A few years ago I was stuck.

I was in an emotional and financial rut and it was beginning to take effect on my physical and mental health.

At the time, I was living back at my house in Chapel Hill, just outside of town, and trying to finish the film I’d been working on for three for four years.

I didn’t know what to do to jump start my motivation, my business or my happiness.

What saved me was a routine — a daily practice — to manage my physical, mental, and emotional health while my financial health struggled. There were many things about my situation I didn’t have control over at that moment, so I focused on the things in which I did have control.

The rest was just a ripple effect.

First, I created a plan for my mental health. I needed stimulation and a consistent routine. I didn’t know what routine to establish so I just tried anything I read about that people I admired were doing.

I started meditating. I read for 30-60 minutes each morning. I started writing Morning Pages, which evolved into a Gratitude Journal, and then back to Morning Pages.

I started a podcast to consistently work my creative muscles. Creating anything helps get unstuck. Creating something every two weeks allows for a routine to establish.

All of this helped me stick to a routine of chipping away at my movie’s edit, instead of being overwhelmed by how much further I had to go.

For my physical health, I had to do the same.

I was strong from doing pull-ups and push-ups while making “Raise Up,” but my back had major issues and my hip mobility was suffering.

I started going to yoga, or doing it at home, stretching in the morning after I read. I started learning things I could do to repair my back from physical therapists. Meditation taught me how to work on my breathing and posture and it also (along with melatonin) helped me sleep better.

But probably the most effective thing for me to get unstuck was getting out of the house — this den of depression that I had created — and seeking connection.

I needed to be a part of a community again.

The first version of that was Syncstudio, a boutique fitness studio that hired me based off of the calisthenics work they’d seen me doing while making “Raise Up.” This gave me the opportunity to make money, which I desperately needed, continue to take yoga and work on my body, and to do what I loved — help people find their health and happiness.

But most of all, it gave me something I didn’t realize I needed so badly.

Everyone was there to either maintain, or regain, their physical health, but the consistency of seeing the same group of people on a regular basis — like-minded individuals — made us all feel like we belonged somewhere. And belonging is the absolute best antidote to being unstuck.

This feeling of being stuck affects so many of us. I know this because I get messages from people daily about it. And now I feel like I can actually help those people find the secret.

Belonging to a community, no matter how big or small, provides us with the life force and energy that fuels all aspects of our health.

We learn that we aren’t alone. We work together to achieve goals and overcome problems. We connect. We collaborate. We contribute.

My communities have evolved over the years.

Syncstudio eventually closed, along with that chapter of my life, but “community” to me has come in many other forms: my community at Lululemon, my work team at Six Second Stories, my soccer team on Wednesday nights, and my Health and Happiness group that meets once a month to discuss all these pillars of health.

All of the pillars of health are affected by one’s social health. It is the “one big domino” that knocks down the rest.

I’m not talking about going out and partying every night — not that kind of social life, though I’m sure it can provide some of these things. I’m talking about finding a group of people who share goals and struggles with you, that you can consistently meet with.

These people will let you know that you are not alone. They will help you work through your stresses. They will offer you advice and alternatives for exercise and nutrition — things that have worked for them. They will introduce you to potential clients or job offers.

They will inspire you and give you ideas you would have never found yourself.

And above all, they will help you get unstuck.

Rain Bennett is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and competitive storyteller with over a decade of experience producing documentary films that focus on health and wellness. His mission is simple: to make the world happier and healthier by sharing stories of change.

You can read the rest of “Right as Rain” here, and check back every Wednesday on Chapelboro for a new column!