When life throws an unexpected curve ball your way, it can lead you to feeling lost. When everything you once knew is shaken to the core, it’s natural not to know how to move forwards.
I’m speaking from experience, because I’ve been there. When my marriage fell apart, I lost my sense of self. I had been one half of a partnership for so long (the best part of a decade) that I’d forgotten who I was outside of it. The future that I thought I had was taken from me, and I had no idea how to move forwards.
More recently, my role at work was made redundant. (you can read all about it in the post I wrote here) Again, my preconceived ideas of what my work life would look like over the next few years was stripped away, and I wasn’t sure what the best way of moving forwards would be.
So, what do you do when you feel lost and confused in life? The 5 tips that I’m about to share with you below are based on what’s worked for me, and are a formula that you can return to again and again if you need to. After all, life does have a habit of keeping us on our toes.
I want to preface this by saying that I’m not a Doctor, so if these tips feel like too much, or you sense that there is something much deeper behind you feeling lost, please go and see a professional to work through it.
1. Focus On The Things That Bring You Joy
When you’re feeling lost, it makes sense to return back to things that make you feel good. This is more than just self-care; it’s consciously seeking out opportunities in your day that bring even the smallest smile to your face.
This is a concept I first read about in the book, Light Is The New Black by Rebecca Campbell. This book is quite spiritually lead, but essentially focused on doing the things that ‘light you up’. (or bring you joy) For me, when my marriage was falling apart, the things that brought me joy were filling my bedroom with flowers, fairy lights and photos of the people I loved, and going to dance class to really let loose.
The things that bring you joy don’t have to just be activities. Like in my example, they can be things which bring you joy in your own home or space, and make it feel more like ‘you’. If you’re feeling so lost that you’re not even sure what might bring you joy any more, use Pinterest or Instagram as inspiration and try a few things until you find what the magic combination is that lights you up.
2. Use Your Support Network
When things were starting to get rocky within my marriage I’m the first to hold my hand up and say that I buried my head in the sand with it all; which just made me feel even more lost.
If I didn’t acknowledge that things weren’t very good, or that I wasn’t happy, then I wouldn’t have to admit that it was actually happening. I kept my group of best friends in the dark for so long, that when I did eventually speak to them about it, they were surprised that I hadn’t said anything sooner.
When you’re feeling lost, it’s the time when you definitely need to be leaning on your friends and family most. They love you, so will be more than happy to be a shoulder to cry on. Ask them questions, listen to their advice, and make sure you schedule in time to spend with them either in person or virtually as much as you can.
They’re likely to be the people that know you best, and the more time you spend talking about how you feel with them, the more you’ll start feeling yourself again. They are you’re biggest cheerleaders after all!
3. Trust What Your Body Is Telling You
My body has the habit of forcing me to submit when it’s trying to tell me something. When I was super stressed during my divorce process, it forced me to step away from things and rest by giving me a nasty viral infection that left me exhausted for weeks.
Even now, I know that something isn’t right when my period is off. Basically I bleed when something big in my life is off-kilter. Getting this in tune with my body has taken years of practice though.
After you’ve started focusing on the things that bring you joy, you’ll start to know better what feels good and what doesn’t, rather than every day feeling like you’re stuck in a fog.
I’ve said it before over on my Instagram, but don’t be afraid to feel all the feels. If you’re noticing that you’re not feeling good; having a bad day or week, lean into it rather than fighting it.
By embracing your feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger or grief, and doing the self-care activities that make you feel better, you pave the way to eventually let them go and start moving forwards. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a good cry. You’ll feel better for you – I know I do.
4. Make Self Care A Priority
To say that you’re emotionally drained when you’re feeling lost would be an understatement. Believe me, I’ve been there. Bearing that in mind, it’s so important to focus on the activities that benefit your mental, physical and emotional well-being as much as possible.
Don’t confuse this with my earlier point of doing things that bring you joy; yes there will be overlap, but for you to really feel like you’re getting some clarity, I would recommend that you do both.
Carve out at least 30 minutes a day just for you. If you have a busy work and family life this can feel like a lot to find time for. However, you could break it down into 3 sets of 10 minutes throughout the day, which is automatically more manageable. Plus, you deserve it.
Savour your morning coffee, dance like a loon to your favourite tunes, go for a walk, read, journal, meditate (you can read my beginner’s guide here), have a bath; basically any activity that will replenish your energy.
I add self care into both my morning and evening routines and feel so much better for it. If you need some inspiration for how to build a morning routine with self care that serves you, I have a blog post to help you out that you can read here.
5. And Finally….Set Goals For How You Want To Move Forwards
The likelihood is, that after after a few weeks or months of consistently doing the 4 things that I’ve already mentioned, that you’ll be starting to feel a little more like yourself.
I want to stress that I wouldn’t advise that you move on to this final stage until you’re feeling stronger and ready to take some steps forward out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, you may well end up feeling overwhelmed.
To be able to set goals for how you want to move forward out of feeling lost means asking yourself some important questions. How do you want your work life and/or relationships to change moving forwards? And, what would having your mental well-being in a good place look like to you?
When asking yourself these questions, be completely honest with yourself. This is your life, and it’s down to you what you want out of it, not any one else’s, or society’s expectations. You deserve to be happy, and that starts with being true to yourself.
After you’ve answered these big questions for yourself, write a big goal (or two) down that will get you there. Even if it feels scary or unrealistic, and a long way from where you are now, go with it. Once it’s written down you can start to figure out the small steps to get you there. Start with small actions that will be easy for you to do consistently on a daily basis and keep on going.
When I was lost and coming out of my failed marriage, my big goal was to develop a relationship that was a true partnership, and to find someone who would love me for all I was, rather than just some of the parts. I realised that in order to expect this from another person, I would need to do some serious work on myself. I committed to getting to a place where self-love came easily, and day to day this looked like listening to uplifting and/or inspiring podcasts or reading self-development books and taking action on what I learnt.
Have you tried any of these tips before when you’ve felt lost? Let’s chat in the comments.
Featured image from Unsplash
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