From time to time, each of us will find ourselves in a rut of boredom and disinterest. We seem to lose our zest for life and feel tired, irritable and unmotivated. We want to hide under the covers rather than face the day. Perhaps you're feeling overwhelmed by work, or sad about the pain and suffering in the world, or just bored with the routine of your daily life.
You are not alone. We all go through periods like this at some point. The good news is that we can do something about it. Here are some tips to help break out of the rut and feel excited about life again:
1. Take a "Time Out" - Prolonged stress can wear us down and zap any enthusiasm we once had. Before doing anything else, take a few minutes to breathe and just BE. Empty your mind of all stress and worry. This takes practice, but don't give up! As thoughts come into your mind, gently push them back out and continue to keep your mind empty and calm. Take slow, deep breaths and let all of your muscles relax. Sit quietly and recharge your batteries. Try to do this daily, or even twice daily (morning and night). We need quiet time as much as we need anything else in life. Give yourself the gift of inner peace.
2. Get Inspired - Read your Bible or something motivational, inspirational or uplifting. Look at some beautiful nature photos, or read something humorous. Consciously move your thoughts to a more positive place. Focusing on nothing but work and our daily tasks in life can leave us feeling pretty uninspired. It's easy to turn it around if we want to. We just have to seek out things that will lift our spirits and our moods. Make it a point to laugh, be happy, joyful and lighthearted each day. Don't wait for inspiration to come knocking on your door, go out and find it, or create it. Conjure up some funny or touching memories. Write them in a journal so you can go back and read them when you're feeling down.
3. Get Excited - Think about the things you have planned for the day, and rekindle the enthusiasm you once felt for them. When we first begin a new project, or start a new job, we are excited about the possibilities and eager to get moving! Over time, we can lose that enthusiasm for a variety of reasons. Travel back in time for a moment, and think about what got you so excited at the beginning. What made your heartbeat a little faster? Recapture that feeling and hang onto it! Even if your tasks aren't anything to be really excited about, at least think of some positive benefits to doing them. For example, list the ways they will benefit your children, your spouse, yourself, your job or your home. Identify the payoff, and focus on that. Even mundane tasks have some benefits. Sometimes it's just a matter of switching our mindset to see the positive side.
4. Baby Steps - Sometimes the hardest part is actually getting started. A project seems so monstrous that we cringe at the thought of all that time and energy we'll have to expend. Instead of overwhelming yourself, start small. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just start working on it. Allow yourself to stop after 15 minutes if you really want to. But most often, once we actually start working on something, we won't want to stop. Don't focus on the big picture, look at the smaller details and take them on one at a time. Any large task seems manageable once we break it down into smaller steps.
5. Care of the Body - Sometimes our feelings of fatigue are caused by physical deficiencies, not mental. Be sure you are getting enough rest, eating food that nourishes your body, drinking enough water, getting enough exercise, etc. Especially when we're very busy, we tend to grab the quickest, easiest meals, which aren't always the best choice for our bodies. Eating a lot of highly processed foods and sugar is like putting watered-down gasoline into our cars. In order for our cars to run smoothly, we need to maintain them properly, and so it is with our bodies also. Remember, the body is the vehicle for the mind and soul!
Finally, remember to reward yourself from time to time, and be gentle with yourself! There will always be things that "need" to be done. But some of us take on way more than we can handle, and our lives turn into a pit of drudgery because of it. Try to eliminate the things that truly don't bring you joy, or at least minimize the time you spend on them. Do what you can, and let the rest go. Or ask for help. Don't feel you have to do everything yourself.
Remember that motivation, just like happiness, is something we CHOOSE. We may need to give ourselves a little push at the beginning, but once we get into the right mindset, it's simple to stay there if we choose to.