As a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, I see many clients who report feeling completely stuck in their health goals. Oftentimes there is a huge desire to achieve a certain goal, and then comes the long, drawn-out process of getting there. Along the journey, it is common to hit stumbling blocks, or perhaps even worse: the dreaded plateau when things stop improving at the rate they once were. This can feel discouraging, but there is hope! Regardless of what health journey you are on, we can all benefit from these simple reminders and techniques to help us through the very normal and natural plateaus, hills, and valleys that come during the healing journey.
1. Avoid Comparisons
One of the first ways we can derail ourselves from our own healing is by looking around us and comparing ourselves to people we perceive as doing better than we are. There are a few flaws in this approach: we never really know what someone is dealing with, and their lifestyle could be different from yours. The journey you are on is yours, and you get to set the rules and define the path forward yourself. Don’t let other people, on their own unique journeys, sidetrack you.
2. Start Over with Small Steps
If you’ve made improvement, no matter how big or small, you should genuinely be proud. If you’re finding yourself stuck now, take a moment to slow down and ask yourself what you are in control of at the moment. From there, make simple, doable, goals for yourself. These mini-victories train the brain to feel rewarded, which encourages a better outlook and mood. Easily accomplished. Easily rewarded. From there, you can build back momentum.
3. Have Compassion For Yourself
Healing journeys are messy. There will be ups, downs, and all arounds. Also, people, in general, have a tendency to look for the flaws in something, usually so we can make sure we don’t make mistakes. That said, this can take the form of internalized cruelty. A good way to judge your internal dialogue is to consider if your best friend was being told the things you tell yourself, would you defend them? Would you take their side and comfort them? If the answer is yes, then do a check-in on self-talk, and have the same compassion for yourself, as you have for your bestie!
4. Remember Healing is Like Nature: It Takes Time
Journeys are called journeys for a reason: they take time. They also take you to new places you might never have thought you could go. The key is to try to love the journey, and not the destination. When making new routines for ourselves, and coming out of feeling stalled out, it’s important to remember that it is the wisdom of the body that knows not to rush things. The next time you’re feeling impatient, consider taking a mindful walk and look at the plants around you. They are constantly growing towards the sun, but it didn’t happen instantly!
5. Do A Diet Diary: Food is the Real Medicine
One really great way to rejuvenate yourself when you’re feeling in a rut is to do a diet diary. Jot down whatever it is you're eating, at what time, and how you were feeling emotionally before and 15 minutes after eating it. Then close your diary and don’t look at what you wrote. Do this for one to two weeks. The results can be extremely elucidating and can point to different places where you might have room for improvement. Food can be pivotal in the successes and/or the struggles of our own path towards wellness, and it plays a major role in our mood. In fact, the gut/brain connection, probiotics, and our health are all intimately intertwined and can be part of the root of moving forward from a place of stuckness.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of recognizing your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, without permitting any one of them to override your sense of calm. It’s a lifelong skill that takes daily, regular, practice in order to master and implement when we aren’t feeling our best, but can drastically change your outlook, which in turn, can drastically change your outcome. Things like yoga do a great job of both physically embodying mindfulness practices as well as reinforcing the benefits of meditation and breathwork. It can completely turn around that feeling of being stuck or unable to move forward in your healing journey, the trick is to do it routinely.
7. Switch up your supplements
Supplements can play a pivotal role in many aspects of a healing journey. From making sure we get enough vitamins and minerals to using herbal products that assist in optimizing our wellness plans, supplements can be an important tool to jump-starting, maintaining, or maximizing the goals we set for ourselves. Incorporating herbal products can be a tool to help reignite our energy and drive towards progress naturally. If you’re curious about some new supplements to consider, check out our other blog: 5 Supplements for jump-starting wellness
8. Prioritize Rest
Last, but by far not least, is prioritizing rest. The body heals when you relax. The body heals when you laugh. The body heals when you get deep sleep. During healing slumps, we can feel the desire to push harder and be stricter with ourselves. This is rarely a recipe for long-term success and sets us up for feelings of exhaustion and failure if we don’t meet our demands. Rest and relaxation more often turns out to be the key to getting ourselves back on track!
These are just some simple things you can do if you’re feeling stuck or in a rut emotionally or physically. Another core truth is that we are all going through a healing journey of some kind or another, and it is normal to feel stuck once in a while. That said, there are so many rich and exciting things to learn and grow about yourself, and you will be amazed as you complete your journey with how different you are. Just in time to start the next one! 😊