Random Musings

Seeking Advice to Help Me Win Against Myself?

Hello, lovelies.

This has been a weird week in what has been a bizarre, depressing, overwhelming, terrifying–and yet, in some ways, desperately needed–year. I’m still working from home and my day job is in the throngs of it’s busiest season, so most days, I’m left drained and overworked. I’m also still working on client editing for my freelance business and editing my own novel. Then, there is reading for fun I want to do. Blog posts to read and write. Video games I want to play, movies I hope to watch. Time to spend with the boyfriend and our pets. Workouts I’d like to complete. A routine I want to establish. There is no limit of options of how to spend my time each day.

And yet, this week especially, I’ve struggled to do most of it.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been able to cross a lot off of my to-do list, so we’re pretty good on that front. It’s been more of a struggle to start doing each of these things, like a mental battle to just begin. Regardless of whether it’s something more challenging, like waking up earlier (since I’m not a morning person) or something I truly want to do, like playing video games or work on my novel, I’ve been struggling to get myself to start to do the things I both want and need to do. Even when I know I have a deadline. Even when I know it’ll make me happier. Even when I know I enjoy it, or it’s good for me, or that I’ll be glad I completed it, later.

My routine, for example.

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I really want to start getting up earlier and working out before work in the morning. Not only would it help me be more active (which I really need, since I’ve become so sedentary since going remote; plus, being active helps my mental health a lot), but I think I would just be happier in general if I was able to get up earlier and have a morning routine, instead of rolling out of bed right before work and jumping straight into that. Yet, despite setting my alarm in the morning, I always snooze it. Even though I know I’ll be happier if I get up. Then, not only do I not get up, but I have this guilt attached, like I’m failing at doing the basic things I need to, in order to make myself happy. This guilt follows me around for the rest of the day, like a cloud that I can’t escape.

This has been happening a lot–and always has, for me, but it just seems more noticeable, of late.

Despite how happy reading makes me, I’ll find myself struggling to pick up a book before I go to bed.

Despite knowing that going for a walk with my dog is good for both me and her (despite my back pain while doing so), I’ll find myself making excuses or immediately logging onto my PS4 after work instead.

Despite knowing that working out will help boost my mental health, I’ll find myself skipping workouts and letting my depression take over.

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It’s honestly exhausting, because I know the things I need to do in order to help boost my own happiness–something that’s particularly challenging currently, given the state of the world right now. Yet, I’m struggling to convince myself to do them? How is that even a thing?

I just wanted to reach out and see if anyone had any advice to combat this? Because I’m really tired of having shitty mental health days and would love to start doing these simple things to boost my happiness, but I can’t seem to overcome the main barrier–my own brain–to even get started, each day.

Any advice would be really appreciated. ❤

Cheers.post signature

13 thoughts on “Seeking Advice to Help Me Win Against Myself?”

  1. That’s so frustrating for you Nicole! I get the feeling of having “wasted” the morning. As for suggestions, here’s what I have, with my limited knowledge of how you have been operating/prefer to operate:

    With things that are more in the “hobby” category that you’re trying to tackle, I’d say don’t force it if you aren’t in the mood. I’ve been struggling a bit with focusing on reading these last few months, and I’ve found that if I try to read when I really feel like gaming, I just can’t focus, so what’s the point?

    As for having trouble starting things, have you tried any variation of “rewarding” yourself after you do something that was more of a chore/was good for you but you didn’t want to? Rewarding could be anything. After client edits you get to play video games. Or watch a half hour of television. Or get a cookie. Something to give you a boost after you did the thing you didn’t particularly didn’t want to start in the first place.

    Lastly, (and I don’t know if this is helpful in your particular situation), I’ve found sometimes that if I mentally block out a day to a bunch of “unfun” stuff, I’m more prepared to tackle it. Since you seem to be dealing more with ongoing projects, this might not be as helpful, but I’m throwing it out there.

    Hang in there Nicole! Hope you find a way to overcome this!

    1. Thank you SO much for all of this advice, Caitlin. I really appreciate how much thought you put into this and how much time you put into this. I appreciate this more than you know! ❤

      I might try the rewarding thing. I used to do that (I think?) a long time ago, so I might try that and see how that goes. I also need to do better at recognizing when I'm not in the mood to do something and not force it or if my depression is just flaring up and just starting will make it better. Not 100% sure how to do that yet, but here's hoping I can figure it out.

      Thank you SO much, again. You're incredible. ❤

  2. How frustrating! It’s so easy to fall into that trap if lying in, I’ve been guilty of it when working from home too. I think you’re onto the right idea of working out before work – in my experience, that’s been great for mental health, and helps promote going to bed at a reasonable hour that night… Which encourages getting up early the next day! I set an alarm in my phone and then slide my phone across the floor, so I need to physically get out of bed to switch it off.

    There’s a book by Chris Fox called 5000 Words Per Hour – it’s all about building up the writing muscle with quick sprints and cramming as many words in as possible, but there’s a section on editing sprints as well which might help your current projects? It comes with a spreadsheet with a tracking formula, and there’s a definite dopamine rush at seeing the progress, which perks up the day.

    Hope you find a way out of the slump!

    1. Yeah, absolutely. I think I need to try and put my phone somewhere else, to physically force myself to get up to turn it off, so then I’ll make myself get up. And you’re right, I’m hoping, by working out in the morning, I’ll start the day off right and get my sleep a little bit better in control.

      Hmm, I hadn’t heard of that. I’m definitely going to check it out, so thank you! ❤

  3. Oh my gosh, Nicole, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it’s so disheartening, but I just want to say – you are not alone! I’ve been feeling the same way, so has my partner, and I was talking to two other friends just today who also said they were struggling with this. I’m definitely no expert, but I’ve been trying to read up on various causes for this, beyond the pandemic, which is a big part of it, and depression, which is absolutely part of it. I’ll text you, don’t want to write a saga in the comments 😛

    Please be gentle with yourself, you have so much going on! You’re figuring out what works for you, and that takes time. I’d say just for now, try one small new thing for a few days, and see how you feel? Sending lots of love ❤

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re dealing with something similar to this, too (as well as so many that you care about). Though, it’s not depressing, is it, with everything that’s going on? ;/ But still, I appreciate SO much you reaching out and your advice and your text, too. ❤ ❤

      I am going to try and see if I can set up a bit of a routine this week and see how it goes! Thank you so much for your encouraging and just always being there. I adore you.

  4. Obviously there’s some motivation for you here, but knowing how depression can keep you from doing things you want to do, I’m afraid I don’t have any advice. What has worked for me is some natural anti-depressants and just telling myself “now, do this” and then promising myself a type of reward for when I finish.

    1. Thank you for this, Davida! I definitely need to get better at just STARTING, as I know it’ll go better if I could just do that. I’m so glad you’ve found a system that works for you, though!

  5. Ahoy there matey! Sorry to hear that ye have been struggling and I understand yer call for ideas. I have a few to share (with some explanation). So I too have been having a year where I can’t seem to begin anything that I want to do. The energy is low and getting out of bed and work is all I can seem to finish. I am not even saying the year is going badly for me. I am just not accomplishing goals or getting into the routine I need. Exercising is necessary and yet I can’t always bring myself to combat the pain it entails. I don’t even have energy for fun activities like reading and blogging so I am behind on things I love. And necessary things like balancing my accounts. At least I pay my bills on time! One thing I started this year was habit tracking. I am notorious for starting habits that . . . well don’t stick to become habits. I got a tracker and picked simple things like drinking more water, brushing my teeth, walking every day, etc. At first I was very grumpy that I wasn’t checking off everything on me list everyday. Most days I don’t Then I realized that knowledge is key. It is not a punishment system. If I have a whole year of data, I can see how the habit forming ebbs and flows. Taking time to check the list at the beginning and end of the day allows me to keep my goals and habits in my mind with the idea that is a life long approach towards improvement. So the habit goal transformed into tracking what percentage of these goals I will accomplish. Because any progress was better than none and I can add and remove later. It’s a work in progress and I am trying to be nice to meself. The other suggestion, that I have not been doing meself, is a gratitude or task journal. I just found one last night that is from the 3 months in 2015 which is the ONLY time i had one. And it was enlightening. Because 2015 was another rough year and I tend to remember the pain and/or failures. But there was so much daily good and looking back was a marvel. So I am going to resume the journal beginning today despite the fact that I don’t wanna. I may not feel like I have the energy but the proof is looking back at my old one brought joy and satisfaction. Hmmm I should add that to my habit tracker. Thanks for the idea matey! I don’t know if either of those things are useful but I am impressed by what ye do seem to accomplish despite (in spite) of the troubles. ARRRR!
    x The Captain

    1. Always great to hear from you, Captain!! And thank you for those ideas! I actually really love both the idea of a habit tracker and a gratitude journal; because you’re right, I think we sometimes only get caught up in the negatives of memories and current realities and forget some of the good. I may have to try these out, but I’m so glad it’s helpful for you. And I hope you’re managing, despite struggling with some similar things (and I hate that for you, because this sucks quite a bit).
      xx

  6. ugg this is so hard! I know once when I was in a similar place and really wanted to get up, I got a close friend to get up with me. She and I would call each other EARLY in the morning and chat for just about 5 minutes until we were awake enough to get up and do what we want. I know with the social distancing it’s hard to, say, meet a friend for a walk early, but maybe meet with masks? Or across the street? For some reason for me, I am more motivated if there’s someone else involved. when it’s just me, I snooze for hours.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking about trying to rope my boyfriend into doing this with me, but I don’t think he’s too keen just yet. But maybe I could try that (because I’d definitely be more motivated with someone else counting on me). Thank you for this!!

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