We all experience days where we just cannot get motivated, and some of us more than others. Lackluster motivation can be a detriment to any task, but when you’re trying to pump out blog posts or accomplish any other imaginative work, it can be a real creativity killer.
As I gain more experience in blogging, I’m learning that I need to take advantage of the moments that I have ideas and/or things to say about those ideas by recording, writing or typing them right away. That way, when I am in the mood to write something and my creative juices aren’t exactly flowing, I have a stash of ideas ready and waiting to be elaborated on. Also, I’m terribly forgetful and thoughts and ideas dash out of my head almost as quickly as they come in.
But what about those times – and we all have them – when the obstacle we face is lethargy, lack of desire or disinterest? When the desire to curl up in bed or lounge in front of the TV for a Netflix binge overpowers our self-starting nature?
I do take time out on occasion to regain my sanity by indulging in a lazy day of nothing, but it’s a slippery slope. Add to that the day-to-day stresses that can pile up and sap me of energy and even hope, and I’ve got to have a strategy ready to implement when I’m stuck in a cycle of inertia or else I’ll end up putting off my writing or worse, neglect it long-term, and that doesn’t work for me.
Following are my go-to steps for getting back on track and into the game:
Endorphins or “feel-good” hormones are secreted in the brain and nervous system and activate the body’s opiate receptors, reducing stress and fatigue, lifting our moods and causing us to feel more focused, among other things. One of the most powerful endorphin boosters is exercise. A mere 10 to 30 minutes (each person is different) can make a world of difference in your mental outlook. So, go for a run or do some intense exercise to raise your heart rate and produce a good sweat. Or if you’re like me, you benefit from simply blasting music and dancing around your house. It’s free and nobody has to know but you! A quick high-intensity workout really refreshes me and gives me a positive perspective when I’m feeling down and blah.
Another free and easy trick to feeling better and lifting the mood is to get natural sunlight. The serotonin boost occurs when sunlight goes through the eyes and triggers receptors in the retina that signal the brain to produce more of the hormone, reducing stress and anxiety that can get in the way of creative thinking. Five to ten minutes is all that’s needed!
The sights, sounds and smells around you can have a drastic effect on your focus and creativity. Waking up to a cluttered bedroom or walking into a cluttered office can really hamper your ability to be productive; so, when fighting to get back into a creative mindset, take time to ensure your environment is clean and organized before going to sleep at night, allowing you to wake up in a clutter-free space. This contributes greatly to mental clarity and ability to focus on necessary tasks.
Additionally, a pleasant workspace can be very inspiring when you need to write. Decluttering your desk or worktable, playing some mood music and lighting your favorite incense or candles will go a long way toward getting your creative juices flowing and help you out of your slump. And if you need to, get out! Take your work to a coffee shop, a park or the beach. Change your surroundings and get flowing, stat!
Finally, what you put into your body has a huge effect on your state of mind. Nutrient-dense whole foods nourish the mind as well as the body, while sugar and starches make you sluggish and slow down the thinking process. It’s science! So the next time you sit down to work or write and you’re feeling foggy, reconsider reaching for the sugar-laden coffee drink with pastry and instead opt for something that will rev your engines, like a handful of almonds and a nice flavored mineral water (if that’s your thing).
Of course, you will have days where you will have no choice but to submit to a good day of relaxation for your mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re like me and you find that one day leads to
a week or a month a year (okay, ya got me!) of neglectful lounging, it might help to have a few tips up your sleeve to start climbing out of your hole.
Try all or a few of these tips and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear from you!
For a few years, a sizable portion of my income while working from home was made as a VA (virtual assistant). While I did well and worked with some wonderful individuals (partners as well as clients), I soon became dispassionate about my work. I was stubborn and slow to accept and learn about blogging as an important facet of running a successful business and I was overwhelmed by social media in general. I’m not as stubborn as I formerly was regarding these common business tools, and while I still have so much learn about them, I am genuinely making the effort.