Feeling Stuck, Stressed and Worried?

Stuck, Stressed or Worried? 6 Steps to Move Past It

I hear from divorced women all the time about how they feel stuck, stressed or worried.  There are a myriad of reasons for those feelings — each one unique to the person, yet very similar.  We are not alone in these feelings and when we follow six simple steps, we can begin to relieve those feelings of being stuck, stressed or worried.


Step One — Acknowledge

Acknowledge that you are stuck, stressed or worried. The first thing you can do is sit quietly, breathe deeply and relax.  Try to put distractions aside for a few minutes.  Then think about how you’re feeling and face the fact that you are stuck, stressed or worried.  Which is it for you? 

Are you stuck in one place and can’t seem to get out of your own way?  Have circumstances left you feeling unconfident, unfulfilled or ineffective?  Do you want to get past these feelings but you don’t know how?  That’s one of the definitions of being stuck.

Does something (or do many things) have you stressed?  Are you in a situation that feels out of your control?  Are you finding it hard to make ends meet?  Are there relationships that have you constantly on edge? Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. 

For some, worry is ever-present.  Are you a worry-wart?  Do you worry about being good enough?  Or smart enough?  Or that you can make it on your own?  Or that you’ll make the right decisions?  If you’re lucky, you don’t worry about everything, but you do worry about some things.

Take stock of what it is for you.  Face it square on.  Sometimes we can be all of those things:  stuck, stressed AND worried.  If that’s the case for you, it’s okay.  You are not alone.  And there are simple steps you can take to help get you un-stuck, un-stressed and un-worried.  Read on.

Step Two — Identify

What is it exactly that’s got you stuck, stressed or worried?  After you face that fact that you are having one or all of those feelings, now is the time to identify what it is that’s got you feeling that way.  Pick THE most important thing that’s got you feeling stuck, stressed or worried.  There may be many things but, rather than trying to tackle them all at once, choose the one that is most concerning to you right now. Write it down on a piece of paper.

Be very specific as you describe that most urgent thing on your mind.  For instance, you might be worried about changing jobs or stressed about being able to afford something you need or stuck feeling unconfident that you can make it on your own after your divorce. 

Sit quietly and decide which of the things that concern you is THE most urgent to address.  Don’t worry about all the other things right now.  This exercise can be used at any time.  Practice first on the most important one, and you can put any others through the same process later. The key is to be very specific as you do this exercise.


Step Three — Refine

What is it about that important issue which causes you to feel stuck, stressed or worried?  Here you’ll start to refine your most important concern.  Write down the specific things about your problem that have you feeling stuck, stressed or worried. 

Let’s take the example of feeling worried about changing jobs — a friend of mine is going through this right now and I was coaching her to define what about her situation had her worried.  She identified these specific things:  losing her benefits, reduction in salary, what if her new job doesn’t pan out and losing the security of being with a larger company.

What are the specific things about the situation you chose to focus on that make you feel stuck, stressed or worried?  Put pen to paper and start writing about them. 


Step Four — Mitigate

What can you do about each thing to lessen the feeling of being stuck, stressed or worried?  Now take each cause of your feeling and think about what you can do to make it feel less stressful or worrisome.

Back to my example of a friend worried about changing her job.  When I asked her what she could do to worry less about losing her benefits, she said that she could schedule all her annual checkups before she leaves so she has a bit of time to research and decide about new insurance. 

When we talked about the reduction of salary, she said that she could expand the number of groups she will coach in the new job to increase her income. 

Then we talked through her concern about the new venture not working out as she hoped — for this, she decided to do both jobs for a while (even though that would stretch her thin) to see how the group coaching is working out before she decides on a date to leave her full-time job. 

The last thing that worried her was the loss of security with a large company — for this she decided that if the other things work out for her, then she’ll be much happier having more control over her time and she’ll be doing something she’s passionate about, which would mitigate this worry completely.

Can you see how this works?  The idea is to get very specific about what concerns you, refine it with more specifics then think about some practical steps you can take that will ease the feeling of being stuck, stressed or worried.  Make sense so far?  Let’s talk about taking those steps now …


Step Five — Take Action

What action plan feels right to you?  The step is very important — without it, you just have a list of things that keep you stuck, you’re stressed about or worried over.  If you don’t take this step, it’s unlikely you’ll never move beyond the things that concern you.  It’s time to take some inspired action.

What small steps can you think of that will help you to lessen your worry?  I’d like you to think about describing these steps in the terms of being S.M.A.R.T.  Describe the actions you want to take this way: 

S = Specific — a very specific step or goal; small steps are better than giant leaps; small steps are easier to course-correct if they take you in the wrong direction; taking many small steps can give greater satisfaction when you check them off your list.

M = Measurable — a step or goal that can be counted, e.g., call 3 people to help you do something.

A = Achievable — a step that is within your reach to accomplish; that you have the skills to do or that you can enlist the help of another to achieve.

R = Realistic — a step that is doable within your realm of possibility; e.g., I want to sing karaoke locally to meet more people versus I want to get a million dollar recording contract to sing to the world.

T = Time-limited — set a completion date for each step so you don’t procrastinate and you can feel the momentum of getting things done to lessen the stuck-ness, stress or worry.

Sticking with the example of my friend:  She wanted to schedule her annual appointments before leaving her full-time job:  She listed each appointment specifically (S), there were 4 of them (M), each of these steps were pretty easy to accomplish (A), they were all within her realm of possibility to do (R) and she decided to have all of them completed by the end of February (T).

Do you see how that works?  It’s a simple way to make sure you’re not setting yourself up to fail and that you can hold yourself accountable to get those things done in the way and timeframe you mapped out.   Which leads me to the final step …


Step Six — Accountability

What will you do to ensure you keep moving forward, so you create some positive momentum for yourself?  Accomplishing small steps toward a larger goal is one of the best ways I know of to feel good.  Confidence comes with action.  When you’re doing something that makes you feel better, that creates a positive energy around you, that lifts your spirits and makes you smile, the feelings of being stuck, stressed or worried start to diminish. 

It helps to have someone who will agree to be your accountability partner.  Many times that can be a friend who understands exactly where you are and what you’re trying to do.  For others that may be a counselor or a coach, when a more objective partner is needed.

Regardless of who it is for you, reach out for the support so you can share your goals and make sure they are SMART for you.  Then, you can share your roadblocks and get help to overcome them.  And most importantly, you can share your accomplishments, celebrate your successes and move forward to create new goals as your journey continues.

These are six simple steps to address being stuck, stressed or worried.  They can be applied at any time in many situations.  A life tool.  Are you ready to give them a try for yourself?

If you’re one of those divorced women who would like some objective support, I’d be happy to have a chat with you.  My complimentary Breakthrough Discovery Session may be just what you need to kick your butt into gear and start to tackle those things that keep you right where you are — when you really want to move beyond them.

From my “unstuck” heart to yours …

 Maria-Signature.png (166×105)

Chief Inspiration Officer | SafeHarbor Coaching |                                                           

Where divorced women create the fulfilling life they deserve

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About The Author

María Tomás-Keegan

María is a certified Life Transitions Coach and Mentor for Women, specializing in Divorce Recovery. She brings her multi-faceted 20+ year corporate experience as a coach, mentor, consultant and marketing manager to bear in her coaching practice. Her specialty is working with professional women who put on a mask every day pretending they're okay, while deep inside they're not. María's programs and coaching techniques help women get back in touch with their true self so they can live their lives by design, rather than by default. María is founder and "Chief Inspiration Officer" at SafeHarbor Coaching, LLC.

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