We all find ourselves in one of life’s ruts occasionally. It can be difficult to bounce back to our normal, happy selves and start to find inspiration for projects again. This often happens to me when I’ve been given a heavy workload, or have been dealing with additional responsibilities and dramas in my personal life. Whatever has caused you to be stuck in a rut and left with a lack of inspiration, there’s nothing that bringing positivity into your life can’t fix. Here are some strategies you can use to stay inspired, and feel more positive when you are down. I hope this helps you through those rough times!
A little credit: Catherine Ashley – a lot of these suggestions come from my mother x.
1. Change your way of thinking
I know it’s much easier said than done, but it’s worth every attempt! Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative, try to replace it with a more positive thought. For example, if you catch yourself reflecting on a mistake you made in the past, stop yourself and replace that thought with “I’m allowed to make mistakes.” We are all human and humans make mistakes! What’s done is done, and it is time to move forward.
Keep track of what negative thoughts haunt you the most in a notebook (writing is extremely therapeutic!) and develop a list of positive comments to challenge them. With enough practice (daily), positive thinking will become second nature.
2. Make Lists
This is one highly suggested by my mum! Making lists is another great exercise in positive thinking. Leaving yourself with a huge list of things to do reminds you of all your purposes and things to be happy about. Once a day, or whenever you need a little pick-me-up, challenge yourself to list 10 things you’re happy about, 10 things you’d like to accomplish today, or 10 things you like about yourself.
Having a hard time getting in the habit? Ask a friend or family member to hold you liable. Make a pact that you’ll text or call each other something you’re grateful for every day. My mum challenged me to start the ‘jar of happiness’ project and start making lists and scrapbooking, and continuously called me to make sure I got into the routine of doing it!
3. Set SMART Goals
I’ve only recently heard of SMART goals, and they’re a great way to stay motivated! You can increase your chances of success by setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals. Set both short and long term goals. You need to set long term goals as these are the big dreams that keep us inspired (graduating, buying a house, writing a book) but focusing too much on the long-term can be both overwhelming and disappointing when we can’t achieve them immediately. Set short term goals that contribute to the long-term, or goals that tick off the to-do list and help your routine! (writing this term’s essay, going to bed by midnight for a whole week, or maybe producing some photography/content for your blog!)
4. Listen to Music
Music is one of the most powerful motivating forces! Find music that inspires with you, whether that be theatrical music or hip-hop and use it to get yourself going. I’ve created many Spotify playlists to suit different moods. Listening to the right music while you work really gives you a push! Try putting together a playlist to energize yourself as you work toward your goals (or follow my playlists at https://open.spotify.com/user/21l6zv45e6rbxfazgqvrzzcei)
5. Do Something Creative
This one is a little broad – but any hands-on activity such as writing, drawing, sewing
It’s important to set aside time for creativity. Nurture your inspiration and turn it into something tangible. Regardless of your skill level, creative self-expression is the perfect way to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and into a more shareable form.
Whether you write, draw, craft or design, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment as you look over your own creation after you’ve completed it.
6. Learn a New Skill
Learning new skills can do wonders for your confidence, and it’s something to add to the CV! Pick something that’s fun and interesting to you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try archery, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to learn a new language. Why not start now?
7. Know When to Ask for Help
A common misconception is that accepting help takes away your independence. That’s not true. There’s no shame in asking for help. Knowing when and how to ask for help is actually a valuable skill that’s worth remembering, and sharing on. Getting the right help for your needs can actually make you more independent.
8. Take a Break
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time to recover. Make the most of your lunch breaks, weekends and vacations. Instead of working through your lunch break or sleeping through the weekend, focus on taking care of yourself, and making the most of your spare time by doing something fun. Maybe you could go away for a weekend, or meet up with a friend during your lunch hour. Eat healthy meals, or use the time to try the new skill you picked!
9. Find a community
Seek out people who share your interests, or even your struggles. If you’re suffering with a mental illness, find a support group or find solace in a Facebook group for people who share your illness. Whatever your situation, there are sure to be other people going through something similar. Learning how other people deal with their challenges will give you inspiration for fighting your own obstacles.
10. Update Your Resume
Even if you’re not planning on applying for a job, updating your CV is a great way to remind yourself of your accomplishments and your skills, just like making lists! Plus, the next time you see a job opening you want to apply for, you already have your updated CV ready, thus preventing a potential stressful situation!
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions for staying inspired, hopefully they were helpful in some way! What activities do you get involved with to keep inspired? Let me know in the comments down below!