Ever been in that mood where crawling under the comforter feels like the best option? Felt stuck. Stagnant. In a funk. Don't know what to do. Haven't we all been in this place at one point?
And it's not just "creative types" who feel this. Ever felt stuck in a job where you're so bored your tears have dried up? Or you're that type of person who has always had goals, and now suddenly feels like they are going nowhere because they can't think of a new goal?
For me, I get in these ruts where I feel like I'm not good enough with my photography. And sometimes other parts of my life aren't as neat and tidy as I'd wish. (And yes I know control is an illusion, but you know how things get overwhelming. Suddenly your dinner plate full of life's "stuff" seems like it shrinks to the size of a little dessert plate, and all of life's stuff is running over the sides onto your favorite jeans. Which means "oh crap, now I have extra laundry to do on top off all my other stuff".)
So you, and I, have a few choices. Here are some ideas from me, and from feedback I received on Facebook from friends after asking what they do to get unstuck. A lot of great ideas to have in your emotional suitcase, and a few to leave out.
Wallow for a short time. That's ok. Eat a few too many brownies. Then share the rest with a neighbor.
Hang out with a friend who makes you laugh.
Wallow for a long time. You know what happens if you keep eating too many brownies. So now you have another problem - added pounds. The longer you, or I, wallow, the harder it is to escape the downward spiral. What I just named the "Vortex of Doom". (This option can be troublesome to get out of. Short term wallowing seems to be better, so I don't recommned long term wallowing.)
The only way OUT of a funk is OUT: going OUTside to refresh one's mind, pushing while giving one self some timeOUTs.
As a photography friend pointed out, "things don't always need to go forward. In French we say "prendre du recul c'est prendre de l'élan", which translates as taking a step back is gaining momemtum, just like you need to jump over something big."
After your short or long wallow period, you now have a choice. Stay there. Or. Just. Do. Something.
Do something for someone else. It gets you thinking of someone else instead of yourself. It may release stress that is creating the funk.
I ALWAYS try to look for the bright side of things. It's hard sometimes, but it's always there. And sometimes it's really dim. You might have to try one of the other ideas for that bright side to become apparent.
Also, take a break, refocus and try again. Taking steps back is not always bad. Opportunity to review and seek other avenues.
Maybe run the vacuum around the house because you haven't done it since...you don't remember. And it counts as exercise.
Reading a chapter in a book. Your local library offers tons of free reading material.
Take your kid to the zoo instead of letting them play on their phone. Create a memory.
Maybe getting unstuck means getting out your favorite brush/camera/pencil/paint a wall in your living room/whatever and just make something. Anything. Even if it's junk. This is still moving forward!
What do you do to get yourself out of a rut? You can comment below.
And then the folks who need help from a professional, please get the help you need. Or encourage your friend to get help if it's not you. There is a difference between just being in a funk, and long term, debilitating illness.
And the photograph?
A rather ugly "lake" in New Mexico, with the exception of it's stunning, almost unnatural blue (something to do with the elements in the water, not because of man made chemicals). The surroundings were blah, and I didn't think I had a photograph, so I decided to make something positive out of this by going the abstract route. This was done by moving the camera during a slower shutter speed.