Mindset Reset: Taking Power Over Your Mood and Turning Things Around

At the beginning of this month, I was at a "high point". I was studying for 3 to 4 hours a day, working full-time, taking on extra classes outside of work, exercising for 30 minutes to an hour a day, and maintaining my social life by doing calls on Discord every free second I got. For a little while, I was able to maintain this and I really thought I was flourishing.

Then, I hit a wall.

I couldn't keep up with it anymore. Suddenly the onslaught of messages from friends and obligations I took on burned me out to the point where I had so many things that I needed to do that I couldn't do anything at all. I laid there in bed for hours, immobile while my brain was screaming at me that I needed to be productive.

This is a cycle I often fall into and when you get into this kind of headspace it can make you feel like each day is bleeding into the other, all the time you're "wasting" sitting around and doing "nothing". It can feel defeating, to wake up and feel like the day has already passed you by and there's no chance to recover the time you've lost. You feel gross, tired, and stuck in this deep, dark hole.

With the New Year behind us, I'm sure many have suffered from this kind of burn out recently. You've tried hard to work on your resolutions and didn't get to a point where you felt satisfied. This is the point where some people give up and throw aside the resolution for the rest of the year, thinking it's impossible because they couldn't accomplish it in one month.

The more effective solution is to take at what is going on around you reassess what is inhibiting you and then slowly build up your motivation. Maybe the one holding you back is yourself. Maybe it's the extra work you took on, your exams at school, your coworker at work, your living situation, etc.

The point is: I'm no stranger to episodes of productivity and then rapid decline. Story of my life! In this post, I'm going to detail things I do to help me recover from being burned out and ultimately place myself back in a space where I feel like I can get things done without overloading. I hope this helps you in some way.

If you look good, you feel good

I 100% believe that the way we look on the outside is a reflection of how we're feeling on the inside. If you put on clothes you love, fix your appearance a bit, and freshen up, you feel more confident and energized. I think there's a lot of power in your physical appearance so if you are finding yourself feeling miserable laying in bed all day in sweatpants and a raggedy top, you cannot underestimate the power of a shower and outfit change. I'm not going to lie: the process of getting out of bed and going into the shower to restart is difficult. Frankly, it feels terrible to do at first but there is so much energy in this activity especially when you towel off and start picking out your outfit. I always feel a significant change in mood when I do this as if the shower was the reset button that I needed to snap back.

Eat intuitively

Sometimes when my mood really takes a dip and I'm feeling out of whack, I notice that I've been so busy with work that I haven't eaten a proper meal. I like to pick out a food that I can eat slowly and be deliberate with rather than shoving something in my mouth and moving on. 

Pick something that has a prep process, like cutting up strawberries. I found that sitting there and not multitasking, just focusing on my food helps me not only to feel better because I'm nourishing myself but also to stop juggling so many things and appreciate the food in front of me. 

Do something "impactless"

I used quotations for the word impactless because I think the definition of what's impactful kind of varies on the person. For example, if you have a lot of assignments that are stressing you out, take some time to do something that has no impact on your work but is simply something that you enjoy doing on your own. 

This is a solitary task that you can devote all your attention to for a short period of time. This can be anything. Make some art, do a face mask, embroider a flower, or even going for a walk. Listen to your body and do small tasks that separate yourself from your responsibilities. I have some tasks I was feeling really overwhelmed with yesterday so I booted up my mini projector and watched my favorite movie again. This hour and a half was the quiet time that I scheduled for myself and it definitely lifted my mood. 

Utilize the power of music to change your environment

Your environment is a major factor in how you feel. If my room is messy, my mind is the same. I'm someone who's really affected by music so if I put on a dance playlist, within a few songs my mood will be boosted to suit the music. 

Create a playlist filled with songs you love and put it on when things are overwhelming. Once you get in the groove, you can attempt things to improve your environment like cleaning your room or putting away laundry. As long as it's a light task you feel you can handle, listening to music might be the boost in mood that helps you see the task as more doable!

An important note is that when you do feel better don't rush back into work right away.

Set a pace for yourself and set realistic expectations for what to get done in the day. If you get one thing done and that's all you do, that's still one thing off your to-do list, so be proud of it! We're oftentimes overwhelmed by the amount of something when the work itself really may not be that complicated so if you break it into pieces it might be far more approachable. This gives you bite-sized goals to accomplish that can help you feel more encouraged. 

For example, I was stressing about what blog post to write, so I wrote a heading and left it at that for a day. The next day I read the heading again and wrote down some points, but didn't do the whole post. I eventually wrote the post when I felt more inspired and less stressed about things outside of my blog, and in the end, I was happier with my work than if I had rushed through and made something just to get it out there. 

You don't have to do one hundred percent to be considered successful! You can take it at your own pace and finish when it feels best for you. 

Thank you all for reading, and I believe in you!!