Picture it: a Sunday night.
You’re lying in bed with your laptop overheating, your arms feel like dead weight, and you can’t be bothered to turn the ceiling fan on. And you know that when tomorrow comes, you’re just going to go through the same mundane week that you’ll drag yourself through again.
Between movies on Netflix and glasses of wine, you find yourself suffocated with a thick cloud of dread in your chest and anxiety in your mind. You’ve long stopped looking forward to outings with friends or even date nights, and the only thing that could provide a sliver of light to your week has been Fridays.
As the realisation that your favourite songs stop being your favourite, as bills stack on top of one another, killing time more than appreciating it – you think to yourself:
“Am I… stuck?”
When I was younger, I was afraid of many things. Ghosts, the dark, losing my parents in a supermarket – anything that children were supposed to be terrified of, I very much was too.
Years blurred by and suddenly, I was a teen who wasn’t too scared of the dark anymore. My fears turned into being stuck in a 9-to-5 corporate cycle when I grew up, working a desk job instead of travelling around the world and exploring what life has to offer.
Now as I stumble into adulthood, I can safely say that those fears were more realistic than not.
Some of us love the routine and some of us love the thrill of having something unexpected every day. Some of us have our lives planned out with a significant other, and some of us don’t. Regardless, it's normal to feel stuck and unmotivated out of nowhere.
The question is: what can you do when time feels like it’s at a permanent standstill?
#1. Keep off social media
I admit that I’ve fallen for the glamorous lives portrayed on social media, and have felt some sort of resentment towards these strangers for ‘having it better’. I wish I could tell my younger self that social media isn’t a credible outlet for people’s lives, but we tend to compare and juxtapose their days to our own anyway. This leads to harsher judgement in our own lives and adds to the fire that is self-doubt.
Think of your favourite moments in life – be it your 21st birthday, a holiday you really enjoyed, or the promotion at work that you had. Take just these great memories and upload them onto social media – it would look like your life is pretty perfect too, no?
Everyone has bad days that could span into months and years, and you’ll never know through social media because it’s so selective. It’s a mosaic of happy memories, and it almost never tells the full story. Take it with a grain of salt and don’t spend too much time dwelling on what could be.
2. Take on a new hobby
Another good way to break the routine is to take on new hobbies.
Introduce small hobbies into your life and it can range from going to pottery workshops, spin classes or cooking lessons.
Looking for something out of the blue? Try tufting!
It's a niche segment of embroidery that’s slowly popping up in the trendy scene (here in Singapore and across fellow countries), and there are plenty of classes available to get you started. Tufting is like sewing, but easier. I’ve made rugs and small pieces of my own – you’ll see the pieces you made in a month’s time and realise that you’re improving at a craft you initially knew nothing about.
This self-encouragement works wonders, and gives you something unfamiliar and exciting to look forward to in the week. You’ll soon find with each week that passes, the days feel less dreadful and more fulfilling.
It sounds cliche, I know, but it works.
Meditating helps you sort your worries and stresses out in order of priority. It also relaxes your mind, allowing you to see if those thoughts hold truth and are even worth worrying about. Take five minutes or so every morning (or night if you’re a night owl, I won’t judge!), turn on some relaxing tunes, close your eyes and simply breathe.
Feeling stuck isn’t something that you feel immediately, or something that you can detect when it’s about to happen. It’s the feeling of dread that slowly creeps up, melting your every hope and dream. It’s the fog of anxiety that starts to condense in your chest, and the bad thoughts that somehow make its way into your mind.
You can’t control it, but always remember that you can make it better. It’s never too late to start something new or introduce a change in your life that can help break this routine. Take a step out of our comfort zone and do something – don’t take a path full of regrets to the end of your days.