I was so close to not writing a post this week, because to be totally honest I’ve been in what you could call a right old pickle. I’ve been questioning my motivations and goals in life, which has made me stressed, which has in turn made me neglect the things I usually do to maintain my mental health. This has, obviously, turned into a big vicious cycle.
But I thought, you know what, I know how to get myself out of this, and I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this sometimes. So why not let it inspire me? In writing this, hopefully I will be able to help my own process of getting back on track.
I don’t know about you, but when I start getting into one of these stress-holes, I become the Queen of avoidance. It can be easy for this to become a cycle that looks a bit like this:
Pardon me for being Captain Obvious but, the first thing that needs to be done is to break this cycle. One thing I always remember from therapy is to think of this sort of behaviour like a record spinning around and repeating the same thing over and over. My job is to put a wedge into that cycle and stop it in its tracks.
However difficult it is, half the battle is simply choosing to stop avoiding whatever it is that’s weighing you down. This can be super stressful and will probably make you want to go back to burying your head in the sand, but it’s important to push through.
Once I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to drag myself out of my funk, the next thing I’ll do is write myself a good old list detailing everything (and I mean everything) I need to do to help myself out. I really believe lists are incredibly useful; it feels as though getting everything out of my head and down on paper makes it so much more manageable. It’s almost as if it’s all been taken out of your over-stressed brain and put somewhere else, leaving that brain some well needed breathing space and allowing it room to figure out the next steps.
Once your list is done, the next part is to figure out how to tackle it. I like to give myself a few tasks each day. These tasks could be small – even things like ‘tidy email inbox’ or ‘hoover room’. Once you’ve split everything into manageable chunks, you’ll hopefully find it all feels a lot more do-able. You no longer need to think of this all as one huge thing you just can’t face; all you need to do is look at your to-do list every day, and take it one day at a time. You’ve already accounted for everything, so no need to worry about the bigger picture. You know that as long as you tick off your little list every day, you can trust that you will get there.
Goal-setting can also be a great motivator. I find that sometimes when I’m stuck in a bit of a rut, it’s very easy to get stuck in the present and focused on what isn’t right in my life here and now. Taking some time to set goals to work towards can spark inspiration and excitement, giving you more incentive to pull yourself out of the place you’re in.
More than anything, though, look after yourself. It sounds super obvious but being stressed out an uninspired can cause other aspects of your life to suffer that aren’t even related. Anxiety and stress make me feel very lethargic and I end up having a bit of a ‘cba’ attitude in general. I sleep too much, which then makes me more tired, and I start neglecting my self-care. It might sound ridiculous to think that not being arsed to moisturise or dress in a way that makes you feel confident can really affect you that much but, for me at least, this is such a huge contributor to that vicious cycle.
If you find yourself in a bit of a mess sometimes, just remember to be gentle with yourself. Even if we don’t always admit it, everyone has times like this, where everything just feels ‘off’ and generally a bit rubbish and uninspiring. It’s totally normal and ok to just take some time to step back and tackle it slowly. Don’t feel pressured to always act as though everything is perfect and you’re living your ‘best life’. Because whatever the filters of social media might tell you, that just isn’t realistic. Show yourself some love and compassion and trust you will get there in your own time.
**If you’re having issues with your mental health that you are struggling to overcome by yourself, seek help from your GP or find more information on sites such as Mind.