Have you ever woken up in one of those moods? Feeling as flat as a pancake that’s been left in the pan for too long? Recently, I’ve had a few mornings like that. Feeling – bleurgh. To put it nicely. And I know I’m not alone; I know you’ve been there at some point.
It could have been the letdown after a day of excess, or perhaps you’re sensitive to the phases of the moon (joke), or maybe you just have no good reason at all. For me, the most recent one was definitely a big case of the letdowns. It was after our national holiday, Australia Day, on January 26th. You’ll find that if you look up Australia Day in the dictionary it will indicate a day when all good Aussies are officially required to eat burnt snags off the barbie, throw back at least a slab of VB per person, sit around in the sun for hours and hours on end (with or without sunscreen, depending on just how crispy you like your skin to be), and generally just revert to their bogan roots however stylish they may pretend to be during the week.
Anyway, whatever the reason, and beer-abstinence aside, I had a serious case of the can’t-be-bothereds. I didn’t want to go to work, had no inspiration to write for my blog or my book, didn’t care less that the house was filthy and God help anyone who expected me to engage in polite conversation.
Have you ever felt that way?
You might usually be the most motivated and productive guy or gal out there, but when that flat, blue mood hits you suddenly morph into couch-potato extraordinaire. Don’t try and tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about.
So what do you do on such an occasion? Do you?
- Phone in a mental health day to employers, clients, family and anyone else who cares and retire to bed with a huge bag of candy and your DVD/book of choice?
- Make it quite clear to all and sundry that you feel like you-know-what and secretly hope that the chirpy happy people fall over and break both ankles? Hopefully landing face first in a bit gooey puddle?
- Force yourself to ‘snap out of it’ by gritting your teeth and plowing through every painful must-do on your list?
- Slowly let the day float by without really analyzing why you feel that way, but knowing that it will eventually pass and in the meantime maybe you can just while away the time?
OR – and here’s what I’m hoping you might like to say from here on out – do you
- Have a sudden moment of clarity where you realize that you’ve been given an opportunity? A chance to escape the hum-drum of the day-to-day, even if that hum-drum is something you pretty much enjoy doing.
Take this post that you’re reading.
It was most certainly not on my to-do list this morning. Although I regularly submit posts to this blog, I hadn’t ‘booked myself’ to do so for another 2 weeks. Right now I’m supposed to be writing a post for my blog (blah, can’t be bothered right now even though I usually get right into work for my own projects) or finishing off adding the graphics to my e-book. Well. That was never going to happen.
You see, when it comes to the above list, I’m pretty much a ‘d’ kinda gal. Oh sure, I’ve definitely had the occasional day in bed with a huge bag of M&Ms and ‘Sex and the City’ on repeat, but I’d say there’s at least one half-day or more each couple of weeks where I becomes spectacularly good at getting nothing done while looking very busy.
Now I know you’ve been there. So tell me this –
How does it make you feel? I’m not trying to shrinkisize you (yes, I’m allowed to make up words; it’s my post!), but seriously. What is the end result of whiling away time without any rhyme or reason? You feel awful, don’t you? Which is quite funny when you think about it, given that a planned day of non-activity (such as Australia Day festivities) is an uplifting thing. Something that you’ve given yourself permission to do and is therefore good for both your mental and physical relaxation.
It’s the unplanned nothing-ness that slowly kills our joy, isn’t it? And – scary thought – it’s this sort of inactivity that can sometimes lead to a couple days or even a week of not only non-activity, but non-relaxation. Non-living, you might say. Minutes, and hours, and even days on end where we while away the time with emails, admin, with meaningless little tasks that don’t excite or stimulate, or indeed add anything at all to our lives.
So let’s talk about another option.
Truth be told, it’s an option I hadn’t even considered on previous days like today. But this morning as I meandered across the city square trying to think of reasonable excuses for not going to the gym (where I had an appointment with my trainer so kinda had to go), it suddenly hit me. I didn’t want to get stuck into today’s actionable items, nor did I want to get to the end of the day still wearing the same ‘poor-me’ face that I’d woken up with. What I actually felt like doing, I realized, was talking about how I felt, pouring my troubles out on some poor unsuspecting party, so that I could then get on with my life.
Which – in case you haven’t realized it – is pretty much what I’m doing right now. The best part being that it’s actually turning into something productive, and (wouldn’t you know it), the fact that it’s got me doing something I generally love, lifting my mood. And I’m starting to think today might turn out pretty darn good.
So here’s the point I’ve been trying to make in a very roundabout fashion – it’s okay to let go of the list once in a while; it’s even okay to do absolutely nothing if that’s what you’d really like to do, but it’s never really that satisfying to let time pass you by if you’re hating every minute of it when you could be engaging in something that would lift your spirits if even a little. Is it?
So what to do, what to do? I’ll admit that I’m lucky in that writing works really well for me at clearing out the blahs. I use writing to sort out my thoughts, I find it the simplest way of communicating, and it ties in nicely to my career and my business. I’ve found some kind of journaling or keeping a grateful list (a list of things both big and small that you’re grateful for) seems to work wonders for most people. But if writing isn’t your thing, here are some other simple ideas to keep up your sleeve –
- Indulge in a 15-minute massage at one of those drop-in places in the mall. Use the time to think through all the things you’re happy about in your life. Start with the obvious if nothing comes to mind – the ability to think, see, walk, talk. Not everybody has those luxuries.
- Cancel a meeting or appointment that you really don’t want (and possibly need) to do, and either take yourself out for a coffee or meet a friend for a quick catch-up. Pour out your thoughts either in your head or to your friend, much in the same way that I’m doing right now. Think of it like clearing away the trash – if you let it linger too long it will fester away and make everything around it toxic.
- Spend even 10 minutes (more is great as well) on one of those things you’ve always wanted to do, like creating a vision board, wandering through a favorite boutique, having tea at a fancy hotel, anything that’s nice, a little out of the ordinary, and would usually be deemed a waste of time.
- If you really can’t escape your planned day then take a few minutes to book a treat for yourself – a facial, a hair appointment, time with a friend, an evening of babysitting
- Write a 5-minute bullet point business plan for that great idea you’ve been harbouring for years
- Get into the great outdoors (nature!) and take a few lungfuls of clean, fresh air – let it clear out the cobwebs!
What else would you add to that list? Think of the things you always tell yourself you’ll do one day when you get the time – those would all work. It doesn’t really matter what you do, the key is simply to find something that acts as a bridge between a grumpy mood and a happy you. Preferably without resorting to back-to-back days of Australia Day style indulgence!
What works for you when you’re feeling flat? Drop me a note in the comments below.
|Written on 7/3/2009 by Kat Eden. Kat is a Personal Trainer from Australia. Visit her blog Body Incredible to be inspired with the latest nutrition tips, weight loss advice, and motivational thinking. .||Photo Credit: dotbenjamin|