So… what works when you just have that unmotivated “blah” period in life? I honestly get them about once every few months, and it usually rotates between work and home. Right now, I’m feeling the “funk” feeling at home. I just can’t seem to motivate past making us some dinner and getting the kids in bed. After that I think, “Well, I could go downstairs and workout, or not. I could get tomorrow’s meal together… or not. I could write a blog post… or not.” And on, and on, and on. The ideas are there, but the motivation behind what makes action come to life is not there.
So what is the best thing to do?
For me, it’s one of two things:
Ride it Out
This works for me most times, and it can either take a few days or 1-2 weeks. It’s when you kind of just admit defeat and accept that maybe you have been running too many cylinders at once… and it’s time to sit back and let your lazy side take over. I can only stand this “phase” for about 3 days before I get pretty impatient and disgusted with myself, but it definitely has its merits. For us working moms, there is a good chance that either our brain, our body, or our emotions have somehow hit a boiling point, and that overloaded system just shut the other systems down. I used to get so mad and sad about this, and wonder if my true being was at stake. I have since learned that it’s going to take more than a toddler meltdown and a big project at work to keep my inner being down… but sometimes that inner being needs to hide and re-coop.
It’s OK. Let it go.
I have to tell myself this a lot during this period: It’s OK to serve mac and cheese to Jumping Bean for the third time this week. It’s OK to only workout once, and have that one time be a really easy old lady jog around the neighborhood. It’s OK to stare at the Pinterest posts about magic kid projects and wish you weren’t reminded of all the things you don’t do with your kid. It’s OK to run a less-than stellar training at work.
Thank goodness for that dang Frozen song, “Let it go.” I sing that about every 27 minutes during this phase.
Just Start DOING
This one works when you have 10% of your motivation, but you just can’t seem to find the rest. For me, this looks like accomplishing REALLY small tasks around the house or at work to remind myself that my life does have a purpose and I am not just a pile of mush with no meaning. Last night, I just had to start putting some extra fabric on the ugly curtains I attempted a year ago for my daughter’s room. Mind you- they were ugly. There wasn’t much I could have done that would have made them uglier. So adding some more colorful fabric was nearly a sure-fire way to at least make me feel like I might get some positive results. (I cut the pieces too short and the seams were off, but whatever- they are more colorful now and I don’t have to think about it anymore.)
It worked. I felt like I had just a sliver of purpose and ability.
Other things I might do in this category are like: Reorganize a medicine drawer, clean a bathroom, take a long dog walk I’ve been meaning to take, re-organize the baby clothes that are NEVER perfectly current because Lebowski grows so fast, etc, etc.
They aren’t the most exciting tasks, but they are accomplished in a short period of time, and give me tiny rewards as I complete them. After reorganizing one area, I think, “Hey- I did that. I thought doing anything was impossible right now. But heck- I wonder what else I could accomplish?” And so on.
Small tasks give you small rewards.
Put one foot in front of the other and just start moving. It’s a key concept at work, too- if you are ever super overwhelmed or sitting on top of WAY too many items on your to-do list. First you have a panic attack to acknowledge the insanity. And then, you just start doing. Pick a small thing and just start plugging. After you’ve done the small thing, you gain some confidence and do that slightly larger thing that holds some importance. And next – you face reality and do that BIG frog that is the most important thing on the list.
You can get there. I can get there. We all can get there.
And here’s to the “funk” for giving us something else to learn about ourselves.