For the last three months, I've been in an absolute funk. No motivation. Complete listlessness. Having to absolutely KICK myself to get anything done... Mr. Imposter Sydrome was as strong as ever. I spent way more money than usual, feeling like shopping was the only time I was truly happy. That short rush of something new, those fleeting moments of excitement... I kept feeling like I couldn't sort my thoughts. I was like a candle in the wind, going through the motions, doing what needed to be done without any joy. I was not in a very good place, and it took me months to realize it and take action.
First, I blamed Auntie Flo and her friend and helper PMS. Because that's usually the culprit, right? But PMS came and went, and I was still not better. I had to admit that I was in a Funk and needed a way out.
This happens a lot, and I feel like we're so quick to ignore it, passing it of as "I'm just stressed." And because stress is no biggie in our society (it's glorified, even) nobody really takes the time to look twice.
I'm a firm believer that we go through phases in life... Sometimes we're riding an amazing wave of inspiration and joy and sometimes, we wash up on the shore, not knowing how to get back up.
If you currently find yourself in a place where you're not motivated, you're not enjoying things you used to enjoy, and you're not getting anything done because of it... This one's for you.
Here are a few things that have helped me get back up and out of this funk!
1. Take a few days off
I know what you're thinking: Yea, that ain't gonna happen. You might either be an entrepreneur who doesn't get paid when you're not working, or you work a corporate job and only have a limited amount of paid vacation. Either way, taking a few days, or even a week, off seems impossible to most of us.
But there are things that are much more important than money. And one of those things is your mental health.
If you take a few days off with no plans, no work, no noise, (no social media!) and give yourself the opportunity to focus on YOU and only you, you might be surprised about what comes to fruition.
2. Take off the pressure
Here I was, a week of no plans and just me myself and I ahead of me... Two days in, I grew impatient, being upset that I was still not "better". I had put so much pressure on myself to "figure out what's wrong with me", I was truly frustrated when I was still feeling down and low after those first two days. I kept thinking - only four more days and I have to get back to work... If I'm still not better by then, I have just wasted a week doing nothing and missing out on money.
Putting pressure on progress rarely helps. I told myself that if I came out of this week with a few more good books read, a few hours of good sleep, and a bit more relaxed, that was going to be good enough.
I told myself that this time off had been long overdue and that I deserved it. And then I started to enjoy it instead of trying to 'fix it' right away.
As soon as I did that, something clicked. Inspiration flooded back because I accepted that it was OKAY to sit there for eight hours and do nothing but read a new crime novel. Because I had finally given myself permission to rest, slow down, and had taken the pressure to 'figure out what's going on' off, my mind was like... Okay, NOW we can work together.
3. Dig Deep... what is REALLY bothering you?
The feelings of not being motivated, feeling uninspired, and listless are connected to stress. But It's crucial to figure out what actually causes that stress, to dig deeper.
Is it really work that's stressing you out? If so, what exactly about work is it? Is it maybe a relationship in your life that's become one-sided, stale, or even toxic? Have you stopped taking time for self-care because you feel like you can't afford to spare an hour a day? Do you feel something is lacking in your life? If so, what exactly is it?
Dig deep and be very specific. The more specific you get, the better can you tackle the problem. Do a brain dump in a journal, go on a walk and really think about it, sit down and meditate and really drill into those feelings of stress, listlessness, and unhappiness.
4. Fix it
Sounds so easy, right? It's not. But it doesn't have to be impossible, either. If you've taken the time to figure out what's really bothering you, it makes it easier to change that situation. Fix that relationship - or leave it when you have exhausted all options. Change careers if your job doesn't fulfill you. Get back to church if you've realized you're missing community. Talk to that co-worker that is making your day at work miserable. Start taking time for yourself again and making others respect your boundaries. Talk to a professional if you feel overwhelmed and feel as though you can't do it alone.
Some unpopular advice: Your happiness is your responsibility—nobody else's. And it's in your hands.
5. Change Your Habits
Habits are a hard thing to develop and are just as hard to break. But I bet you anything that you KNOW there are some bad habits lingering in your life, things that aren't serving you anymore. They are probably adding to the negative feelings you've been experiencing. It's time to give up those bad habits and start developing new ones that are serving you and your mental health.
Remember, a habit takes between one and two months to stick. It's not an easy journey, but it's worth it!
Some 'quick fix' steps you can take right now:
Take a social media break - Social Media can be a HUGE contributor to feeling unhappy with your life, comparing yourself to all these people who seemingly have their shit together and live the perfect life. It's not real. Not a lot of influencers decide to share that they're having a rough few weeks, that their marriage is falling apart, that they're unmotivated or unwell. So it's easy to feel alone in this, thinking everyone else is just always 'okay' and their life is so amazing. Social Media can inspire but it can also tear you down with its fakeness. Take a break and focus on YOUR awesome life and how to get where you want to be.
Bedtime reminder - I don't know about all the Android users, but on the iPhone, you have the option to start a sleep schedule. It allows you to give yourself a time period (ex. 45 minutes) before bed where your phone goes into sleep mode (do not disturb), so no messages and other distractions will pop up.
Ask yourself first thing each day: What will serve me today? - Will you journal before starting your day? Do some Yoga? Go for a walk? Exercise? Meditate? Your morning routine doesn't always have to look the same. Change it up and do what feels right that day.
Plan something exciting - I always love something to look forward to, it immediately makes me feel better. Plan something little you can be excited about today.
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