The past 18 months or so have been hard for a lot of people. The strange months of 2020 have flowed into a 2021 that still feels just a little off balance. Amid the lockdowns and re-openings, it’s understandable if you’re still feeling a little (or very) lost – even as it may seem that the people around you are finding firmer ground.
Reasons for feeling lost
There are 1001 reasons that we can lose direction in life. To question where we are headed is perfectly normal. With the rise and rise of air-brushed social media images, it is also easy to feel as though everyone else is on a shiny happy path to success and fulfilment. Some common reasons that we lose our way, even our sense of self, include:
‘Too many irons in the fire.’ Constantly feeling too busy with work and daily routines, so that moments spent on self-reflection are few and far between.
‘Just drifting through.’ A sense of just letting the current take us, particularly when it comes to career choices.
‘The big picture is fuzzy.’ Lacking purpose or a deeper connection to why we are here and how we can contribute meaningfully to the world.
‘Socially and emotionally disconnected.’ Feeling as though relationships are only surface-deep, rather than supportive and interdependent.
‘Too much information, too much distraction.’ Cognitive overload caused by a near-constant deluge of information and media.
How to find your way again
Feeling lost, or losing sight of the person you want to be, can feel a lot like depression. If you’re constantly feeling unmotivated or if your daily activities don’t seem to be adding up, piece by piece, to a ‘meaningful life’, the discord can leave you anxious and floundering. If you’re experiencing these conflicted emotions, one of the first places you can go – although it may be confronting – is inwards:
- Acknowledge and accept that you’re feeling lost – and remember that it’s okay to have these feelings.
- Recognise that sometimes circumstances may be out of your control, but you can take some power back by controlling how you react to them.
- Spend active time with yourself to reflect on your values, priorities and dreams. Write things down! Think back to what you wanted to be when you were ‘all grown up’ and rediscover the passions that may have gotten lost in the rush of day-to-day life.
- Take your off-track feelings, examine them, and then turn them on their head. Could this time of being adrift be the start of an adventure? You can always dream big, but it’s also fine to start small – what steps could you take today that will lead you towards a bolder and more focussed tomorrow? (Remember that small steps towards throwing off complacency can still be terrifically empowering.)
- Be kind to yourself – eat well, try to get adequate sleep and take time to engage in activities that make you feel good – whether it’s yoga, cooking, meditation, volunteering, running or curling up with a book.
Reach out for help
Feeling lost is often an opportunity to rediscover who you are and what you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be a mission that is flown solo. Gather a support system of family and friends and don’t be afraid to tell them where you’re at. You may find the ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ adage really is true, particularly when honest dialogue brings unexpected insight.
If you feel you need support beyond your close relationships, talking to an experienced counsellor can be a productive step towards a clearer future. Happy Minds Psychology uses positive psychology coaching to help you create your best life by focussing on developing your innate strengths, increasing your emotional resilience and engaging with your deepest values. Counselling sessions are available face-to-face in our Bellarine Peninsula office or via Telehealth across Australia. Reach out to the team at Happy Minds Psychology on ☎0431 666 050, fill out our contact form on our website to request a callback or email us at [email protected].