It’s Time to Dig into the Toolbox.
I can easily fall into a state of listlessness. It usually begins with procrastination. I have a master’s degree in procrastination. I can spend hours upon days avoiding the things I want and need to do with menial tasks of pointless meandering.
Structure is something I have to work at every day. There was not a lot of it in my childhood, so it does not easily come to me. It takes a tremendous amount of effort in order to find it.
When I find it, I flourish.
When I can’t, I become disheartened.
Most of the time I do not realize I am in this languish state until I am already in the belly of it. I feel sleepy and lethargic and I get down on myself.
If you are anything like me, you know that no matter what kind of external support or words of wisdom you hear, the only thing that can get you out of it is the ability to say to yourself, “Enough.” Coming to trust this ability in ourselves helps us ignite the process and diminishes our level of self-doubt.
However, if you have not developed the right tools to pull yourself up and out of it, you can find yourself stuck there for quite some time.
This happens for me when my routine has failed.
Something has thrown me off my routine and then the next thing I know I am caught in a state of self-doubt and deprecation. Yuck. This is especially good to be aware of as we enter the holiday season, because nothing can knock us off of our routine better than holiday breaks and cold weather.
I have learned that as soon as I start to hear those abusive internal voices, the first thing I need to look at is how I am spending my time. If I do not have a set routine, I know it’s time to build one.
It’s time to dig in the toolbox of what I know can get me through this. I start slow and incorporate different ones each day, so that I do not feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Each of us will have our own set of tools to support us, so yours may look different than mine, but the idea is the same.
1. Detoxify. Cutting out alcohol or other depressants you tend to turn to is first. Even just one glass of wine a day can be enough to keep you in a listless state. Take a few days off from your vice and notice how your energy and brighter state of mind returns.
2. Set an Intention. Before you go to bed at night, or when you wake up in the morning, take a moment to invite a quality that will support you throughout the day.
3. Exercise. When I am in a down state I usually find myself skipping bike rides and yoga classes. And, since I am usually pretty lethargic during this period, the idea of a power yoga class or a lengthy bike ride on the hilly streets of San Francisco does not sound so appealing. I start slow by committing to a morning walk (instead of driving) to the yoga studio for a gentle class. This helps rebuild the habit of getting up and out without the torture of going from zero to 180 overnight.
4. Diet. Another thing that seems to fall to the wayside is nutrients. Instead of the healthy balanced diet I usually enjoy, I begin to crave more fat and starch. This is when I commit to incorporating one really healthy meal into my day. The more days I am exercising and including a healthier meal, the more my desire for the good stuff returns.
5. Creativity. For me, this is writing. For you it may be different. It could be playing around with an instrument, painting, drawing, arts and crafts, listening to inspiring music, creating or building something; even working on a puzzle will do the trick. The point is to spend some time doing something creative that you enjoy other than watching TV or even reading. These types of activities are referred to as “active resting” and do wonders for a better state of mind. Active resting will ignite your creative juices and get them flowing again. Where I would normally set aside big chunks of time to do this, I only commit myself to one hour a day. This, again, begins to rebuild the habit of having it in my day, and relieves me of the pressure and guilt of not doing it at all. What I usually find is that I end up spending a lot more than an hour, but I am guilt-free even if I don’t because I have committed to and completed that one hour.
6. Don’t turn on the TV. Just don’t even turn it on. Not only does it steal your time, it blocks your creativity, decreasing your chances of really getting into the flow of #5.
Slowly incorporating each of these components into your day and easing yourself into them will bring you back to the structure that you need to feel purposeful and will increase your mood tremendously. Even picking one of the items from this list and sticking to it opens the door for more of them to feel possible.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” ~ Tao Te Ching
Catherine la O’ is a Certified Integral Life Coach, Blogger, Yogini, Cyclist-ish, and Music Lover. As a Blogger, Catherine offers self-exposing personal insights gathered from her own journey of self-discovery. She hopes her writing will inspire and support other individuals on a similar path. As a coach, she facilitates group workshops, monthly women’s circles and offers individual coaching to people all over the world who are looking to evolve to the next level in their lives. If you are interested in connecting with Catherine you may find her through her website: www.liminalspace.net or through Facebook at: Facebook.com/LiminalSpaceCoach.
Ed: Stephanie V.