Feeling Stuck…and Ten Ways to Break Free

Feeling stuck.

Been there? Currently there?

I’ve been feeling stuck since January, longer really, but some circumstances since January have me feeling trapped. These are big decisions that don’t have right or wrong answers.

I know that I shouldn’t allow my husband’s job to dictate my life. But how can it not? Our world revolves around the needs of the Army and overall, I’m at peace with that. But what I’m not at peace with lately are the unknowns.

Should he pursue a job change which would require a major lifestyle change and move?

Should he stay in the state and ride out his career with no possibilities of promotion in the next 4.5 years?

If we move, is it selfish?

If we don’t move, is it selfish?

Should I apply for a job that popped up? Should I continue with my small business?

What if he gets a new job and we have to move? What will it mean for my work? How will this impact our son? What about our house?

What about our family, friends, neighbors, church?

And the lists go on.

Because I’m in the thick of this issue, I suspect you might also have feelings of being stuck at times in your life, too.

Stuck in a location that was at the bottom of your “PCS wish list.”

Stuck in a job where you’re overqualified and underpaid, because your resume has too many moves.

Stuck at home so your children have stability.

Stuck in a career.

Stuck wanting more.

Stuck watching the calendar tick by too slowly.


I don’t have answers or control over most of these things, but I can share some things that help remind me that it isn’t going to last forever.

These things aren’t going to answer your questions or change the way the Army operates, but they will help refresh your soul.

Your soul deserves to be filled. When your soul is full, you can charge ahead renewed and refreshed, breaking free to take the next steps wherever the Army puts you.

  • Pray or meditate. Find a quiet, comfortable space, turn off your phone, and pray or meditate.
  • Find gratitude. Make a list of things that you’re thankful for and add to it daily (these are great things to meditate on, too!).
  • Connect with someone. Invite a friend out for coffee or a meal or invite another family over for dinner. Connecting with others is a valuable tool for building up yourself while encouraging another.
  • Serve others. Volunteer, rake your neighbor’s leaves, or leave some cash to cover the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru line. There are endless ways to make a positive impact.
  • Read. For me, reading is a way to transport me to another place and time. It offers freedom when I’m feeling trapped; an escape when I can’t get away. Not sure where to start with choosing a book? Ask a librarian! They’ve helped me find fantastic books, countless times.
  • Play. Do something fun. I tend to lean toward the serious, and playing a game with my son helps me stop thinking about the things that I cannot change.
  • Get outside. Take a walk, hop on your bike, find a hike, listen to the birds, watch the leaves move in the breeze, or sit by a lake, river or ocean. Nature has a way of reminding us that seasons change and things continue to grow, because that’s the way of life.
  • Write a letter. Send a hand-written note to a friend or family member. Writing can be cathartic and sending a message can help another person feel valued and important.
  • Get out. Get out of your house, plan a girls night, join a book club or card group (or start one!), go on a date and place any issues at off limits for discussion, go to a fitness class, take your dog for a walk, go to the library, go to a new coffee shop/cafe/restaurant/store/museum/park…anywhere that is new and different.
  • Get external help. Maybe this is more than just being stuck and you need a hand. Military OneSource and the Military Family Life Consultants at your installation offer non-medical counseling, family counseling, special needs assistance, career and education guidance, and more—and it’s confidential.

Have added ideas? I’d love to hear how you get un-stuck. And if you have a suggestion on how to make life-altering decisions, please share! We’re still debating what to do!


About Jolene McNutt

Jolene McNutt is a writer, editor, and graphic designer. She co-owns a business with her retired teacher dad creating hands-on resources for elementary and middle school teachers. Jolene has been married to her extroverted husband, Phil, for nine years. Phil is serving as part of the Active Duty Guard Reserve (AGR) in the Wisconsin Army National Guard - possibly the best kept secret in the Army! They have a six-year-old son, Finn, and a 90-pound lap dog, Odin. Jolene enjoys traveling, reading, and making allergy friendly recipes for Finn. Despite her introverted nature, Jolene loves hosting friends and family. Find her on Instagram @jolenemichelle1.

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