Bouncing back

So you fell down a metaphorical hole and got stuck. You can’t bring yourself to do more than the bare minimum. You feel like you’re wasting your days but you just can’t get back in the groove. You can’t muster up the energy to work on that project you were so excited about just 2 months ago. What do you do?

First of all, acknowledge what’s happening. Admit to yourself that you’ve been feeling down, haven’t had a lot of energy, had other things to take care of, maybe even had health problems that should be treated first before trying to change everything just by brute willpower.

Then take care of yourself, of your physical and mental health. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Forget about unreasonable standards of living/productivity/success that you read about – everybody is just trying to promote themselves and painting quite an unrealistic picture along the way. Nobody is perfectly functioning 100% of the time. Everybody has ups and downs.

When you start feeling a little more energetic, start by doing a very small thing. Don’t overdo it the first time! Set a hard limit on yourself to make sure you don’t go too far: no more than 20 minutes of cleaning, no more than 500 words written/read, no more than 1 hour of working on a project, no more than one change in your routine… Decide for yourself what’s the most suitable limit and then practice it.

Now you’ve done the thing. You’re feeling good, right? Perhaps it took a lot of procrastinating to get here, but it’s done now. Be proud of yourself for doing it! Take a break and then do another small thing. Again, set a limit and don’t go too far. Hey, now you’ve done two things! Congratulations! You can do this after all!

Check with yourself and decide: Can you take on another small thing? When will you feel the thing is “done”? Do you want to keep working until it’s done or do you need a break so you don’t burn out? Listen to your body and your mind.

Remember: you don’t have to do a big thing all at once. Life is made of many small things, daily efforts that bring you closer to your goal.

Don’t get scared of the long road you need to travel, but focus on the one step that’s in front of you.

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