Missed meetings. Forgotten dishes. Lackluster performance.
Bad days happen. No one’s grind is completely perfect and everyone occasionally stumbles. That’s O.K. The term “bad day” may even be too harsh of a word. Unproductive moments creep up on all of us and most people have AT LEAST one unscheduled day per week that usually turns out pretty subpar.
Every so often though, the stars align in such a certain way that a string of these infamous days can happen in a row. A lazy Saturday can swiftly turn into a lazy weekend and a sluggish Monday can set the mood for the entire week. Before you know it, you discover yourself deep within a week of unproductivity. A week behind schedule. A week behind expectations. Which can really throw off your psyche.
When you’ve been on your hustle for a while and inevitably stumble and fall off, it’s easy to find yourself internally lost. Everything comes crashing downs and becomes undoubtedly overwhelming. The tunnel vision of our efforts that has been subconsciously developing becomes realized and all of our societal, familial, and professional obligations quickly come racing.
I recently found myself in a bit of a rut and used these tactics to help bring me back to center and continue the daily grind.
Sometimes similarity and daily or weekly routines gets to us and we suddenly become restless. We need a change of environment. So take a weekend off and go somewhere new - a place you know no one. Use the opportunity to disconnect from “the real world” and live in the moment. Often times, we get so caught up with our end objectives that we forget to realize the present. Going to a new place physically is often accompanied by going to a new place mentally. If you don’t have the travel bug or don’t have the means to disappear for an entire weekend, then just take a walk. Go out for an hour stroll in the evening completely alone. No headphones. No smartphone. No company. Just you, your mind, and an hour to declutter.
Remove Negative Energy
When it seems that we are trying our hardest to get our lives in order and become ultra-productive individuals, falling of the wagon can be hard emotionally. It is really easy to feel down. Thoughts of inadequacy and lack of willpower flood the mind. We are quick to beat ourselves up over the lost progress, lost time, and lost opportunity. But these feelings, if we have a slight change of perception, can actually be a thing of beauty. Instead of reacting to our overbearing emotions, realize that their appearance is an opportunity by the endocrine system to re-evaluate, refocus, and RESPOND! Don’t let all of the negative emotions cloud your vision. Take a few minutes to meditate and create the mental space necessary to accommodate your hectic life. As the Zen saying goes,
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
Talk it Out
Traversing down your mental thought process by talking through your emotions goes hand in hand with the first two recovery methods. In trying to remove the negative clouds from our aura and physically separating ourselves from our safe zones, we need to have deep, personal conversations with ourselves. Have honest conversations about how to get to why. Sometimes when we’re grinding and trying to remain undeterred from our goals, we put our laser like focus on autopilot and drive on the high road. Small nuances and inconveniences are disregarded simply as water under the bridge. With the downpour of a few bad days, eventually the water under the bridge crests and floods our path. By verbalizing our emotions and issues, we are able to drain the water - Pail by Pail, Word by Word.
Take a Scheduled - Unscheduled Day
If none of the above methods have brought you to full recovery, try this unorthodox method - take a scheduled unscheduled day. Yes, plan to not plan! Go into the day with the idea that you will only accomplish that which YOU WANT TO! There is nothing urgent nor important. You can run a marathon or marathon a T.V. series. No restrictions exist besides scheduling this unscheduled day and accepting what you ultimately accomplish with satisfaction. Scheduling an unscheduled day is a mental trick that will rewire the brain into the routine of planning and achieving a goal - however seemingly small or insignificant. Changing our entire perspective on our “lost time” will go lengths to ultimately change our experience.