We all have strings of days (weeks, even) where things just don’t seem to be clicking. For me, during these stretches it feels like my head is filled with sludge.
The thought of carrying on a conversation or performing a mentally intensive task induces an immediate yawn (literally). That yawn is like a physical manifestation of the recoil inside my body. It bubbles up and lets itself out. My body is rejecting the notion of doing much of anything.
During periods when you feel stuck, it’s important to be mindful of ways to break the cycle. I’ve found that it’s helpful to think about what my days look like when everything is clicking. When I am motivated, energized, and positive.
As I was going through all of the things that help me get unstuck, I came up with a huge list. I was able to identify some common themes, and distill it down to ten key points. I decided to make this a two-part article, since I have a lot of ideas to share with you. Today, I will go through the first five.
I’ve done all of these things to help reconnect with my creative, energetic side at times when I have felt disconnected from it.
#1: Be a student of the world around you
One of the primary joys of travel is immersion into a new culture and place. To truly get the most out of the experience, you must slow down and allow yourself the opportunity to soak in what is around you.
But you don’t need to be somewhere new in order to maintain a desire to be a student of the world around you.
As you go about your daily routines, re-focusing attention and awareness will keep the mind flowing and minimize mental clutter. This helps to get un-stuck from the induced demands of the digital world we are constantly connected to.
When I am out and about, I make a point to leave my phone in my pocket or backpack to the extent possible. Giving my mind the space it needs means it is much clearer and refreshed when I arrive at my destination or move about my day.
#2: Immerse yourself in a like-minded community
There are all kinds of opportunities to immerse yourself into a like-minded community, they just need to be sought out.
You can attend events at local bookstores or coffee shops, attend conferences or seminars related to topics of personal interest, join an advocacy or outreach organization, or attend meet-ups for just about any interest imaginable.
It’s hard to not feel reinvigorated after being around people building, doing, or just talking about awesome things that we share a passion for.
I have never regretted the decision to show up and surround myself with like-minded people. Showing up is an instant way to get unstuck.
#3: Do something alone
When I think back to one of my favorite days of the past few years, it was an entire day I spent biking alone across the city of San Francisco.
Along the way, I took many pit stops to soak everything in. I wasn’t on a schedule and I had no one to answer to, I had no agenda or particular route planned. I could just be alone with myself and appreciate the time I had.
At the end of the day, I felt completely refreshed and energized.
It’s easy to resist the desire to do something alone, for fear of what others might think. It might be herd to relax and get the most out of the experience.
If you give yourself permission to resist the barriers, doing something alone can be just the medicine needed to break out of a negative mental state.
#4: Capture your ideas
It can be very powerful to establish a habit of noting down ideas as they come to you.
Writing down your ideas gives your mind permission to embrace them. Additionally, forming a habit of capturing your ideas will lead to more ideas. It’s crazy to see how ideas can grow when given proper attention.
The act of simply writing something down can lead to your mind taking things to a whole new level.
To enable this habit, always carry a notebook or use an application such as Evernote, which can sync between all of your various devices. As ideas come to you, jot down a note to capture them. It doesn’t need to be detailed. Just enough so that you can revisit it later and know what you were thinking.
#5: Use frustration as fuel for understanding
Throughout the day, it is easy to externalize frustrations and harbor bitterness towards others. Not only does this get the mind stuck in a negative cycle, it also impacts the way we treat others.
At my old job, there was one particular co-worker who I did not get along with so well. It was easy to let my frustration and bitterness towards this co-worker spin out of control. If I had a particularly negative interaction, I would let it consume my mind for hours afterwards. This impacted how I treated others who may have come into my path that day, and it definitely perpetuated a negative mindset.
Alternatively, stopping to consider that everyone has their own story and ways of dealing with issues, it’s easier to then let out a deep breath and carry on with the understanding that nothing is personal. I can then channel my frustration and move about my day in a more positive state of mind.
Understanding that you can’t understand everyone is a key to freeing up your energy to concentrate on things you can control.
Check back in a few days, as I will share the remaining five methods/tools I use to get unstuck.