With the impending move back home finally done, I can look back at the past few months during the slow transition and rebuke my feelings of trepidation and loss. They did nothing for me or my motivation, only left me suspended between states of trying to keep things the way they are and trying to move forward and better myself. I became stagnant because I didn't want to let go of what I had and quickly noticed any sense of accomplishment dwindle. For today's post I wanted to discuss this feeling (because I know others must experience it) and unpack a few methods that might help in side-stepping it all together.
Plan Ahead and Have a Schedule
I found that whenever I didn't plan ahead or have a rough schedule of what I wanted to do for the day I would feel simultaneously lost and trapped. Lost because there was no direction to my life and trapped because I didn't know how to get out of the rut without a game plan. Ever since my haphazard university schedule I realized how important it is to think about the next steps, whether that be a few days ahead or for the next 5 years.
Although, I did write a post about how I don't necessarily believe in 5 year plans because your interests and purpose can change rapidly. I still believe that, but I think it's still vital to have a template in your head of how you would like things to look. After working in an office for 3 years, I realized that it wasn't the environment for me and now know that a remote/ part-time office position is more my thing. Having recognized that led me to the path I'm on now which is freelance copywriting and I couldn't be happier.
As I've mentioned many times before, keep a journal and write down everything and anything that comes into your head--what you want to do tomorrow, how you feel about what you're currently doing and so on. It'll seem almost effortless to uncover your desires once you start forming some sort of plan.
I really let my exercise routine slip the past year and it took a toll on me physically and mentally. Coming from a 3 -day-a-week running regimen to basically doing nothing in the colder months had me experiencing a lot of anxiety with no release. Any stress I had would just boil up until I had a good cry in bed or in the shower for no specific reason other than it all needed to come out somehow.
Throughout the many years that I've been experienced higher than average stress (based on the discussions I've had with friends and family) I quickly came the understanding that working out was the key to decompressing my mind and bringing me back to an equilibrium. I've never felt better than after a good run and never had a clearer mindset and direction than after months of steady exercise habits. I'm making the effort to get back into it in March and hopefully release some of the tension built up in the back of my mind.
Healthy (or relatively healthy) eating is another thing I let slip the past few months. I find that once the Canadian winter gets going all I want is comfort food and chocolate. Anyone else? There's not much more I can say about this because it's fairly evident how a bad diet can affect your mood and mental health, so I'll just wrap it up by saying that march is going to be a bit of a "cleanse" month for me, even though I absolutely detest that word. I just really need to give my body a break from excessive sweets and salty food and bring back more fresh fruits and veggies. And more water!
Take Time To Unwind
I am all about curling up in bed and relaxing--almost too much sometimes--but I've found that when you don't make a clear division between your work space and your relaxation space then it can really affect your motivation going forward. Because I work from home now, it's so tempting to work from bed or from the couch, but anytime I do that I notice my productivity go down. Since I moved back home to my parents' house I've been keeping all my work related activities to my desk and any of my leisure activities with my laptop to my bed.
The 'constantly busy' mentality has co-opted our lifestyles, perpetuating the idea that if you're not constantly on-the-go or stressed then you aren't productive. I completely disagree with this and think it's important to distinguish the two. Productivity is different for everyone and if you are your most productive for only 4 hours in a day, then it should be just as acceptable as spending 8 hours behind a cubicle where half the time is wasted on unnecessary tasks. We've been taught that time is money, so the more you spend "working" the more you make, but that isn't always the most productive way to get things done. Don't feel guilty for giving your mind a break by relaxing in the middle of the day--we aren't robots and shouldn't expect to fit our intricate capabilities into a tiny box.
How do you get out of a motivational slump?