing exciting ever happens.
The term stagnant means no movement. It’s often used to describe water that isn’t flowing and just sitting there becoming unpleasant.
That’s how life feels when you have nothing to work on, no goal progress, nothing to look forward to, or otherwise feel like you’re living the same day over and over.
Some signs that your life is stagnant:
- You lack enthusiasm to do anything
- You’re procrastinating a lot
- Finding distraction from TV, social media, sleep, etc.
- Feeling inadequate
- Unsure of what your next steps are
Why do people become stagnant?
There are many reasons why someone may feel stuck or stagnant. The answer could be as simple as not being challenged enough or it could be a complex mixture of reasons.
Everyone is different when it comes to wants and needs in life. One person’s life could feel stagnant whereas someone else could be living the same life and feel fulfilled.
However, there are some main reasons why people feel stuck or stagnant in life which include:
- When you don’t have anything motivating in your life
- You’re avoiding something
- It’s hard for you to make decisions
- You’re scared to try new things (fear of failure or fear of success is REAL)
- You feel like you settled (and maybe you really did)
A lot of times when there are life changes they can be scary but exciting. Eventually, the excitement fades though.
Feeling stuck can make it hard to choose your next move. Maybe you’re scared the change will just make things worse. Or maybe you are avoiding something, like facing a harsh reality where you hate the job you went to school for.
Ultimately, becoming stagnant happens when happiness and excitement is gone and you are faced with some uncomfortable feelings or choices.
How can you work on yourself when life is stagnant?
The last thing you will want to do is put effort into “working on yourself.” But this is the time you need it the most!
When you feel stuck and in a rut, when life is no longer fun and exciting, and when you feel lost… that is exactly the time you need to put time and effort into your development.
Getting unstuck and getting life to “flow” again is going to take some work.
So, how do you do the work? What does that look like?
Lay out your options
It’s a lot easier to make a decision or find a path when you have more options. However, when you feel stuck it can seem like you have NO options. The truth is, there are always more options than you even think.
So, do some brainstorming because there are always options!
Make use of online courses
Once you determine some possible paths you can take, start looking into some courses or training!
You can find so many great things online for free or low cost. Many people, including myself, have found great info on YouTube! So, get creative and start learning!
Explore your passions
I’m not sure about you, but when I felt stuck I was not spending much time on hobbies. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing. Reading? Writing? Volunteering at your local animal shelter? Playing the piano? Drawing? Everyone has something they love to do, so what is it?
Engaging in a hobby or a task you enjoy can make your life feel more purposeful! Even if everything else is not going your way, having something to look forward to can help move you out of that slump.
Make a list of life goals
What better way to improve yourself than setting goals?
I personally love making goals. Thinking about all the things I want to do in life is so exhilarating. Imagining a life where I have all those things… simply amazing.
You might feel like you don’t have the time to do all this work, but I find the process of coming up with the goals is all I need to get myself moving.
Journal your thoughts
Feeling stagnant in life can leave you with a lot of negative thoughts. “I’m not good enough,” or “I will never achieve my goals,” might be recurring thoughts.
Sit down with a notebook and pen and just write. Don’t filter yourself. Write all the negative things you are thinking about.
It’s therapeutic to get it out. Some of it might be mean or downright hateful to yourself but getting it out allows you to process it and move on.
Also, having some clarity about why you feel the way you do, why you think you’re struggling, and so on, can help you get life moving again.
Talk to other people who are living the life you want
When I felt my lowest, I decided to go talk to people who were further along than me in my career. People I looked up to or people who had a job I’d be interested in.
I asked them questions like how they got there, if they ever went through the same thing I did, and if they had any advice for me.
The biggest takeaway was that everyone has felt that same way at one point. Even the people who seemed to have it “together” really didn’t.
They also gave me some practical advice to further my career (which is where I felt most stuck) which gave me some motivation to make a change!
Practice daily affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat daily. The goal is to say them enough times that you honestly start believing them.
Some positive affirmations you could use are:
- I have unlimited options in life
- My life is forever changing and evolving
- I am in control of my life
- I am ready to live a fulfilled life
Talk to a counsellor
Sometimes you just need to talk things out with a professional. There are many different types of counsellors available to chat about what’s happening for you.
Try a personality test
Something fun I did when I felt stuck was taking some online personality tests. There are lots of mixed opinions on these types of tests but I personally just think they are fun and a good way to explore who you are.
You may find yourself asking questions like, “what is my purpose?” “What am I good at?” “Who am I meant to be?”
A personality test is not going to answer all those questions but they can give you some insight into the way you think and what things MAY interest you!
In the end, it’s about finding your way.
You actually have a lot of options at any given time. Focusing on change and improving yourself in some way will help you get out of the life-sucking slump.
It’s really just about finding yourself. You’re feeling this way for a reason: you don’t know what to do. You don’t know what to do because you don’t know what you WANT to do or what you CAN do.
Finding yourself and your passions, interests, skills, and so on, is what will help you get unstuck. We all go through this at one time or another. It’s so normal but not talked about that often which makes you feel alone.
I get it because I was there! Be kind to yourself, allow time to try new things, and remember that you have so many options in life… you are never stuck even if life feels stagnant!
Life will flow again. This is just one part of your journey. 🤍
Have you ever felt stagnant in life?
About the Author
Deanna is a 20-something personal growth blogger and freelance writer. She created Life By Deanna to inspire other women to focus on growth, create lives they love, and dream big. Check out her blog for more posts on personal growth, wellness, and lifestyle. When she isn’t writing she is reading, cuddling with her cat, and probably eating mac and cheese. Connect with Deanna on Instagram!