Have you ever been in a really bad funk? A period of feeling unmotivated where it seems like nothing is going right and that you should just give up and lay in bed watching Netflix all day?
Yeah, we’ve all been there. And as school starts back up and the weather cools down, we are more prone to feeling stuck, unmotivated, and disinterested in the things that used to make us feel joy.
I experienced this feeling a lot as a student, and it does creep up on me time and time again these days. However, throughout my twenties, I have come to understand myself a lot better. I have also come to accept myself and my feelings a lot better. If you’re in a rut, that’s completely fine! It happens to the best of us!
So, today, I am going to clue you in one a few of my tips and tricks for dealing with that period of feeling unmotivated so that you can emerge from it fresh and ready to tackle even the biggest challenges in your way!
1. Tell yourself that it’s okay to be in a rut
When I’m really in a rut, I tend to make myself feel even worse when I get frustrated over the fact that I’m feeling that way. Of course, we would all love to be feeling incredibly motivated and successful and confident all the time, but that just is not the way that life works sometimes. And you know what? That is totally fine!
The first step to getting over a rut is acknowledging that you are in one and that you need time to come out of it feeling fresh and renewed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just been having a bad week, and by simply saying, “Hey, I’m sorry. I’m just having a rough week and need to take some time for myself,” I automatically feel like I’m on track towards regaining my mojo and my confidence.
I find that stubbornly pushing through when you are having a tough time can make that difficult period even longer than if you had just stopped and reassessed early on, so don’t be afraid to tell yourself that it’s okay to feel your feelings!
When I was a high school and college student, I would feel down and unmotivated pretty often. As a student, I put a lot of pressure on myself to always succeed, and that really wears a young person down! In fact, society as a whole puts so much unnecessary pressure on our youth to always be perfect and respectful and always get straight As while also participating in every extracurricular activity under the sun. It’s impossible to balance all of that without breaking!
Sometimes, you just need to rest. Simple as that. And that applies to students, parents, people with careers….Everyone!
Telling yourself to rest is easier said than done. For some of us, our obligation towards our jobs, our friends, and our families make it impossible to carve out extra time to just relax. But sometimes when we are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, you really need to try to get a little bit more rest! Treat yourself to a nap or try to go to bed thirty minutes earlier than usual. Or if you can’t actually convince yourself to get more sleep, just take 20 minutes every evening to lay down and just chill with a cozy blanket! I guarantee that you will feel better once you do!
3. Get some fresh air
I have to say, as someone who is a self-proclaimed hermit, simply going outside for some fresh air can do wonders for your psyche! When we are busy, it can be hard to plan time to go outside for a walk or a bike ride–especially in a COVID world where many of us are working from home.
However, I have also found that the days where I stay inside all day are the ones when I feel more down. The days when I go outside and enjoy nature are the days when I’m feeling particularly positive and happy! Even if it’s just 10 minutes, do it! I am not an outdoorsy person by any means, but I do think that a little bit of sunshine can benefit us all in so many ways! So do yourself a favor and try to give yourself some time to just be outside with no other distractions.
If you are going to go the exercise route, this may be even more effective! I actually think with the most clarity when I am exercising. I remember the treadmill being the place where I would plan out my research papers when I was a student. Sometimes I would have the best epiphanies when the endorphins were pumping! So if you are stuck on a project or assignment of some kind, try getting your sweat on!
4. Plan a day for things you love
This is my absolute favorite way to treat myself when I am in a rut that I need to get out of. And why wouldn’t it be? A day full of your favorite things is definitely something to look forward to! And something that we should try to do for ourselves more often than we do.
If you can, write down a list of anything that you can think of that would make you feel relaxed and at peace and plan a day where you can knock out everything on that list! I love to plan a nice meal for myself on that day as well; either homemade or takeout; something that I don’t normally get for myself and is a special treat.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to treat yourself! Watch your favorite movie or listen to your favorite album! My favorite thing to do is plan a themed movie marathon (think early 2000s teen romcoms, Harry Potter….you know, the good stuff) and order a meal from one of my favorite restaurants. Anything that makes you happy!
5. Try something new
Sometimes feeling unmotivated can permeate into your hobbies or activities that used to make you happy. Normally, you love to read or cook or take photos, but when you are upset or in ome kind of rut, none of those things are doing it for you anymore!
Wel, my suggestion is to lean into this a bit and take it as the perfect oppotunity to pick up a new hobby! As a personal example, before I started this blog, I was going through a tough time and was feeling pretty bored with every hobby that I had. To add onto that, we were all in quarantine, so I couldn’t go out and do anything fun even if I wanted to!
Well, I had always loved to write, and I randomly started to write random blog post drafts. And from that, the blog was born and writing became my new hobby! So the next time you are not loving any of your hobbies or just need something to distract you from some issues you are having at work or school, try to pick up a brand new hobby!
6. Still feeling unmotivated? Talk it out!
This is the trick that I personally have the most difficult time pursuing. I am an introvert and tend to keep my feelings to myself, but I find that this makes those periods of feeling unmotivated and frustrated even worse! Sometimes, you just need to vent to someone–be it a family member, a friend, or a spouse. Or hey, even a random stranger if you can find one who will let you bend their ear for a bit!
If you’ve been bottling up your emotions for a long time, it will probably feel like a massive weight off of your shoulders when you can finally let it all out. Plus, if you have a confidant that you can talk to, they may be able to give you some advice to help you get out of your rut. Or maybe they’re going through the same thing, and you can support each other! So the next time you’re feeling down, give it a try! Find someone you trust and talk it out!
It can be pretty tough when you’re feeling unmotivated or trying to get out of a rut. I hope that some of these tips can inspire you to work through it! Always remember that if you are feeling uninspired, that is completely okay and totally normal! Think of the person who inspires you the most–they have definitely been through periods like that! Remember not to be too hard on yourself, give yourself time to work through your rough patch, and come out even stronger than ever!