How to find some clarity when you’re feeling stuck.

stuckLost. Empty. Stuck.

Just a few of the words I’d use to describe how I was feeling just over one year ago having just started my expat life.

Being woken up at the start of the week by my husband’s alarm clock, watching him get ready and go to work, knowing I had a whole 5 days ahead of me of nothingness, was quite frankly a scary place to be.

The feeling of dread would appear soon after I heard the door close behind him. What the hell am I going to do now? I used to lie there fighting with the little voice inside my head that was telling me to pull back the covers and stay in the comfort and safety of my bed.

Some days would be easier than others, Sundays were OK because I told myself it was a day of rest. I would give myself permission to watch TV and have a ‘lazy day’. Thursdays became the new Friday with only one day to go until the weekend. The rest of the week dragged on and was mostly spent searching the internet for jobs that didn’t seem to exist and re-writing my CV to fit any job that sounded remotely normal.

I was like an excited puppy when my husband walked through the door, asking him about his day, who he had seen, what he had eaten, what life outside my holding space was like. I felt like I was in limbo, stuck in space, time whizzing past outside, yet my life moving ever so slowly inside. It was painful.

I knew I couldn’t carry on this way. I had left behind a good job, friends, family. I was wasting away my talents, my joy for life, and it was weighing me down. But I just didn’t know what to do.

I knew what I didn’t want. I knew I couldn’t stay locked inside the house all day like Rapunzel waiting for her hair to grow to be set free. I knew that this was not the life I wanted. I knew something had to change.  But I just didn’t know what to do.

Unsure of what I did want, how I could use my skills in other ways, I felt like I was standing at a crossroads with no map. I was completely lost.sign

A year on however, the scene is a very different.

I found my map. And it allowed me to figure out what I wanted, how I want to live my life, and which direction to set off in.

I could not be happier doing what I do and I know that I am living my life on purpose. I am very much living my life by my own rules and feeling in control.

So, how did I find my direction?

I thought about what advice I would offer if a client or close friend came to me with this problem.

It began with one simple action. I wrote down on a piece of paper what my ideal life looked like. I started off in the future (20 years’ time) and worked my way back, 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, next week.  This simple action allowed me to connect with my heart and listen to what I really wanted. It really was the first step to finding my direction and creating a positive change to my situation.

If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know which way to turn, this exercise is a great starting place for gaining some clarity:

Action:

1) Grab a pen and paper

2) What does your ideal life look like? Write it down in as much detail as possible. What you spend your days doing/how you feel/ who you spend time with.

Get creative- draw pictures/ cut out images from magazines and create a mood board or scrap book if you are a creative/visual person.crayon

3) Now look at your notes. When it comes down to it, what do you really want in your life? What type of activities do you want to be doing? How could you start working towards this today? Pick out what’s most important to you and set yourself a goal…something to work towards and take action.

It’s easy to feel helpless and restricted when you’re living as an expat, when things can feel out of your control (weather/ where you live/ cultural differences) but think about the things you do have choice and control over. I truly believe that everyone has the power to create change in their lives – it’s often just a case of clarifying your vision, being brave and taking the first step.

Over to you…

Have you been in this situation and now feel more clear about what you want?

Are you currently feeling stuck and need some help finding your way?

Leave a comment below and let me know

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love & laughter

Sarah x