FEELING A BIT MEH? HERE ARE 10 STEPS TO GET YOU OUT OF A FUNK
Me and my friend Milly spend most days what'sapping each other about our respective businesses (and life). Milly runs a no-sugar-no-junk-no-nasties kids ketchup business called Kidchup - genius I know, I'd love to take credit for that name but alas I cannot. Anyway I digress. We spend the day talking to each other about life, business usually and every now and then we have to pull each other out of feeling a bit 'meh' as we like to call it.
Simply put, feeling a bit 'meh' can include the following symptoms:
- not wanting to get off the couch
- wanting to eat copious amounts of carbs or sugar
- finding a million ways to procrastinate and avoid doing the job you should be doing
- not really seeing the point (you know there is a point but right now you just can't be arsed)
- beating yourself up about not feeling like doing anything that day
- wanting to get into bed
- a spiral of internal dialogue about needing to do the next thing but not wanting to do it
- wondering what the world is coming to
- not feeling inspired
- feeling guilty for feeling 'meh'
- Not knowing whether to just indulge in the 'meh' or trying to get up a kick ass (even though you don't feel like it)
I think you get the point by now.
Everyone has these days but they are especially painful if you're self employed, freelance or a business owner. You essentially need to be a self starter and sometimes you just can't do it. So here are ten steps I suggest to escape the 'meh'.
It's totally cool to feel like this! It doesn't make you any less of a kick ass businesswoman and it doesn't make you weak. We all have those days. Don't make yourself feel down by looking at other women who are 'kick ass' and tell yourself you're not. It might just be that they're having a bum kicking day and you're not. One day when you are they won't be. Don't compare yourself to others, it's just gonna add fuel to the fire of 'meh'.
At this point of such 'meh'-ness you really shouldn't fight it. You need to distract and stop yourself feeling guilty. Permit yourself a couple of hours to go and indulge. Milly said she likes to wonder around the John Lewis food hall because it has a calming effect. I totally can dig that. Food always chills me out, as does cooking. Or watching shitty TV. An episode or two of the Kardashians or bake off or something where the world has no problems will definitely lower my stress levels and then after that I'll probably be itching to get stuck into something that actually uses my brain.
The best way for me to get out of a slump is to go and get inspired. Inspiration for me comes in many forms, it might be going to a museum or an art gallery, watching a movie or listening to amazing music. Blast some tunes and dance around your kitchen! Why not? Who gives a fuck? I also love getting out into nature. I know it's hard in the UK because our weather is 99% crapola but on the rare day that there's a glimpse of sunshine try walking in Nature. I love the National Trust and visit loads of their spots. I love Polseden Lacey - they have live jazz on the lawn in the summer. Banging. Places with water are great. Next best thing? Garden centres. I think it's clinically proven that you cannot feel stressed whilst perusing the aisles of a great garden centre*. Dig your hands into some earth. Pot some flowers.
* probably not true
I know when the 'meh' takes hold it's incredibly difficult to exercise. I do however guarantee that it will shake off the funk so you know, you can decide. This measure should be taken as both precaution to the 'meh' and also the solution when it does strike. I have a personal trainer and working with him has had such a positive affect on my productivity (you can read more about my fitness journey here, that sounds very wanky but you might like it).
I recommend the Nike Training club app, it's free and really good. Will get you sweating even just at home with no equipment or anything.
5. Talk to your homies
Working alone can be really hard. You don't have a colleague to talk to about that shitty email you just received or a friendly face to drag you from your desk and take you for a lunch at that nice cafe round the corner. You can spend some whole days without talking to a single human being. My best advice is to find someone in a similar position as yourself, career / work wise. Even fi you don't know each other that well I guarantee you they will too welcome a safe space to just say to someone 'I'm feeling crap today' without being judged. I don't know what I'd do without mine and Milly's constant back and forth voice messaging on whatsapp. I also really hope that no-one ever finds all of the voice messages we send to each other because today I told her that I'd dreamt I had both a vagina and a penis. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
6. Remove pressure
At this point you have to ease the pressure a little. Know that you're not going to achieve what you wanted to today. And be ok with it. No-one is dying as a result of your 'meh'. Unless you're some kind of doctor in which case I would advise you to not listen to anything I have to say. So yeah, be ok with not achieving much today. Which leads me nicely into my next point...
7. Set a new goal
So we know now that your day of 'meh' means that you won't achieve what you were hoping to. We're now also cool with it. Aren't we? Yep. Good. So now it's time to set a new goal. Realise that on a 'meh' day you're not going to achieve what you've set out to achieve so set a goal that's about half of what you thought you were going to achieve. Do it, and then be ok with it.
8. the sly tackle
I would like to attribute this point to the lovely Milly, who told me this is how she tricks herself into working. It's essentially all about breaking a larger job down into smaller bits. Looking at one job in itself can be freakin' scary, especially if we've told ourselves it can't be done / I'm not good enough / people will think it's shit (etc etc). By breaking your task into smaller bits you can feel good about ticking off one or two small bits at the start of the job. This in turn gives you a bit of a positive feeling and then before you know it you might be further into completing the task than you think.
Now I would like to point out at this point that generally my advice would always be to 'eat that frog' - i.e do the hardest task first. But on a 'meh' day it's lucky you get anything done at all, so I'll allow you on this one.
9. Tomorrow is a new day
Know that tomorrow is a new day, and you're going to pull your socks up and get on with it.
10. Check yourself
At this point I want you to do a bit of a check on yourself. How often are you feeling 'meh'? One or two days every month or couple of months is cool, and the above steps will hopefully help you shake it off. But if you're feeling like this all of the time, or the majority of the time, then I'd suggest you go and talk to a professional. Because even though I'm great at kicking a butt for an odd day off I'm by no means a specialist when it comes to long term problems. Feeling 'meh' every day isn't cool. Look at your diet, get on the exercise swag (promise you it's awesome!) and go and talk to your GP or a counsellor, even if it's just for a one off session. Maybe you just need to offload some shit. Maybe there is something more deep rooted going on. My mum is a counsellor so I know first hand the good work that it does for people!
Hope this has been helpful. BANISH THE MEH!