By Christine Obee
“Ok, that’s the last one,” I think as the credits roll for episode 13 of Friday Night Lights, Season 1.
A timer suddenly flashes on my laptop screen. I have 9, 8, 7 seconds until the next episode starts.
I should do something else, be productive – go for a run, call a friend, make dinner, get out my yoga mat – yet I can’t bring myself to do anything. The time is running out…
And the next episode starts. I then settle back into the couch, accompanied by nothing but a hefty amount of guilt and a promise that this will be the last one I watch tonight and I will start exercising tomorrow.
What’s the problem?
Sitting there on the couch, I was feeling low and in need of productivity. Why didn’t I do it? Why is it so hard to do things that are good for you when you’re feeling low? I’ve got a lot of thoughts on the matter, way too many to share here, so I’ll sum it up in one word…
When things are good, your motivation is naturally high. When things aren’t so good, that motivation drops. So getting to a class, making a healthy meal or reaching out to a friend becomes that much harder. It’s so much easier to start up Netflix, crack a beer and get into your favorite TV show marathon.
Self-soothing at its best right? Well, sort of.
This might be a good short term fix because it distracts you from dealing with whatever has put you in this low place in the first place. The problem though, is exactly that – it’s a distraction. The more you distract – the more you bury your issues – the lower you get. The lower you get, the more likely you are to be hard on yourself, to self-loath. It’s a vicious cycle.
When it’s most difficult to love ourselves is the time when we need it the most. Here are 4 things to do that will bring some relief and – most importantly – get you moving back towards self-love:
1. Give yourself some time to distract
Say you have the entire weekend ahead of you and your normal distraction plan would be to party hard Friday night and follow that up with a Saturday on the couch, eating crappy food. Depending on how things go, you might even repeat this for Saturday night and all of Sunday.
Instead of the entire weekend being a distraction, take Friday and Saturday to do whatever you want and dedicate Sunday to moving forwards. This will allow you to take part in those “guilty” pleasures with less guilt.
And how exactly are you moving forwards on your Sunday? Read on.
2. Don’t over analyze ‘The Why’
If you’re in a bad spot and you don’t know why, I understand why you’d be asking the question. In fact, I see great value in asking the question. It can bring about insights and insights can lead to perspective shifts and solving problems. However, when the answer isn’t obvious, or you feel like you can’t move forward without the answer, the value is no longer there. It becomes a sticking point and can lead you down a rabbit hole as you look for the answer. Sometimes, you won’t know the why… and that’s okay! The reality is, it’s part of the human condition to feel like crap from time to time, so acknowledge it and remember…
3. You’re not alone in this
Feeling down, low or unmotivated is a common place to be, so don’t beat yourself up for being there. There’s nothing wrong with you. Also, be aware of the tendency to be isolated when you’re feeling down. If you’re anything like me, I don’t want to bring others down with my bad mood, so I avoid interacting at all. This often stops me from reaching out to friends or other forms of help that are available to me – bad idea. Interacting with others can get you out of your head into a more objective place, it can offer perspectives that bring great relief and can remind you of the tools you already have and what just needs to be put into action. Reach out.
4. Find the middle ground between standing still and running a marathon
Depending on how you’re feeling, you might not even be theoretically standing, you might be sprawled out on the ground. The point is, when you’re feeling really low and unmotivated, to get out for a run might feel like the equivalent of being the next human to land on the moon. When I have a goal that feels that out of reach, I’m much more likely to give up before I start. Best to hit play on that next episode, right? Wrong! Choose something that feels doable and that’s not much more difficult than distraction mode. Take it all one step at a time. Instead of reading your latest self-help book, watch a documentary or a TEDTalk. Instead of going for a run, go for a walk, or just get outside. You get where I’m going here.
Do yourself a favor and follow these 4 steps next time you’re in a place of self-loathing. They’re straight forward, doable and will get you headed back into a place where you can board that self-love train and heighten your motivation.
Lifestyle Design Coach and Yoga Teacher at Christine Obee
Christine is certified as a Lifestyle Design Coach and Yoga Teacher. Having made the transition from a draining, ‘just paying the bill’s’ job to doing work she loves, Christine now helps others in their own transitions. Through personalized coaching programs that combine practical methods with energetic and spiritual concepts, she moves professionals from a place of being disengaged and unfulfilled to finding clarify, hope and purpose.
Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only.
The author, Drew Canole, and the associated www.fitlife.tv are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician.
Drew Canole and Fitlife.tv claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.