Everyone feels stuck from time to time, whether in an uninspiring job or an emotionally dead end relationship. Feeling stuck is normal, but it can also be a sign that something needs to change. Luckily, there are many ways to get unstuck.
The word stuck means “held fast.” We use it to describe situations that are difficult to navigate. For example, your foot gets stuck in mud, or you’re stuck in traffic. The word is also used to refer to mental states like depression or anxiety, which may contribute to feeling stuck. Identifying the root cause of your stuckness can help you narrow down strategies to overcome it.
A surprisingly common reason for feeling stuck is a lack of clear goals or direction. Having a purpose is vital to our sense of well-being, and can help us feel motivated in the face of challenges.
When you have a purpose, you can create an action plan to achieve it, which will help you break through the stuckness. For instance, if you’re stuck in an emotional rut, creating a to-do list can give you the structure and motivation you need to move forward.
Likewise, if you’re stuck in your writing, taking a step away from the computer can give you the clarity you need to push through writer’s block. Try handwriting a page or two and then returning to your computer to continue the work. Another great way to break through the stickiness of a writing project is to set aside a specific time for it each day and commit to showing up.
For some, social media is the perfect antidote to feelings of stuckness. But for others, the platform’s inherent strangeness — the result of its own success and scale — is its primary source of discomfort. Many longtime users feel like they’re in limbo, pulled into intense group social dynamics rooted in hasty friend requests years ago. And late joiners are often simply miserable, stuck in an indefinite experiment of a familiar space.
This kind of stuckness, for some, has inspired a new take on what happens to platforms in the long term, less a death spiral than a slow bleeding of users who stay on to talk about how much they hate sticking around (consider, for instance, the popularity of Facebook Groups in recent years). The truth is that most users of established social networks are stuck, and aren’t quite sure what to do about it.