We’ve all had those days where we feel like we’re floating through time: struggling to start a project, lacking the motivation to get out of bed, facing a blank screen without a clue what to write.
That’s where I am this week. Sometimes, when I feel stuck like this, I don’t even know what day it is!
It can be difficult to pull ourselves out of the cycle of overwhelm, confusion and disinterest.
The good news is that there are simple things we can do to give our brains a break and let inspiration flow naturally.
Here are 5 things you can do when you feel stuck or uninspired:
1. Start a morning routine
I love Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. In his 20s, Hal was the top salesman in his company and even trained other employees in his methods. One night, a car accident changed all of that: he was pronounced dead on the scene, but after weeks of intensive care and months of physical therapy, he recovered. But it took time for Hal to bounce back from such a terrible accident. He lost the motivation that once earned him sales awards in his company. At the advice of a mentor, he decided to start a morning routine, waking up just one hour earlier than usual. He started small with running and slowly added other activities to round out his experience. Those activities – exercise, meditation, journaling, reading, affirmation and visualization – make up The Miracle Morning.
After reading the book, I knew this is exactly what I needed to give my day more structure. I’m not a fan of exercising in the morning (who are we kidding – I’m not a fan of exercise period!), so I started out with everything but that. I wrote down a plan for how I would incorporate everything into one hour (you can download my free workbook here), choosing the order that made the most sense for me: reading 10 min, journaling 10 min, affirmations 5 min, visualization 5 min and meditation 15 min. I choose books, journal prompts and affirmations that are relevant to my goals, then follow up with visualizing myself accomplishing these goals. I wrap up my morning with either simple meditation or qigong (chi-gong), a form of meditative exercise.
Starting a morning routine is a simple way to set the tone for the rest of your day. I’m more productive, happy and focused on the days I complete my morning routine. If you’re ready to give it a shot, start with this free morning routine workbook.
2. Call a friend
Sometimes, we are so wrapped up in our own thoughts and problems, that we can’t see another way around them. When this happens, it’s helpful to call a friend or mentor. Even if they never give you a word of advice, hearing yourself talking out loud about a problem can make the solution seem clearer. That’s why working with a coach is so powerful. We often need someone to hold up a mirror to our thoughts and beliefs so we can see them for what they really are.
When you feel stuck, call someone you trust. You can explain the situation you’re struggling with to get their advice, or you can ask them for an update on their life. Sometimes helping someone work through their issue opens new doors and insights for us to solve our own problems.
3. Move your body
We all know the many benefits of exercise: improving blood flow, burning calories, stabilizing our mood. But exercise helps us think better, too! Exercise stimulates new brain cell growth, increasing connections between cells and improving our focus and attention. We can easily block out distractions and prioritize the important things.
We don’t have to limit the benefits to high intensity, sweaty exercise. Next time you feel stuck or uninspired, take a short walk, do a few stretches or try a few yoga poses. Move away from your desk or workspace, out into nature if possible, or into another room. Allow yourself to forget about your work and focus on the activity instead.
Seth Godin says we should write like we talk, because there’s no such thing as talker’s block:
“No one ever gets talker's block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down.”
His solution? Write every day. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done. Even if you’re not a writer or teacher or blogger, you can still write every day by journaling. Journaling helps bring all of our wandering thoughts and fears to paper. You can journal about whatever comes to mind at the moment or use prompts. Here’s a few to get you started on page 8 in my Passion + Purpose Workbook.
Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, keep writing anyway. Write through the blocks until you feel your creative juices flowing. See what inspiration you can find from this exercise.
5. Get creative
Think about what you loved to do when you were a child. Was it playing with dolls, building model airplanes, solving puzzles, coloring? Here’s a secret: the things we loved doing as children are the same things that can bring us joy and inspiration as adults. We don’t have to give those things up just because we grew up.
If you loved arts and crafts, make a vision board, scrapbook or collage. If you loved puzzles, break out your favorite or buy a new one to challenge your mind. Grab a fresh piece of paper and start doodling. The limits to our creativity are only set by our own beliefs. By allowing ourselves the time and space to release our creativity, we open ourselves to receive the insight, inspiration and ideas we need to push past our problems.
When you feel uninspired, keep moving forward. Get active. Start a routine. Build something. Distract your mind from whatever it is keeping you stuck.
When we allow ourselves to be consumed with feelings of overwhelm or disengagement, we are not living to our fullest potential.
There is so much joy to be had in living an inspired life. We can transform our mindset into ignoring overwhelm and fear, pushing through those feelings until we reach the other side.
When we live an inspired life, we discover who we really are. And that’s a beautiful thing.