I look at my mood and productivity in terms of peaks and valleys. During the peaks, I am hyper-productive. I'm making TODO lists and checking everything off. I'm working out 5-6 times a week. I'm eating a balanced diet and drinking a lot of water. My skincare routine is tight and I make sure to do it every morning and every night. My valleys look completely different. Some days I only have enough energy to brush my teeth. I take a lot of naps. I spiral into a chain of guilt for not getting things done and not working out and not cooking which makes me not want to do anything even more. The only thing that doesn't change in a valley is that I'll still do the tasks that get me paid, and do them well, because nothing messes with my check. The amount of time I spend at a peak or in a valley varies. It could be a day or even a month.
Right now, I'm in a valley. Well, more accurately, I'm climbing my way out of a valley. I had big plans going into February for this blog and for things to do and try and I did basically none of it. It's tough to deal with that guilt and the anxiety that comes with feeling like you aren't being productive.
What do I do when I'm in a valley?
Step 1: Forgive myself
I try to forgive myself and give myself the space to just exist in that valley. Beating myself up about the things I'm not doing only creates a vicious cycle. I have to allow myself to just be in the valley without forcing any kind of "grind culture" mentality.
Step 2: Do small things
Once I'm no longer feeling the weight of my own guilt, I start working in smaller tasks. This month, I finally recycled the stack of computers I've had for 2 years. I'd always intended to recycle them but never got around to it. Getting that done was like seeing a ladder out of the valley suddenly appear. I've started cooking my go-to recipes; the recipes I don't have to think too much about and can pretty much make on autopilot. This helps me get back into the groove of cooking and motivates me to want to start testing out my own recipes again. I try to push myself to workout at least once a week for 30 minutes, but if I don't make it then I don't beat myself up about it. I motivate myself to get it done by reminding myself how much my workouts have helped me with my anxiety in the past.
Those two steps are what I use to begin to climb out of my valleys. The fact that I'm writing this blog post now is proof that it works out pretty well for me. What do you do when you're in a valley? How do you find your way back to your peak?
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