5 Solutions to Overcoming Self-Doubt & Creativity Stagnation

Doubting yourself is a bus stop in every hero’s journey. The agony of not knowing where to turn next or not trusting yourself enough to move forward feels debilitating and causes tons of stress. The longer you wallow in doubt, the more fear and insecurity can creep in, which are the last emotions you’ll want to invite to your self-made pity party (no shame here, I’ve been there plenty of times!).

So, what is the solution to getting out of the dark hole of doubt? There are a few…

  1. Rest, recover, regroup

    Although your brain may want to create, produce and go, go, go 24/7, it’s not natural. Maybe you just wrapped a project or accomplished a big goal. Did you take time out to celebrate and acknowledge your accomplishment?

    Our brains are creative cycles like the seasons, and although they may not sync with the actual season you experience when you go outside, it’s important to acknowledge that not every day is going to feel like summer, with ideas and creativity in full blossom.

    It’s your job to listen to your body. If you need a day off for your mental health, go take one! If you take a day off, enjoy it the way you need to. If that means sitting on the couch binge watching the entirety of Game of Thrones, more power to you. It’s time to stop feeling guilty for recognizing your needs. Rest is a very important need, not only for your health, but for your creative mind. If you’re feeling stuck or doubting yourself, maybe you need a day off.

  2. Jump off the cliff already

    Doing something new is scary. If you haven’t done something 100x, it’s still new and can cause fear, making you less likely to proceed and wind up stuck in place, doubting yourself. Unfortunately, the longer you avoid, the harder it is to find the motivation to start.

    The first thing to do in this scenario is figure out what excited you about the idea, project or pursuit you’re now shying away from. You were motivated enough to start at one point, why back out now? Sometimes we’re motivated by other people who share their wild success story and you look at them thinking, if that worked for them it will work for me. I’ve personally been a victim to that mentality (several times!). You’ll find out sooner or later, what works for other people may not work for you.

    You MUST find your own passion and drive for your creations, otherwise they’ll fall flat and you’ll look around wondering why you struggle so hard to stay motivated.

    Trust me, when you’re doing and creating for you, you’ll start doing crazy things, like actually feel excited about all the elements of your work and wake up early (or stay up late) to keep in the flow of your creativity or skip out on social plans to wrap up your train of thought.

    The first step is to find your motivation for your cause. If you don’t have one, the cause isn’t worth your time or energy. Trust that something great is just around the corner and instead of wasting time, waiting for things to come to you, find something fun and playful to occupy your time. No sense in wasting a good day over one creative-less day.

  3. Talk it out

    Managing stress on your own isn’t a productive strategy. Essentially, you’re trying to come up with solutions using the same brain cells that are convincing you that you’re not good enough, or your idea sucks, or whatever is keeping you stuck. Voicing your struggles or fears with someone who cares about you can help you process your situation differently, causing you to hear yourself out loud.

    There’s something about allowing yourself to become vulnerable enough to share your troubles and hearing yourself speak your troubles that makes your brain go into solution-mode. Positive encouragement from a friend or loved one makes the solution feel like it’s within reach. Before you know it, you’ll be off to the races, back on your game.

  4. Try a new, mystical hobby

    Sometimes, getting out of your old habits and starting new hobbies gets your brain moving in new, creative ways.

    Recently, I found myself completely and utterly stuck, not knowing how to move forward. After pursuing Amazon (a go-to distraction), I decided to purchase a new tarot deck and a book about how to read tarot. I’ve been using oracle cards for years and years but have never understood, or really be interested in tarot until recently. After the book and cards arrived, I spent a little bit of time every day reading the guide book and learning my deck.

    After just a day, I felt rejuvenated! It may sound too good to be true, but honestly, working with tarot helped me get in touch with another side of my intuition, while also helping guide me in the areas I felt particularly stuck in. Developing a new hobby that helped me get in deeper touch with myself made all the difference.

    If you’re not interested in tarot, try guided meditation, learning how to work with crystals or Reiki. Traditional hobbies work too, knitting, making playlists, sports, regular nature walks, whatever activity that gets you out of your head and thinking in new, creative ways is a great bet for eliminating any stagnation you’re feeling.

  5. Use your intuition

    Generally, using your intuition can help you connect to the core of your doubt. Try sitting in a meditation, accessing your doubt and following it until you reach the root, or the origin. Ask your higher self how to proceed.

    Be gentle with yourself. Trust you’re exactly where you need to be, even if it’s excruciatingly uncomfortable in the moment. It won’t last forever and you will pull yourself out of it.