Creative Inspiration

What to do when you’re stuck

It’s already October, people, and I literally feel like I just rang in New Year’s Eve 2013 like two weeks ago. This year is chuggin’ along, and it’s a little scary to be nearing 2014 because now I–along with hopefully every other artist or professional out there–am looking at what accomplishments and advances I’ve made so that I keep moving forward.

Honestly, I have been feeling stuck lately. I’ve been less focused than normal on things, and I can’t figure out why it is. Am I taking on too much? Am I absentmindedly redirecting my life, and is it for the better? Are the changes I’ve gone through this year leading me down a path I’m still wanting to travel?

I’ve put together a list of things I’ve done lately to try and focus my energy better:

* Start a weekly ritual that is unrelated to anything else in my regular life

I know, this seems like the dumbest thing to do to refocus–joining a juggling club, taking a beginner’s French class, organizing a weekly outing with friends–but it’s actually the smartest thing I’ve done! People need things in life that are just for fun. I recently started going to trivia with my roommates, and it’s something I look forward to every ding dang week. We lose. Like, every time, by a lot of points. But it’s fun, we meet new people, we throw back a few beers, and that’s our Monday night.

* Start an online scrapbook

I got this handy idea from Luna Luna. I love scrapbooking and keeping tabs on interesting articles, photos that inspire me, and the like, but I absolutely hate the shit laying around my house. So go ahead, get a free Dropbox account, and start organizing things you want to hang on to but don’t want to keep cluttering up your room.

* Sit down and figure out goals

Like really. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m terrible with long-term goals. So sit down and seriously think about what you’d want your life to be like in 5 years or 10 years. Do you want a job that allows you to travel? Do you want to be working for a non-profit? Do you want to be settled in a different city? I don’t have the answers to those yet, of course, but I know for a fact that one day I’d like to have my own business. What’s it going to be? I don’t have a damn clue yet, but I have something that can help me block out smaller goals and keep me on track.

* Reconnect

How many friends in your contacts list on your phone do you actually see regularly? If you’re like me, it’s like 4 or 5. Reconnect with an old friend (either via Skype or in person). I usually just scroll through my texts and figure out who I haven’t talked to recently. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

* Take myself to dinner and a movie

Again, this is to push you to stop worrying so much and just have fun. I love going to the movies solo! You don’t have to look over and see if they’re enjoying the movie, too, and you don’t have to share your Twizzlers with anyone. So take yourself out to a nice place beforehand and if anything, it’ll just make you thankful for how awesome you are and remind you that you are enough.

* Find a mentor (or become one)

Seriously, seek out a few professionals whom you admire and respect and just talk to them. See if someone might be willing to help you for a period of time. A mentor is literally a person who is there to listen, to talk you through hard times, and to inspire and refocus you…which is exactly what you need when you’re stuck. My roommate found a mentor that taught her the ropes of repairing jeans, and now she’s the freakin’ master tailor at Self Edge in San Francisco. Alternatively, teaching and giving advice is another awesome way to be inspiring to others, so if you’re able to be a mentor and can commit, you should!

This is just a start to a much larger list. What do you like to do when you’re feeling stuck?

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