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  • Writer's pictureStephanie West

Staying Motivated SUCKS!

Updated: Jan 6

We cannot always be motivated, so what then?

#motivated #anxiety #depression #motivational #itsyourjourney #keepgoing #justkeepswimming

I am a very self-driven individual and have a tendency of putting extremely high standards on myself. I am super talented at creating a to-do list that is unrealistic. Over the last few years, I've really had to learn to downsize that list and remind myself that I am one human who requires a break! A few years ago, right before Covid hit, I went into the ER because I had spent the previous three days with extremely heavy pressure and pain in my chest along with feeling very very dizzy to the extent that I thought I was going to pass out. There was nothing medical found, but I did learn that I had literally pushed myself so hard that I brought this attack upon myself. I was literally harming my own body with my inner thoughts, my ambition, and the depression that was literally fighting against my inner self-drive. "you suck Stephanie. You are not doing right by your family. You have no career. Your body is mush. You can barely get out of bed. You've been through so much and can do so much more than you are completing in one day. I am embarrassed when Duke gets home. He deserves so much better." Of course, my downward-spiraling thoughts exacerbated everything. It was like I had an overfull gas tank, and my foot was pushing the accelerator through the floorboard, but every bit of my body had the emergency brake held. My inner self-talk was horrible!

Since March 2019, I have increasingly taught myself to slow down, take a breath, and ask myself what is the next best thing. Have you ever watched the behind-the-scenes of the making of Frozen two? This may seem really odd for this post, but Kristen Bell talked about her mental health struggles and how the song The Next Right Thing was created. It really resonated with me. Whether I was deep in a depressed state, I basically did what I needed to do for my kids at the bare minimum and never left sweats, and had to force myself to shower. Or the days when I was so incredibly motivated I set unrealistic expectations in the form of a never-ending to-do list. I basically lived on either side of that 1 to 10 spectrum and I needed to learn how to take a breath and do the next right thing.

Breath #1 - Take a freakin breath!

This may sound completely stupid, and even like a, "well duh, of course," kind of statement, but it's the truth. I actually made myself do a practice that I used to tell my pregnant moms when I was practicing as a Doula. Very quickly, for those of you who don't know what a doula is. They are a trained childbirth coach. They understand how to help a mother move their body to help labor progress and in a way that makes her most comfortable and happy. I used to tell these moms when a wave of contraction would come to take a very slow deep breath in and assess their body. From their head to their toes, or vice versa. In the midst of the pain that can come with those contractions, feel every bit of your body relaxing. The more tense your body is the more you feel that pain and the more intense the pain is. Furthermore, the baby can't move itself through the canal if the body is tense because the body needs to loosen and soften to allow that movement. Our bodies need to feel that same release whenever we amp up our stress. I've made a habit. Every so often I take that slow deep breath in, and out, and I concentrate on my shoulders relaxing, my neck relaxing, and I tell myself to 'release.' Oddly enough, I don't tell myself to relax. I'm one of those people who if you come up to me and say, 'you need to relax' I get really irritated ha ha ha ha, go figure. Plus for me personally, I believe words have power. If I tell myself to release, I think of releasing the negative, releasing the stress, releasing the tenseness as I think of my muscles letting go.

Do your best to take that time to build a habit of just letting go of your furrowed brow, letting go of your tongue pressed tightly against the roof of your mouth, or perhaps of your jaw clenched tight. Maybe it's your hands that are clinched or maybe you don't realize that you've tucked your shoulders up to your ears. All of us have different ways of pulling that tension into our bodies. The trick is to slowly build awareness of it and learn to let it go. It takes a long time. I still do this today.

Mood #2 - Reset, Focus, What do you need?

What can you do for yourself that is going to remind you of what you're going after? What is going to help you feel not only happy and uplifted but refocused? Or maybe you need something to help you slow down? For some people, it isn't music or seeing something on YouTube or even a picture-style vision board. It might be a walk outside in nature. It might be a hike up in the mountains. It might be going for a drive. It could be sitting cozied up with a blanket, reading a book. What will work for you? Reflect on what makes your heart calm down.

Being motivated and feeling a kind of 'high' to accomplish all of the things is amazing. For me, it feels very similar to hearing one of my favorite songs that makes me feel invincible. It amps me up, I can't help but dance along and feel like I'm on fire, like I can accomplish anything in the world. It's one of the best feelings. Sadly, that mood, that feeling of empowerment, does not always linger.

"Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Music is everything to me, closely followed by the wonders of YouTube.

I have different lists on Amazon music that really help me either to process, feel empowered, or generally speaking, lighten my mood. I also have playlists on YouTube that are just for me that remind me of my goals and dreams.

What will you do? What will you set up for yourself to enable you to rest and reset your mood?

Take a Break #3 - Just take a step back

Sometimes the best thing we can do is simply walk away. That works for bullies. That works for a problem that you can't see how to solve. Sometimes you really just need to look at something a different way and that may mean you have to remove yourself from that particular thing. It could be your computer, because of whatever you're working on. It could be from your partner or from your kids. It could be you walking away from your own mental game and taking a bath with some kind of music or something that will really distract you. Sometimes what I have to do is pull up a movie that I really love so that I get lost and therefore slow my brain against whatever it is it's arguing about in my head.

Most days can feel like a race back to bed. Every moment can seem booked for work, life, kids, pets, health, you name it! Every day seems to go by at 90 miles an hour or faster. That means there's less of life that's being enjoyed because every day is caught up in the, well, I hate to say the phrase but rat race, that can be our daily lives. My friend, sometimes the thing that's most beneficial is just being able to step away.

Talk, vent, write #4 - Who can you talk to?

Sometimes I still undervalue how good it can feel to just let out all the feels, to just let everything out to somebody who I know is not going to judge me for my decisions my feelings, and my perspective.

I sincerely hope that you have someone you can go to, even if it's just one person. Somebody who you know you can be completely and utterly be unfiltered with. That's crucial, because our ability to just live, as our true self is the most freeing thing. I akin this feeling to letting go of a lie. Have you ever been lying to somebody and you finally open up and you tell the truth? Or maybe you've just been deeply wanting to tell someone something and it's been weighing on you until you finally let go and you say how you feel. Doesn't your body relax? Don't you feel lighter? Don't you feel a big sense of relief? I feel that same way when I just stop trying to filter everything I do and say. Don't get me wrong. We need to be aware of how we say things so that we're not unnecessarily cruel to people. It's important that we are sensitive to things that can be harmful. What I mean is we shouldn't hide our likes, dislikes, feelings, wishes, concerns, or anything. We need to spend more time living openly as who we are when we are alone.

Being able to open up to someone who can truly accept you is the most, oh gosh,

this is gonna sound so corny to say it out loud, but the most beautiful thing that can happen. It's such a relief to know that you can talk to somebody and they are not going to pass judgment on you. Let go of your feelings. If you don't have someone who you are sure you can be that open with then please consider journaling. Maybe go for a drive and talk it out loud, even though that may feel odd getting it out of your body. That way can feel very freeing! Try to do something that allows you to release whatever is making you feel negative.

I really hope that you can do right by yourself.

What can you do today that is going to help you recover your motivation and your focus? Can you create some playlists? Can you buy yourself a journal? Can you set up a weekly or biweekly lunch date or coffee date with a friend? Can you make it a regular occurrence that you step outside your house and get a walk in the fresh air? What can you find for yourself that is going to help you get that mental reset?

My dearest friend, I sincerely hope that you find what you need to help you reset and stay motivated. I'm not saying it doesn't suck. I think at times it can really suck trying to motivate oneself. That's why I am encouraging everyone to take a break and not push themselves to constantly do it! We need a break, we need to acknowledge what we need. I send you so much love and persistence. Please know that no matter what you are doing, I am sure that you are doing your best, and I am sure that it is more than enough. Please do what you need to ensure that you were living the most brilliant, bold and beautiful, empowered life you can lead.

Cheers, my dear friend.

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