Bronwen Sciortino: author & simplicity expert teaching easy ways to tailor-make healthy, happy & highly successful lives. sheIQ Life Pty Ltd
“When I woke up this morning, I felt blah. I was tired, it didn’t feel like I’d slept well and my brain already felt fried, before I’d taken a step out of bed.”
As an executive mentor, I hear this a lot. And the truth is, some days are like this. Sometimes too many days, if you’ve let life run you around a bit too much.
When you feel this way, the hardest thing is to get yourself going—to step into the day and achieve everything you’re “meant” to be doing. There’s an unspoken pressure, a demand that you switch on, forge forward and achieve, achieve, achieve. But it’s hard to be motivated to do anything when you feel like this, let alone find the inspiration to set the world on fire.
Withdrawal and dampening feelings are ways people cope with the world.
The visibility social media platforms have brought us, coupled with the 24/7 connectivity mindset, gives us an accelerated lifestyle that weaves its way through everything we do.
The mental load this brings into our day is significant. It can feel like many voices shouting their opinion from every corner of the globe. Very few people agree, and most people have forgotten how to have a civil conversation and instead are eager to become outraged. All this carries an angry and divisive energy, which wears you down.
To cope, you may find yourself withdrawing within yourself, dulling your senses so that you’re not quite so affected by it all… but that also has its consequences.
Excess, challenge and discipline seem to rule the world.
Enter the rise of the “sufferfest.” You’ve probably noticed the mud runs, raw challenges and “true grit run” options that have exploded around the world. People are signing up in droves, even those who have never run in a normal environment. There are apps you can follow so that you too can “suffer”—indoors and out. They’re literally called “sufferfest” apps!
I find there’s now a belief that unless you push and challenge yourself overwhelmingly—unless you suffer—you have no opportunity to grow. You’ve likely heard the saying: “No pain, no gain.” Well, now it seems that has been taken to an extreme degree.
The truth is this: Extreme solutions aren’t really required.
You may have found yourself gravitating toward the “sufferfest” mindset—whether that’s through physical, mental or emotional activities—because you’ve dampened your responses to the anger and angst around you, and it’s only through suffering that you feel any connection with the outside world.
In the moment, it may seem easier to withdraw a bit from the world than to spend a few moments understanding where the negative emotions are coming from and stop the doomscrolling in its tracks. This is understandable: You don’t want to fall behind or miss out by putting your technology away and disconnecting completely. Luckily, there’s a simpler solution available for you.
Here are three simple life hacks to gift yourself when inspiration is nowhere to be found.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
If you wake up feeling tired and low on energy, it’s usually a sign that… you’re tired and low on energy! Despite what you may have been taught, this isn’t normal, and the solution isn’t to push through it and force yourself to do things. Instead, in this moment, remember to be gentle with yourself, give your mind a break and change the direction of your thinking. Give yourself permission to be tired. Acknowledge that you need a break from discipline and forging forward. Let yourself slow down a bit to recharge and reenergize.
2. Brew a cup of herbal tea.
Herbal tea has been a part of the daily lives and ceremonial practices of societies all over the world for thousands of years. Herbs are a powerful ally in our health and well-being journey. There are so many herbs out there that can help reduce stress, and they’re literally at our fingertips and readily available through supermarkets, health food stores and health professionals. Plus, the simple act of brewing and taking the time to consume a cup of tea can rejuvenate your senses and bring some time and space back into your day.
Just breathe—nothing more or less. Breathing is an automatic function, but we have the power to take control and deepen our breathing, deliberately switching ourselves from being in a stressed state to a relaxed state. Abdominal breathing is a scientifically proven way to immediately move yourself into a relaxed state. It doesn’t take long (in fact, you could change your breathing while you’re waiting for your tea to brew), and you can do it anywhere and at any time.
Simplicity is the key.
These tips seem too simple, don’t they? But perhaps simple solutions are exactly what your tired mind needs when desperately trying to find inspiration in an environment where it doesn’t want to be found. So take some time to slow down and give yourself what you need; the inspiration will be flowing in no time.
You’ve pushed and pulled, forced and fought for a long time and it’s not working. Maybe it’s time to give the simple solutions a chance, to show you there are different options available when you know how to find them.