If you’ve ever been sick, stressed, or have just felt stuck, you’re probably feeling worn down and exhausted, unsure about what to do next or how to proceed. Maybe you’re trying lots of different things but none of them seem to be working. Maybe your impulse is to just keep pushing through, but you end up worn down, and what you really want seems even further away. Maybe you aren’t sure what you really want, or why you want it, so you have no idea how to get there.

These simple steps will help you move through difficult times in a sane and sustainable manner.

Start Where You Are: The first step when you’re stuck is to start where you are. This sounds annoying and obvious, right? But too often, when we’re in physical or emotional pain, we panic and we just want to run, trying to put as much distance between us and the pain as possible.

Rather than focusing on what you want to get away from, take note of where you want to head. You can’t set your compass and start your trip if you don’t have a good read on your current location and your desired destination. If you aren’t sure about what you really want, take some time to journal or try to talk it out with a friend. Knowing where you want to go (and why!)—your “positive motivation”—is essential to keeping you on track.

Start Simple & Small: Now that you’ve taken a pause, and you have a direction you want to move towards, you can start to identify one small step that will help you get there. I do mean ONE step! I know that you want to get to where you want to be ASAP, and I want that for you too. Keeping track of one tiny thing, and charting your progress, is going to help you stay encouraged.

Once you get this one thing under control, and it becomes easy for you, you can consider adding one more tiny step. Small steps, repeated again and again, make powerful change. They will be easier to hold onto and you will get better progress than if you change everything all at once and end up exhausted and running around in circles once again.

Having a Helper: Whether you’re struggling with an ongoing health issue, or an emotional state that seems to be stuck, having a helper, a traveling companion, can make it so much easier to get to where you want to be. Finding an acupuncturist who can hear your heart and hold up a light to illuminate your path will help you identify what you really want, so that you can decide which direction to head. It’s also helpful to have someone to remind you week-after-week of how to keep moving toward wherever it is that you want to end up.

When you’re challenged and overwhelmed by ongoing health issues, it’s easy to not even know where to begin. This is why you need someone to help you figure out how you can care for yourself in a way that will get you to where you want to be. 

You will need to put in some work to help yourself heal, but you don’t have to do it alone.