Recently I found myself in quite a bit of a funk both personally and professionally. I couldn’t find motivation to do anything except for the things I had to – like eating and taking the dog for a walk.
Outside of that? I spent a lot of time watching videos on YouTube. And not productive ones. Ones that only perpetuated my avoidance of productivity and kept me unmotivated.
But before I get into the actionable steps of how I propelled myself out of this short season, it’s important for anyone going through this to first stop, and accept where you are at.
The more you try to fight it, the more tension you’ll build up and you’ll never truly relax or be productive.
There is a difference between staying disciplined in your actions and fighting against what your body and mind are telling you.
It’s completely normal to go through seasons of high creativity and productivity to seasons of low motivation and all around struggle bussing.
Now, that you’ve accepted where you are currently in life, the next thing to know is that you don’t have to stay there!
So if you’re tired of being in a funk and want to take some steps to kick yourself out of it, here are my top 5 tips to help you make some progress. Keep in mind that depending on your current state, you may need to complete one of more of these steps multiple times to truly start feeling like yourself again.
And that’s okay.
Give yourself grace as you walk through this season and try not to fight where you are at, but walk yourself through it.
1. Do Something Physical
When I don’t quite feel like myself, doing something active is usually my first go to. There is a lot of research on the psychological benefits of physical activity. Although it can be hard to make myself get moving initially, I can say that 100% of the time I’m happy I did.
Options for this could be going for a walk, doing a nearby hike, going to the gym, gardening, playing in recreational sports league, taking a dance/yoga/pilates/spin class, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is or how physical it is, just as long as you’re actively doing something with your body.
One main benefit of this is that it will take you out of your head and force you be present. When your body is working hard to breathe or focusing on scoring or how in the world you’re going to make it up that hill, it’s less worried about the other stressors in life.
Physical activity also releases chemicals into your brain- endorphins, dopamine- which are associated with cognitive function, elevated moods and alertness. Physical activity/exercise also has heaps of other benefits such as reducing anxiety, battling depression, improving your emotional resilience, and increased feelings of energy.
Let’s get physical, physical.
My go to: going for a hike or taking a class at the gym. I find that I need a medium to hard level of activity to feel the psychological benefits.
The Brain Flux- Psychological Benefits of Exercise
Applied Sport Psych – Psychological Benefits of Exercise
2. Do Something Creative
I don’t generally consider myself to be a very creative person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy attempting it from time to time. I also find that having to use another side of my brain challenges me in different ways and kickstarts ideas that weren’t previously there.
If you are an inherently creative person than I would encourage you to find something outside of your normal medium or creative process.
As with physical activity, there has been well documented research of the psychological benefits of how creativity can improve your health and wellness. In short, it can reduce stress & anxiety, increase positive emotions, boost the immune system, improve concentration and focus and increase happiness.
Some options for letting loose your creativity could include: coloring books, bible journaling, creative writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, calligraphy, cooking a new recipe, photography, creating music, crossword puzzles, write poetry, perform improv and the an endless of other creative activities.
Go Forth. Be Creative. Mix it Up. Don’t Overthink It.
My go to: coloring, bible journaling, photography, and most recently attending an improv meetup!
Medical News Article
Huffington Post- How Creativity Improves Mental Health & Wellness
3. Find Your Personal Inspiration
What inspires you?
- Maybe it is listening to motivational speakers or other’s stories of success.
- Maybe it’s reading a good book or watching pump up videos.
- Maybe you prefer to post inspirational quotes around your house or memorize them so you can speak them back to yourself when you’re feeling down.
- Maybe it’s meditating in nature by yourself or being surrounded by other people.
There is no right or wrong way to be inspired. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.
And what works this time may not work the next time. Don’t limit yourself to only being inspired in one way. Another way to think of it is, what fills you up? What restores your soul back to place of peace instead of chaos?
Inspiration is out there- keep your eyes open!
My personal go to: reading inspirational quotes, being surrounded by nature, finding a good butt kicking book- currently I’m reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
4. Attend a Live Event
This one is pretty self-explanatory and it doesn’t matter what it is- sports, concert, ballet, theatre, spelling bee competition, whatever, just commit to getting tickets and going.
Make sure you invite 1-3 other people to go with you.
And it needs to be happening NOW. Not something in the near future, but THIS WEEK! Like within the next 5-7 days. You might wondering, what the point of all of this is.
Let me break it down.
- Being social (i.e. inviting friends)
- Being present (i.e. live event)
- Commiting (i.e. buying tickets)
- Getting out of current routine (i.e. happening now)
Buy the Tickets. Do the Things. Reap the Benefits.
My personal go to: attend a theatre performance or live sporting event like a baseball game, as I’m currently in NZ my live sporting event was Rugby!
The advice to “buy tickets” was given to Brendan Burchard, a NYT best selling author, who made a video about it.
5. Take Care of Yourself
One thing I’ve discovered I love doing is getting my nails done. I haven’t always loved doing this, but now I find that I always feel better when I have had a good manicure and subtle nail polish on.
I’ve also been known to change up my my hair color or cut during a new phase of life. And being tan in the middle of winter can make you feel oh so good. (Thank you spray tan technology!)
In general, I don’t like to spend a lot of time or money on beauty products or regimes, but I can’t deny how good it feels when I decide to do something for myself- just because.
You don’t always have to have a reason like, “I’m sore from the gym so I guess I can justify getting a massage.” Stop. Does getting a massage make you feel good? Does it help relieve your stress? Then book an appointment and go.
Other self-care for fun ideas: take a hot bath with your favorite salts, color your hair, get a new hair cut, guys go get a real barber shave (I hear it’s pretty great), purchase a new nail color and paint your nails, try a mud bath, visit a hot spring, take a nap, get a spray tan, get a massage, try out a new face mask, or any of the other things that make you feel good.
But do it just because. You deserve it!
My personal go to: get nails manicured and polished, change up my hair (color or cut)
Whatever you do and whatever you try make sure it makes sense to you and where you are currently at. Listen to your body and mind and give each of them what they need.
Fighting it won’t get you very far. Accepting where you are at and guiding yourself back to your normal state will feel much better. Focus on the positives, change things up a bit and you’ll kick yourself into better days sooner than later.