Last week, I published part one of a two-part series highlighting ten ways I get unstuck. I had part two ready to go and meant to publish it earlier this week, but I was involved in a serious bike accident and have been preoccupied with my condition. However, with what I am going through right now, these pieces of advice ring even more true and I have been reminding myself of them over these past few days. Especially #6.
On that note, I will be fine and should make a full recovery. I might not be writing as consistently over the next few weeks, given that both of my arms are in casts.
#6: Don’t sweat the small stuff
I’ve noticed that irrespective of what mode of transport I’m using, there is always someone doing something that can easily piss me right off if I let it.
There are always going to be aggressive, rude drivers. There are always going to be aggressive, rude cyclists. There are even aggressive, rude runners who overtake bike lanes and willingly impose themselves on others! And there will be aggressive, rude people shoving through you to get onto a crowded train. Throughout the day, any trivial interaction can set you off.
There are always going to be assholes. What matters is how much energy you are willing to dedicate to them.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell, to the extent possible. Maybe allow a few minutes to let it out. There are healthy ways of releasing frustration and moving on with life. Here are a few ways that help me:
- Take a few seconds, inhale deeply a few times, and concentrate on your breath
- Put your head down and close your eyes
- Pretend everyone is being rude because they are jealous of how awesome you are
#7: Seek inspiration through go-to sources
When feeling particularly stuck, I find that consistently turning to tried-and-true sources of inspiration works wonders for turning around my mindset.
Here are a few sources of inspiration I turn to when stuck in a rut:
- TED talks: There are thousands and thousands of TED talks, free and available for immediate viewing. You can find a talk on just about any topic imaginable.
- Music: Everyone has a favorite song or artist they can flip on to suit a particular mood. If you need to be fired up, find a song that gets your blood pumping. It also helps to watch live performances on YouTube for an enhanced experience.
- Interviews: Listening to an interview involving someone I admire always lifts my spirits.
- Reading: There are many bloggers I follow and authors I enjoy, and I turn to their content to serve inspiration when needed.
#8: Give yourself a day off
A few weeks ago, I found myself emotionally spent, so I decided to call out of work and take a mental health day. I spent the day writing and working on personal projects.
Throughout the day, I was thinking that this is what a normal day might look like should I venture out on my own and focus on my passions. This is the life I strive to achieve.
I biked around the city during lunch time, and found a coffee shop to work out of for a few hours. As I was riding through the city, I saw all the nine-to-fivers out in their business casual attire, scurrying to lunch at mediocre chain restaurants. I had a front-row seat to the rat race but I wasn’t part of it, for a change. It was refreshing and energizing.
Of course, I know that I was just playing a role if only for a single day. But giving myself the day off and envisioning my life free of the 9 to 5 gave me the perspective I needed to stay motivated.
#9: Acknowledge your accomplishments
Amidst the stresses and inundations of day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget everything you have accomplished, focusing instead on the latest fire to be put out.
It’s easy to allow this behavior to become a habit, which enables a cycle of never feeling good enough. If you only focus energy on what needs to get done, you forget what you’ve already done. But in a way, nothing is more energizing than acknowledging what you have already done.
When I take a step back to reflect on the hard work that brought me here, it makes it all worth it. It’s a process. Similarly, when I feel overwhelmed or under accomplished at work, taking stock of everything I’ve accomplished gives me a refreshed outlook and positive mind set.
#10: Create your own sacred space
When I moved into a new apartment last year, I brought with me two barstools which fit perfectly in the kitchen at my old house. The new apartment had a breakfast bar, and I thought the stools would fit right in. However, it turns out that the breakfast bar at my apartment is higher. The old barstools were useless.
I tried to sell them, but no one would bite. I was going to just give them away, until one day a thunderstorm struck. I pulled one of the stools up to the balcony door so I could sit and watch it. My apartment is high up, with sweeping views of the surrounding area. Watching the storm from this vantage point was very relaxing and peaceful.
The barstools now have a purpose, and they live by that door. Whenever I need time to reflect or reset, I pull a stool up and gaze out. If the weather is nice, I pull it out to the balcony and sit there. This has become my space. If I’ve had a particularly rough day, a few minutes sitting in a barstool and gazing out the window can give me renewed perspective.
Designating a similar space for yourself can be helpful. Having a go-to place when you need to reflect or refresh your perspective can work wonders for you mindset.
What do you do to break the cycle when you find yourself mentally stuck?