Some Mondays you leap out of bed well rested and chock full of ideas and enthusiasm for the week ahead. And some Mondays... you just really don't.
Whether it's the weather or your horrifying to-do list that has got you down (or even if you really can't put your finger on the cause) we're all familiar with the experience of "being in a funk." But no matter how low energy you feel, you probably still have to find a way to get out of bed and be at least somewhat productive. How do you do it?
That's what blogger Jason Kottke wanted to know when he found himself "tired, uninspired, and just generally not in the mood to tackle my to-do list" one morning recently. So he turned to the usual resource for modern wisdom seekers, the internet, asking Twitter:
I woke up this morning with absolutely no wind in my sails to do anything. What do you do to get yourself moving when this happens to you?-- Jason Kottke (@jkottke) February 20, 2018
As he reported in a post shortly after, the response was overwhelming. If you're feeling stuck in a rut, know you're not alone. Based on the social media response to this question at least, tons of folks face the same problem routinely and have come up with useful strategies for jumpstarting their energy levels and motivation, including:
No, this isn't the most original suggestion, but this standard advice is so popular because it works. There's an incredible amount of science to prove that breaking a sweat is a totally effective natural antidepressant.
2. Get out in nature
Again, the science behind this recommendation is incontrovertible. Something as simple as a walk in the park will boost health, perk up your mood, and improve your concentration and creativity. "The Japanese call this shinrin-yoku or 'forest bathing', which has been shown to lower stress levels, blood pressure, and even blood glucose levels," notes Kottke. Amazon built its newest offices around this truth.
3. Press the reset button
"Tackling the day's activities when you're down can feel like walking straight into a stiff wind. Doing something a bit different with your day can reset your mood and brain into a better mode," Kottke's Twitter friends advised. "Take a different route to work. Try a new coffee spot. If you listen to NPR in the morning, switch to music. If you usually listen to music, try some silence. Take a cold shower...or a long hot one." (Links are mine and lead to more info on the specific benefits of some of these suggestions.)
4. Think small
"If your lack of motivation stems from a lengthy to-do list, tackle the easiest items on the list first. Or break down some of the bigger to-dos into smaller items and do those. The idea is to score some easy wins and build momentum for the rest of your day," instructs Kottke. It's a technique plenty of other executives and leaders swear by.
5. Help others
Sometimes you're so low that focusing on your own feelings just makes you crankier. In these instances, it's often helpful to shift your attention from helping yourself to helping others, suggests Kottke: "Sign up to volunteer next week. Write a handwritten note to a friend who has been through a rough time lately. Make a donation to an organization you care about. Tell a mentor how much their influence has meant to you."
It's ridiculous how often our unhappiness comes back to something as basic as lack of sleep. So if you're tried, just take a nap already! Study after study shows that you'll more than make up for the time you lose snoozing with your increased productivity after you wake up.
Counting your blessings might not feel like the most natural move on days when the world feels hostile and gray, but neuroscience shows that if you can manage to consciously shift your attention to what is going well in your life, you'll begin to physically rewire your brain to make it easier to maintain optimism in the future.
Kottke offers a memorable quote from photographer Clayton Cubitt to illustrate this truth: "I think back to my struggles clawing my way out of the trailer park, the violence I survived, all the sh***y jobs I had to work and the sh***y bosses I had to tolerate, the extra 15 years it took me, and I find the renewable energy of gratitude for my survival."
Check out the complete post for lots more crowd-sourced ideas. Or share your own top technique here.
What's your go-to strategy for resetting your mood when you wake up in a total funk?