Have you ever had one of those days where there’s a million and one things on your “to-do” list but you have absolutely ZERO motivation to accomplish any of them? Yeah, same. Heck, I’ve even had those days turn into weeks… even months! Sometimes life is just tough and it seems like there’s no hope for getting out of the rut you’re in.
Because I’m normally a pretty hardworking and motivated person, being stuck in a rut feels extremely distressing to me. I want to be getting stuff done, but I have no motivation to. If you’re a passionate person, you know how frustrating that feels! Fortunately, there are ways to get out of even the darkest, most debilitating ruts. Sometimes it takes seeing a professional who can help (there’s NO shame in that!), but there are often things we can do to rescue ourselves and hit the “reset” button in our lives. Here are 7 ways I’ve found beneficial for digging myself out of even the deepest of ruts!
1. Go for a walk.
Going for a walk is my “go to” method for getting my day back on track. It’s one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing, get some much-needed Vitamin D (which will boost your happiness levels), and put you in a better mindset. In fact, Henry David Thoreau usually walked up to 20 miles before putting pen to paper. There’s something about getting your body moving and taking in all the beauty around you that’ll inspire and motivate you to start working (or get back to work!)
To motivate myself to take more walks and get up and move more, I recently ordered this knock-off Fitbit (only $30). I keep track of my steps in my bullet journal and try to get to 10k steps per day! If you work from home (or are a stay-at-home mom), this is a great way to motivate yourself to get up and move throughout the day!
2. Journal about it.
Before turning to my husband to vent, I try to get it all out on paper. This usually gets me to a place emotionally where I don’t feel the need to vent to anyone else. There are times when I still feel the need to vent to someone, but most of the time journaling does the trick! There are a million and one benefits of journaling. Some of them happen to be stress relief, unclouding your mind, and helping you think clearly about the situation you’re in.
I’ve realized that when I’m unmotivated or stuck in a “funk”, most of the time it’s because I’m stressing about things that are taking up too much space in my mind- making it impossible for me to get anything else done. When I sit down and process all of my thoughts and feelings, I’m able to see the situation more objectively and figure out what I need to do to fix the situation (or move on from it- if it’s out of my control).
3. Vent to someone.
If you’re still in a funk after journaling- or just think you need an outside perspective to help you see things clearly- venting is a great option. I used to be quite the venter when I was younger (but weren’t we all!?). Since I realized just how annoying I probably (most definitely) was, I started to avoid venting at all costs. Now I have to remind myself that it’s okay to vent sometimes! If you’re like me and don’t want to burden anyone else, just remember that it’s okay to ask for support from time to time. In fact, it’s crucial for your wellbeing!
The act of explaining your frustrations to someone who’s willing to listen will do wonders for you! If you don’t have someone to vent to, write out your problems in your journal as if you’re speaking to someone. You can also try praying (if you believe in God) and/or meditating. And always remember that if you’re in a funk that you can’t seem to get out of no matter how hard you try, you may even need to see a professional who can help you out. There’s no shame in that!
4. Give yourself a day off.
Since I’m a perfectionist (aka: sometimes a workaholic), it’s hard for me to take a day off. It can be difficult to put the long list of “to-do’s” aside and give myself a day to do absolutely nothing productive. But often that’s exactly what our bodies and minds need. I was having an awful day yesterday and my husband literally stopped me mid-vent and said, “You really need to take a day off to do absolutely nothing productive.” Oh, bless his soul!
I wouldn’t have ever offered myself that kind of consideration on my own. But I should! I really should start doing it more often. Remember that your long list of “to-do’s” will be there when you get back and all heck isn’t going to break loose if you take a day off. Your mind, soul, and body are more important than all of the tasks you need to get done- yes even the vacuuming, dishes, appointments, class, and work projects. You can’t effectively do all of the things you need to do if you’re not taking care of yourself!
5. Realign with yourself.
Believe it or not, often times we’re not feeling motivated because we don’t know why we’re doing what we’re doing. I’ve always loved blogging, but for awhile it was hard to motivate myself to get started on it each day. I realized a few weeks into my “funk” that the reason was that I didn’t have a clear vision for my blog. It was hard to motivate myself to do something when I didn’t even know the reason why I was doing it! If you take some time to figure out your vision and goals, I promise you’ll feel a lot more motivated in life. Here are a few resources that have helped me align with my purpose.
- How to Create More Structure in Your Life
- Why You Need to Figure Out Your Top Priorities in Life
- this entire Dream Life Series on Youtube (with printouts and clear guides to figuring out your dream life)
- this book
6. Read a good book or listen to a motivational podcast.
Reading certain books and listening to my favorite motivational podcasts are two of my favorite ways to get out of a funk. When your mind is clouded with negativity, the act of feeding your brain something positive is an extremely effective way to rewire your way of thinking. In fact, I love these methods so much that I try to start off each day by listening to a podcast while I get ready. A good podcast has the ability to inspire me to actually want to work instead of dreading it- often to the point that I can’t wait to finish my breakfast or finish getting ready and start working.
If I’m feeling unmotivated halfway through my workday I’ll often close all my computer tabs and hop in the bath with a good book (yes, sometimes even if I’ve already showered for the day). This is another little way to trick my brain into thinking the days just getting started and it’s time to get to work (again) after my bath. Reading has also been proven to help you write better, so if you’re a writer it’s important to read when you can!
7. Just start.
If I’m still not feeling motivated after trying a few of the ideas above, I just have to START. There are times when we simply won’t feel motivated or inspired no matter what we do, and that’s okay. It can be pretty limiting to think you have to be in the right mindset in order to start. Yes, it may help to feel “in the mood” to do something, but the truth is that probably more than half of the time we just aren’t going to feel that way (no matter how much we try to force it). There are times when you’re going to have to start even though starting is the last thing you feel like doing.
Once you start, this miraculous thing happens where you actually do start feeling “in the mood” to do whatever you’re doing. I’m sure it’s happened to you plenty of times, but we tend to forget that that’s the way things work! If you can’t even imagine doing one of the bigger things on your “to-do” list, start with something simple. Once you start getting things done, even if they’re as simple as picking dirty laundry off the ground, you’ll become more motivated to get the bigger things done.