What to Do When You Feel Stuck

You might be able to thrash your way out of a spiderweb, but thrashing in quicksand doesn’t work. The harder you fight, the more ground you lose. Struggling merely expedites your inevitable defeat.

Karen Marie Moning (author)

About a week ago, I read an article online about a couple that was rescued from a park in Utah. The girlfriend fell into quicksand and in the process of helping her escape, the boyfriend found himself trapped. The article caught my attention because as an adult that has travelled quite a bit and put myself in some silly stupid situations, I have never encountered quicksand. My knowledge is pretty limited to what I learned from childhood cartoons like Scooby Doo.

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Thankfully, both of the hikers were rescued and after completing the article, I started to wonder what I would do in the same situation. Drawing a blank, I consulted “the Google” for answers.

According to a few sites, if you have the unfortunate luck of coming across quicksand, you should consider the following:

  • Relax. Quicksand usually isn't more than a couple feet deep, but if you do happen to come across a particularly deep spot, you could very well sink quite quickly down to your waist or chest. If you panic you can sink further. But if you relax, your body's buoyancy will cause you to float.

  • Drop Everything. If you step into quicksand and you're wearing a backpack or carrying something heavy, immediately remove it.

  • Move Horizontally. If you feel your feet getting stuck, take a quick couple of steps backward before the quicksand takes hold.

  • Take Your Time. If you're stuck in quicksand, frantic movements will only hurt your cause.

After reading the tips, it struck me that the same advice works in everyday life. Occasionally, I find myself in a rut or frustrated, where I have the feeling of being stuck and not knowing what steps to take next. How quickly I get out of the rut will vary, depending on how well I’m taking care of myself, mentally and physically.

Similar to escaping quicksand, I think it helps to use the same coping skills. Here’s my take on how those survival tips can apply to you and I:

  • Relax. Find something that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s running or painting or some other healthy habit, have something to fall back on to center yourself and regain your sanity. This should be something that’s just yours—something that doesn’t depend on anyone else’s support.

  • Drop Everything. Drop whatever is stressing you out. Dropping does not mean the problem doesn't still exist. When you drop a backpack, it’s still there next to you. It’s just not weighing on your shoulders. Find a way to acknowledge that there’s something that needs to be managed without letting it become emotional baggage that will weigh you down.

  • Move Horizontally. When you’re ready, break your problem/issues down into a manageable solution and take baby steps/actions that move you forward.

  • Take Your Time. Move but with purpose and thoughtfulness. Your sense of urgency will depend on the issue but if you have the luxury of time, allow yourself to move at a pace that helps you maintain your peace.


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