4 min read
I am writing this post as much to myself as to any of you. Over the last few weeks I haven’t quite felt myself, I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself and to find joy in my work and studies. I kept finding myself worrying about all the things I had to do and then procrastinating even more rather than getting on with things. Which obviously, in turn, made me even more stressed. So in times like this, what I need is an action plan — some steps that will get me out of this rut, help me to see things in a more positive light and inspire me to sit down and work.
If you can relate to any of this at all — just keep reading!
Focus on what you know to be true.
It is super easy to get caught up in a negative mind-set. To spiral downwards , thinking that you can’t do it, that you’re destined to fail and that it’s not even worth trying. Well, I know for a fact that none of this is true. I know that I am a child of God, that I am created in his image, that I have gifts and attributes that are unique to me and that are needed in this world. I am here for a reason.
When this is not at the forefront of my mind I find it super helpful to read my Bible, listen to Christian music or to listen to a preach or a podcast. (If you don’t have a church or don’t know where to find preaches online, a great place to start is the alpha course.
Know your “WHY”
There are a lot of things in life we don’t have a choice in. But there are also a lot of things that are in our control. I wrote a whole post about choices and the power we have over a lot of life’s circumstances. Ask yourself why you are doing something or why you want to be doing something: Why do want to exercise? Why do you want to study this degree? Why are you working in this job? Why are you pursuing your creative passions? Write it down in your journal or on a piece of paper to stick above your desk or in a visible place to have as a little reminder that motivates you to keep going. Knowing your goal or reason why you do what you do will help you to stay motivated.
Do the dishes
I read an article recently by Thomas Frank about waking up with no motivation where he writes about building productive momentum. He advises doing the dishes (or any other simple manual chore) when feeling unmotivated and prone to procrastination. He argues that if you get into the flow of doing this task your brain goes into work mode and from doing the dishes you might be able to carry over the productive momentum into more challenging tasks. I can definitely relate to that. Doing something manual where I can see instant results, whether it is the dishes, putting on a wash or tidying the living room — achieving little successes and being able to cross off items from my to-do-list — help me to stay motivated.
Talk it out
When I feel unmotivated and stuck in cycle of negative thinking, I find it really helpful to talk to someone. Often it is not even necessary for this person to respond or solve anything –- it is more about processing and sharing what you’re experiencing — it will make you feel less alone. This is something that I often find difficult as I am not naturally an external processor but once I do this, I always feel better. So go grab your best friend, your mom, your partner (or if none of these are available, you can always send me an email) and let it all out.
There is a growing body of research showing that time spent in nature has positive effects on mood and can lower depression, anxiety and stress. Take a walk in the nearest park, plan a hike or cycle along a scenic route to work. My husband and I went for a walk along the beach last weekend and breathing in the fresh sea air and being in the sun made me feel so much better. There is also something about walking in nature that helps me process and think things through.
Change up your routine
I have a tendency to get bored pretty quickly if I keep doing the same things over and over again. So, whether it is exercise, my weekly schedule or my study routine, I always find it helpful to mix things up every now and then. Whether it is hanging up new pictures above my desk, trying out a new class at the gym or venturing to a coffee shop for an hour of work (which is what I am doing at this very moment!) some change can feel like a breath of fresh air and make you feel a bit more excited.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and uninspired when running from one appointment to the next and never having proper time for anything. I find this really hard but it is important to know your priorities and to say no to things that you can’t fit in, or that you know will make you feel stressed. This is definitely a work in progress for me, but I feel I am getting slightly better at it!
What action steps do you take to get out of a rut and to de-stress? Let me know in the comments if you have any extra tips – I always love to hear what you guys have to say.
I hope you all have a lovely week!
brilliant, helpful and right now really timely… thank you
Glad it was helpful! Lots of love
Loved this post a lot, these are some really useful tips that, I can assure you, will come in handy with me. I think ‘go outside’ would be more up my street – I love the fresh air and it really calms me down and puts me in a better place. x
Lots of love,
Marina Rosie x
Fresh air is always good!
I love taking walks when I am stressed out or need a break from the normal. My dog always wants to go outside, so he is the perfect distraction.
This is a great excuse to get a dog…. haha ?
When I am in a rut, whether that be creatively, physically or mentally I find that fresh air and spending time with others, even going on the tube helps me get out of a rut. It helps me keep my content fresh x
Yeah being around other people is vital!
Say no is such good advice. I am very guilty of taking too much on and saying yes to everything, then I end up over whelmed and stuck in a real rut and it’s easy to feel as though there is no way out! Really good advice, thank you. xx
I am exactly the same. Everything just sounds too exciting right? But spreading ourselves too thinly is definitely not the way forward!
These are some good tips. The worst thing ever is to get in a rut. It almost feels like your stuck in a hole. If I get into a rut again, I’ll definitely come back here.
Yes please do! I am always here ?
Thanks for the tips! It’s so important to know your ‘why,’ especially in the world of blogging, which can sometimes have its ups and downs. Remembering your ‘why’ will get you through any rut. Thanks!
Erica | Black Bloggers Network
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Yes so true!
Exactly what I needed right now! At this time I am learning o say “NO” thanks for saying that that is the right thing I can do in some situations.
Glad it was helpful for you girl!
Changing your routine helps so much because you’re going to feel energized and refreshed. These are very awesome suggestions!
It’s tough to feel stuck and tired of doing the same thing over and over. It’s definitely going to keep you from reaching your goals. I think these tips will be very helpful.
I like your “do the dishes” advice and it is so true. As there are always dishes to wash, right? And there are always things to tidy up. And by moving and doing something, you get creative and start doing other things as well.
Haha yes – there are always dishes (especially in our house!)
Very good and interesting post, thank you fro it! It is important to ask why and find out why we are doing certain things and if there’s something that we could change and make life a bit more nicer for us.
Yes reflecting is so vital and just helps us be more aware on how we want to live.
Whenever I’m feeling in a rut (or a funk) .. I put on my shoes and go out for a walk. There’s nothing like sunshine and fresh air .. it makes me feel a million times better. Plus, the alone time on my walks gives me some of the best ideas!
Yes, I love going for a run or walk to get new ideas!
these are helpful for those stuck in a rut… sometimes I feel like this depending on the day! It’s hard starting up a business while being a single mom of two amazing kids! Family used to ask my quite a bit ‘why do I handwash the dishes when the dishwasher’s right there?’ And it’s because of what you mentioned as well as it’s in a way ‘zen-like’ for me as I think about my plan of action.
I LOVE going on walks as well, this helps the same way!
Yes so true! I think washing up can be quite relaxing too haha.
Learning to say no to things has helped me soooo much, whether it’s a free flyer on the street or plans with a friend. As I’ve gotten older I realized I need a little time for myself each day just to decompress, especially now that I’m a therapist. Alone time + mindless TV are all I need to recharge
I’d never really thought of that before but you’re right, when I finish a manual task I do feel pretty motivated because it’s kind of nice to just get something done, even if it’s simple! I never really realised but I guess that feeling does motivate me 🙂
Julia // The Sunday Mode