It’s 8:30 in the morning.
I yawn, stir in bed, and dump a pillow on my face to block out the sun. I have to rise and shine, but I don’t want to.
The clock is ticking, and as the sun gets hotter and starts burning my arms and legs, I finally manage to drag myself out of bed. I brush my teeth standing with eyes closed in front of the mirror.
Dark clouds begin to cloak the sun as I sit at the table poking at the egg on my plate like it’s my worst enemy. I have to eat, but I don’t want to.
Thirty minutes later, I’m at my desk. I have to write. But I don’t want to. I want to go out and splash around in the pouring rain, forget who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.
But work beckons, so I switch on my computer, and open the unfinished draft of an article that I began yesterday. My hands rest on the keyboard. Time flies and I keep staring at the page with 300 words. My vision blurs, and I slump my head down at the desk as angry tears roll down my face.
Why is everything so hard and painful?
Hi. I’m Cynthia. Yes, the same person who’s a natural hard worker and multitasker, fitting in work, chores, exercise, shower, sleep, and everything else in 24 hours. The same writer who can dish out more than 10,000 words a day effortlessly.
I have been out of my groove the last few weeks. It’s hard to get up in the morning. The days are lifeless and dull. Even writing- the thing I love most- has become a chore.
In simple words, I have lost my mojo.
It happens to the best of people. If you are reading this, it has happened to you too at some point.
I’m a hard taskmaster. So when my productivity begins to dip, I tend to push myself. Sometimes it works. Of late it hasn’t. Instead, it has only made me cry, given me bad headaches, and left me tired.
It took me a while to realise that pushing myself isn’t always the best way to motivate my sagging spirit. Some people work best under pressure. But not me. My productivity is at the highest when I’m happy, relaxed, and feeling my best. I decided to go with the flow and stop pushing myself, even if it cost me clients and cut down my income. And guess what? It helped.
As humans, we are bound by routine. When we fail to keep up with that routine, we are often unkind and inconsiderate towards our poor selves because we don’t want to be left behind in the rat-race.
To get back my lost mojo, I decided to go against routine, and there are four important things I learned on the way. If you, like me, have been feeling demotivated, then stay with me and try to follow these four things…
Question your beliefs
I grew up in a home where money was scarce. The seed planted in my head as a little girl was that I have to become educated, grow up, and get a good job, because a good job means good money. My life was governed by money— or the lack of it. I couldn’t have toys like other kids. I couldn’t have new clothes more than once a year. I couldn’t even have birthday parties, because there was no money for pleasure.
I grew up connecting my sense of self worth with money. I started earning at 16. I felt useful when I was making an income. People praised me when I brought in money, and said the meanest things when I didn’t.
During slow freelance seasons, when work dries up, I still feel useless because my income gets cut down. It brings me heartache and dashes my self-esteem.
But is that the right way to treat myself? Of course not.
I’ve now learned to question the beliefs that were planted into my system as a child. Whenever I find these thoughts making their way back into my head, I stop and focus on other things. I remind myself that there’s always more than enough, and that I’m always provided for. I tell myself that I’m much more than a money-making machine, and my value doesn’t go up or down with the amount of money I make.
When you feel useless and de-motivated, question the beliefs that make you feel that way. Then replace those beliefs with kindness and compassion. You are human, you have every right to feel down and de-motivated at times, and you still remain the incredible person that you are.
Do what makes you happy
When I feel out of groove, no amount of pushing or forcing works. I can’t force myself to eat, or work, or go out. When I force myself to eat, I usually throw up. When I push myself to write even though I don’t feel my best, I produce work that’s rubbish. It’s frustrating how force never works on me.
So what do I do? I allow myself to be happy.
If I feel like splashing about in the rain, I allow myself to go for it. If I want to watch Cake Boss or In the Night Garden reruns over a cup of tea in the evening, I let myself. If I want to go for a long walk, I go about it. Even if a part of me tries to convince me that I’m wasting time, I usually don’t listen to it. I do what makes me feel good.
Most of us work hard all the time. If your soul craves some respite, and wants to indulge in what makes it sing, always allow it. Allow yourself to be happy. Do what makes you feel good instead of forcing yourself to stick to routine.
Practise self care
I have grown up with more than one destructive belief. Just like thinking that not making enough money is a sign of uselessness, I was also taught that caring too much about my own self means vanity and shallowness. As a result, I neglected myself. I didn’t care about what I ate, how little I slept, or how I looked.
I learned the meaning of self care and started practising it only recently. And it isn’t just about what you eat or how you look. It is also about what you think and how it affects you.
Life is busy. We wake up to the rude alarm clock. We stuff our mouths with breakfast while rushing for work. We spend our days slumped at the computer. We skip meals, stress out over problems at home or work, fight with family and friends, and find it hard to fall asleep when we finally get to bed.
Change it. Starting today, be good to yourself.
I’m not flawless, but whenever I catch myself stressing out too much or feeling fatigued and low, I know it’s time for some self care. A nap, a bowl of fresh fruits, a nice, relaxing bath, some good music, the comfort of my bed, positive thoughts and affirmations…. These are all ways I take care of myself. Even putting on a nice dress and some makeup helps me feel better sometimes.
Take time to enjoy your meals. Spend more time in Nature. Read a good book. Dance like nobody is watching. Lift up others. Take care of your body. Be thankful for today.
When you are suffering from burnout, you must practise self care all the more. It helps you come back stronger, and be better at what you do.
Coping alone is not a sign of strength. It took me a quarter of a century to realise it, but better late than never, right?
When random people ask me how is work, I smile and tell them it’s great. When my boyfriend asks me the same thing, I tell him the truth. I confide in him that I feel down and out, and everything makes me want to cry. There are times I sob for a long time. And the incredible man that he is, he keeps encouraging me, reminding me of my dreams when I want to give up, and never gets tired of telling me that I’m beautiful no matter what.
You can’t expect to find support in everyone. But it’s important to have that one person you can always turn to when you’re down. My man is my biggest support. And I’m glad there’s someone to stand by me when it all seems so hard.
Be it a friend, a family member, or even a trusted coworker, seeking support always unburdens you and lets you go to sleep with a lighter heart. The lighter your heart is, the clearer you think.
I’ve come to realise that feeling down is a sign that I need to do the above things. It’s okay to take it slow, to allow yourself to stop and smell the rain instead of just sticking to a routine.
Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot seem to come up with the right words for your next blog post. Don’t force yourself to do what everyone is doing. It’s alright to be different. Just trust and let go, because you are always taken care of.
Meanwhile, the cold, refreshing raindrops shower on me the moment I step outside, washing away every rule I had set for myself and filling me with renewed life. Work can wait. Everything else can wait. This moment is simply about being alive and enjoying it.
Do I feel better? Yes, I’m getting there. Thank you for asking.
Over to you…
What things do you do to feel better when you’re down and out? Let me know in the comments below 🙂