Do you ever have “soggy brain” days where focusing on a creative project or even regular daily goals just feels extra difficult? Maybe you even had the vision mostly sketched out in your mind and then it feels like the someone came along and erased it! Instead of being distracted by a busy brain, your mind feels extra slow like you’re trying to run fast in neck deep water.
I’m not referring to chronic “foggy brain” that can be caused by health issues. (If you experience frequent brain fog, I strongly recommend seeing a doctor to determine the cause.) I’m referring to the sudden and unexpected mentally blocked state that often occurs in response to working on a challenging project.
Sometimes we simply need to take a few breaths and push through to overcome this state. Other times the more we try to focus, the more difficult it becomes. Unfortunately I’m still learning this lesson and it usually takes me several hours of “faffing around” to realize that I’m stuck and feeling a strong Resistance for some reason, likely from Fear of Failure or some other subconscious belief that is blocking the way forward.
So what do you do when you feel fully stuck and realize you’re spending too much time on social media or wandering down some other rabbit hole? It’s time to switch gears entirely!
Get unstuck physically from your chair and create a sense of flow and freedom in your body. Here are a few suggestions, pick and choose what works best for you or do your own favorite activities.
Get up and stretch or shake out your limbs. Reach to the sky, reach for your toes, reach out to both sides, noticing how much space and freedom you have around you.
Go for a brisk walk outside for 10-20 minutes to get fresh air and increase blood flow. Instead of fixating on the problem that has you feeling stuck, allow yourself to be inspired by random moments.
Do yoga for at least 10 minutes to reconnect to your body and breath. Here’s a short video specifically focusing on yoga poses for mental focus.
Put on some energizing tunes that make you want to move and Dance It Out! (Or don’t dance if you don’t like to. Simply listening to energizing music is helpful to get unstuck)
It’s amazing how much better we can think when properly hydrated. Drink a full glass of water (add some flavor if you prefer - fresh berries, mint leaves, a slice of citrus, an electrolyte packet, a splash of juice.) Herbal teas are also great for hydration and many brands even offer blends specifically for mental clarity and focus.
When the brain fog is due to hunger, eating well is the best approach. It’s all too easy to reach for simple carbs and sugar or comfort foods, but sugar will increase and perpetuate the sense of brain fog. Choose balanced meals and snacks with healthy proteins and fat, fresh fruit, veggies or soup to fuel your brain.
Laugh it Out
Laughter has long been proven to be incredibly healthy and helpful for stress relief (and feeling mentally stuck tends to increase tension and stress). Finding humor can also recharge the creative juices because both are based on elements of surprise. So go ahead, watch a few cat videos, get some life advice from Cookie Monster, or watch clips of your favorite comedian.
Change Your Topic or Approach
Are you stuck on how to write that specific blog, chapter or cover letter? Change your topic entirely. You’ll come back to the one you’re stuck on another day. Find something new and inspiring to create (hence, this post!) It’s OK to scrap the specific plan and still get to the same goal. It’s like using Waze or Google Maps to find another path to your destination when there’s a major traffic jam on the usual route.
Still feeling stuck after getting some movement and a change of scene? You may just need rest and self-care. Practice self-compassion, and come back to the project tomorrow. Take a salt bath, meet up with a good friend, or get some bodywork to help you re-center and let go of what may be blocking your current creative path. (Energy healing is a great modality for moving past blocks.)
You can also tap into your intuition by sitting with the feeling and asking your body for information about why you feel stuck. Often times, just acknowledging the feeling and giving it space to express itself is all it takes to get unstuck! I know - easier said than done! Just keep moving and leaning in and you will get through the sticky part.