I have been sitting here staring at the title of this blog post not knowing what I am going to say. I know that I want to write about it, but am feeling stuck… It’s as if I need the inspiration to write about inspiration! Have you ever felt this way? What have you done about it? And have you done anything but succumb to feeling low and uninspired, ready to give up? Has there been a trigger for it?
It’s the end of the year. December and January are widely believed to be some of the most difficult months for many people. For some people, it’s basic things like lack of warmth in the house when it’s cold outside – simply because they have to make a hard choice between eating and keeping warm. For others, it’s relationship issues, a business not going well, an unsatisfying job or lack of social interaction.
While December brings excitement in anticipation of Christmas, January is the month when credit card bills start arriving. It is also a month of bitter cold, very little sun and endless nights.
I have read somewhere that January is the month of divorce and separation, and sadly – a sharp rise in homicide and suicide. It is also a season when depression hits many people. I wrote about it some time ago, and about natural alternatives to antidepressants.
I now believe that I am possibly affected by the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I don’t believe that it’s depression. I have had 7 full years of it and know what it feels like. I just think that it’s a time when I feel deflated and uninspired (hence the title of the blog post). I also get easily tired in winter. Are these things – fatigue and inspiration – connected? I think they are.
I have been on a webinar today. My coach Lynn Terry is someone I always get lots of inspiration from, and her webinars make me think fast and comment a lot. But today I felt flat. Almost at the end of the webinar, I posted a comment about feeling uninspired about what I was doing and even wanting to make a total change in my business life.
Lynn’s response was to ask me what I would tell a person who came to me for help – with the same feeling I had described (carrying a heavy bag on my shoulders). I didn’t understand the question at first, and then it dawned on me that it was simpler than I thought. And I started coming up with answers.
The question was – how can I help a person with the same problem (in physical terms), improve their life? What could I offer as an option? That was a simple question which required a simple answer. There was no need to overcomplicate it which I have a habit of doing. Simplicity is key to success in everything we do.
Lynn also said that people often feel like giving up on the cusp of a major breakthrough. I find it inspiring. Maybe I need to learn to believe in myself a bit more. How many of you have given up on something you have been working on? What would have happened had you continued? Do you think you would be in a different place now?
I think that sometimes we lose perspective in our life, especially if we have been doing the same thing for too long. The focus is important, but we should always be aware of the surroundings to avoid tunnel vision and boredom. I am asking myself – have I been looking in the same direction for too long? Should I widen the scope? Should I simply take breaks from my business and do something totally unrelated to regain my inspiration? How should I deal with fatigue?
All of these questions seem a bit jumbled, and there is no simple answer – like, take this remedy and you will be ok. I can only try and see what helps. The most important thing that Lynn has said is – “Finish what you have started and then think about other things.” I agree with it wholeheartedly, which is why I stick with what I do even when I feel uninspired. A disciplined, diligent schoolgirl in me keeps pushing me forward – until I regain my inspiration, which I believe I will since I have felt this way more than once.
In the meantime, I am going to make my health and wellbeing a priority. What will it involve?
- Earlier bedtime. Going to bed late is not good for us since it deprives us of a big portion of melatonin – a hormone which is responsible for our health and vitality. People who don’t sleep enough are more prone to infection and energy slumps. Chronic deficiency leads to more serious consequences. So I am going to train myself to go to bed half an hour earlier every 4 weeks.
- Meditate daily. How many times have I promised this to myself? Well, this time I am determined. I have signed up for a wonderful course by Edward Vilga. He is so generous as to send us his student’s various gifts, and I have recently found 2 fantastic meditations in my mailbox, which has prompted me to start meditating. Each sequence is 8-12 minutes long, but the benefit is enormous. I came across Edward through his course I bought on Daily OM website – A Year to Get Rich with a Purpose. It’s a course like I have not seen before. It addresses our hangups about money in a way that untangles many knots.
- Stop worrying. I am also going to take this advice from another free book Edward has sent – “Upward Dog”. It’s about what we can learn from dogs’ attitude to life. It’s about keeping things simple, apart from all else. I am a master of over-complicating things. Dogs teach us to live in the moment and enjoy it. They also teach us not to worry and trust that all will be ok. Worrying takes too much of our life. Well, it takes too much of my life for sure, and I am determined to change it.
- Take regular breaks without feeling guilty about it. I think that I have become obsessed with work and haven’t even noticed it, to the point of thinking that if I spend a few hours away from my laptop everything will stall and fall apart. Have you ever felt this way? So I have had an idea. I am going to make a list of things which I enjoy doing and which are good for me in this way or another. Knowing that they benefit me in some way as well as being enjoyable will help me to not feel guilty about it.
- Since this post is about inspiration, I have just had another idea. I am going to make a list of what makes me feel good and bad about my business, and what I can do to have more of the good and less of the bad stuff in it – be it my feelings or real stuff that takes away from feeling inspired. I remember Lynn giving us a number of brainstorming sheets, and this task was one of them. I need to revisit those sheets.
- Nutrition… I started eating low carb in August this year – following Lynn’s very inspiring example, workshop and challenges she runs regularly – see her low carb blog here. Although the results have so far been quite modest, I feel better for not eating bread and other carb-rich foods. I just need to make sure that I include more vegetables in my diet. Otherwise, I feel no inclination to change what I have started, and it feels good to be in control of my food choices. It’s a powerful feeling.
- Water… While I drink a fair amount of water, when I get busy I forget to drink enough. So now I have a glass right on my table. I also need to invest in a water filter. I used to have one, but moving house was a challenge, and now many things I had are staying in my garden shed. I have seen huge spiders crawling out of the shed, so am a bit scared to look through the shed for the many useful things I have there. That’s a challenge I am setting for myself – sort out my shed when it gets warmer. But in the meantime, I am going to order a new water filter and cartridges.
- Exercise… I joined the gym a couple of months ago. I go there once a week but am challenging myself to increase my visits to twice a week. I don’t like going to the gym, but know that it’s good for me, so am making myself go, especially considering that it’s winter and the weather is rather cold and rainy for walks sometimes.
- Reading… I love reading before bedtime. History is one of my favourite subjects, and at the moment I am reading lots of books about the history of Russia. Although it’s giving me a lot of pleasure, I read until 4 am, and then wake up late. So I am going to allocate 1 hour to reading, and definitely earlier in the day.
So my search for inspiration has produced the answers I haven’t even known I’ve had. Writing a blog has turned into a brainstorming exercise. This is a thing about blogging – once we start writing we often come up with most unexpected answers. Have you tried it? What inspires you and what stops you from achieving the results you are after? Do you give up too early?
This is a time when many of us look back at the year which has almost finished. We evaluate it from our own perspective and values we hold dear to our heart. We look back at the start of the year and what we promised ourselves to achieve. What have you achieved that you set to achieve early in the year? Where did you stall? What have you learned from it? And what is it that you want to achieve this year – in every area of your life? Most of all – what are you grateful for?
I have found that when we look at our achievements, people who are dear to us, our pets, the good stuff we have, lessons we learn from even hard experiences and simple things we sometimes don’t even notice from the position of gratitude we feel truly inspired. So gratitude is going to be the focus of my inspiration in 2018.
I know it’s a challenge, but it’s worth an effort and commitment. Once we have mastered the art of appreciation, it becomes easier to start appreciating ourselves and results of our hard work. And that means being consistent and not throwing results of many years of work out of the window (as I feel doing sometimes).
And another one is overthinking. I have to learn to recognise when it happens and nip it in the bud. It’s, of course, important to make a plan, but spending too much time planning and perfecting things stalls our progress big time! There needs to be a balance between planning and actually doing stuff that matters.
What inspires you? What stalls your progress? What are you grateful for? What would you like to do/have more and less of in 2018? What are the absolute priorities that you are going to give 100% focus to? I’d love to hear from you. Ask yourself these questions, since I believe they will help you to do the kind of brainstorming I have done here – and hopefully find the answers you have been looking for.
P.S. I nearly forgot about the most important thing – having fun! I am going to bring fun back into my life. With all the challenges of the past few years, I have forgotten what it feels like. The fun goes back on my weekly – and even daily – planner. Small things that I enjoy doing… like reading a book I like, watching a film, booking a ticket for my favourite show, simply going out and enjoying the sun on a sunny day. What fun things would you like to do more of? Let’s start making those plans – and living them! 🙂