Is anyone else feeling mad uninspired and drained? Is it just me? I am feeling so utterly and entirely exhausted. I am feeling disconnected, not creative, and not in the mood to be in front of an audience more nights than not. These are all very, very detrimental to my career choice, and also to the way that I am viewing the world. I'm just feeling stuck in a rut.
I am experiencing an intense burn out.
I keep putting things off, like I'm waiting for the weekend, waiting for my schedule to free up, waiting to be caught up on sleep, etc.
I am very good at convincing my brain that my excuses are valid!
I just feel like I want a change. I'm feeling impulsive (still the mood, y'all) and like I want to get in a car and drive until things look prettier than gray, filled with pollution and littering Chicago. Every time I wake up and drag myself out of bed, I open the blinds and pray for sunshine. Once every few days it happens, but mostly the mood has just been gray. And bleh. Very, very bleh.
So, how can we all collectively move from this mood to one of inspiration, drive, and creativity? I don't think there's a science to it, but I think there are definitely things we can do to help ourselves and others around us.
1. Hit the reset button.
This is something that is going to look different for everyone, depending on the aspects of your life you want to address. Do a quick scan, whether this be of your mind, body, or soul: where are you at? Does anything hurt? Are you feeling tired, does your head ache, are your eyes strained? Do you keep ignoring what your mind is trying to tell you? Once you know what's bothering you, you can begin to address it. For me, I've been feeling stuck in a rut. Sometimes, this can be easier to fix than we might think. Something as small as changing up your routine can aid you in feeling refreshed and inspired again. For example, switching up your morning coffee, or what time you wake up (can you wake up earlier? have a few more minutes to yourself to set your intention for the day?), or even the exercise you do (maybe adding a few minutes of yoga or meditation or a walk in the morning if you're feeling groggy, or a post-work run if you're feeling stressed out). These sound like trivial things, but once you address what your body is trying to tell you, you can begin taking small steps towards hitting the reset button.
2. Change your perspective.
Going at everything feeling already defeated is something I struggle with - like, why bother even trying, because there's just no way it'll ever work out. This is an attitude that is probably more common than one would think. An example I like to use for this is a traffic jam. We all know the feeling: being stuck in rush hour traffic, you're stressed out, cars are honking, and there's just no. way. out. So, what do you do? Cuss out the drivers in front of you for not moving (okay, not gonna lie sometimes this is therapeutic), or utilize this time to be productive? Listen, this is going to sound ridiculous, but hear me out. Next time you're stuck in traffic, thank the universe. I mean literally, out loud, tell the universe or God or whatever you believe in: thank you. Thank you for this time I get to spend with myself and my thoughts. I know I would much rather be anywhere but here, but I am here, and I am present in myself. How can you use this time to benefit you and the things you want to achieve? Maybe it's listening to an inspirational podcast, listening to an audio book, learning some new songs and lyrics, or even learning a new language by listening to a book or podcast. We are the writer's of our stories, and we can change the narrative of our lives anytime we want, simply by changing our perspectives.
The hardest step to take is the first. This is what I like to call "waiting for the weekend" syndrome, aka putting things off simply because you will get to them later. A telltale sign of being creatively drained is the feeling that you have nothing to work for, so what's the point of even trying? To combat this, you must determine your "why." Why are we doing the things we are doing? Why am I a musician? Why am I putting myself through the hassle of a college and musician lifestyle, which run on complete opposite time zones and cause me so much stress and loss of sleep? Is it worth it? For my question, my answer is yes. But, this is the first step to addressing yours. Why are you doing what you're doing? Is it helping you reach your goals? Is it bringing you and others around you happiness? Or are you subconsciously self-sabotaging your own goals? This is your first step. Next, once you determine your why, you have a reason to begin. Why do I play so many shows that stress me out at times? Because I love it, and it's helping me reach more and more goals every time. When I get overwhelmed or anxious at a venue, I can step aside and remind myself of this, and instantly I'm back in the zone.
It can be really easy to just be on autopilot throughout our days - but these days turn into weeks which turn into months which turn into years and, suddenly, it's the next New Year and we've gone another year taking no active steps to reach our goals.
At the end of the day, only you know if you are doing your best and living the life that you want to live. So, though I still feel a little drained, I am already feeling more inspired than I was when I started writing this. Between hitting the reset button, changing your everyday perspectives, and simply beginning, you will find yourself feeling just a little bit better, and before you know it, the sun will be shining through the window, and you'll find yourself smiling again.