We all get in our own way sometimes, whether it be suffering from a crisis in confidence, struggling to maintain motivation and momentum (especially regarding the ‘must be done but isn’t very exciting’ work), or feeling distracted by what everyone else seems to be doing, causing us to drift off track.
In an ideal world, we’d snap out of those moments quickly, and consistently feel purposeful. But this is difficult, especially when we encounter a more emotionally-rooted obstacle: maybe we’re feeling afraid of what others think, or we’re fearing failure, or just feel low because we’re hormonal that day.
Whatever the reason, I have definitely had those days (or weeks…) where I have felt like I am in my own way. I’ve know what it is I want to get done, I can see the value in it and I know how to do it, but I just can’t seem to make much progress. Which makes me feel frustrated, adding to problem!
Over the years I’ve tried to learn how to dig my way out of these holes relatively quickly, rather than curling up and waiting for the mood to pass. So here are some of my methods, just in case they can help you too.
Please note: these are temporary fixes to be used on a bad day. They might not solve the underlying problem, and are based solely on my own experiences rather than expert knowledge.
- Acknowledge it.
Not always the easiest thing to do, but take a couple of minutes to sit back and feel whatever it is that’s bothering you. Personally, I have a tendency to push things aside and ignore them so to figure out and acknowledge what is beneath the surface — blocking me from making progress — can really help. Once you can name what is bothering you, you can begin to take back control.
- Journal it.
Everyone has their own preferred methods, but when something is affecting me — whether it is just niggling, or feels overwhelming — I generally like to just write it all down. In a notebook, or in the notes section of my phone… it helps to get it all out. Let the words flow, no one will be reading this after all. Just get it all out: the problem, how you feel, what it is you want to do, what it is you maybe should do. Writing it down can really help you to process what you’re feeling, leaving you with a sense of relief.
- Seek comfort.
Processing things can still leave you feeling a bit bruised, tender and vulnerable. So if you’re struggling, take some time to rest and seek comfort. Maybe it’s just ten minutes, maybe you need to take the rest of the day. By doing this now, you’re refreshing yourself and setting yourself up to succeed tomorrow. You’re playing the long game! So hop into bed for an hour, cuddle the cat, or call someone close to you just to catch up.
- Change something.
Sometimes that reset or jump-start comes from stepping outside of your environment for twenty minutes. That can mean taking a quick walk, doing some exercise, or simply taking a shower to truly refresh yourself. Stepping away from things and moving in some way distracts us, and moves us along. And if someone like me who can’t even walk very well is saying this, then it must be true!! 😉
- Make yourself feel good.
Maybe it’s a girl thing but sometimes, even if I am not leaving the house, I feel better about everything if I feel better about my external appearance. So I’ll make myself presentable — I’ll wear clothes that are comfy, but nice (basically not PJs!). I’ll pop some mascara on, a spritz of perfume, and some really cosy socks. It’s sounds a bit silly, but all of these things are telling myself that I am worth it. I am doing these things for me, and that provides some comfort.
- Play your power songs.
I’ve got to be honest, I love a bit of power music to jump-start me when needed. The tunes can vary depending on my mood or the situation, but my real guilty pleasures include musicals, and (oh god, I am embarrassing myself) the soundtrack to Disney’s Moana! Whatever works for you.
- Settle down.
When you’ve done one or two (or all!) of these things, sit back down with your work. Make sure you have a nice treat or snack to hand… And restart. Even if it’s 5pm, just do one thing. Just ticking one small thing off your list helps you to feel like you’ve accomplished things with your day. Ifpossible, do a task that you enjoy, helping you to feel motivated to tackle something else afterwards. And get your to do list ready for tomorrow, so that you feel ready to hit the ground running, refreshed and ready to try again.
Rinse and repeat as needed… And remember that every day can be a fresh start.