Spring Break Rebound

by Carilyn on April 2, 2012

Spring Break is over and it’s time to get back to work!  My kids are starting their Spring Quarter in school, which means we are on a new schedule, and trying to adjust.  Every 12 weeks, their class schedule changes, and we have to work out a new routine.

For me, it works best to just keep getting up at 4:45 regardless of their school schedule.  I need to have my first run done by breakfast or the whole day just gets thrown off.  But even having gotten a run (and 2 cups of coffee) in hasn’t kept me from feeling a little unmotivated to start back to work again.  This means it’s time to employ some tricks to get my momentum going.  I have learned that sometimes I just need to “trick” myself into feeling energized and motivated again.  Here is what I do:

1.  Rise.  Sleeping late, while comforting, makes you feel like you are starting behind the proverbial eight ball before your day has even begun.  Even if you have no interest in getting up, force yourself to wake up at the regular time and begin your day.  This is the beginning of your forward-moving momentum.

2.  Run.  If you have time, do some exercise.  Even if it is just a short run (or walk), getting the endorphins flowing will start your day off on the right foot and elevate your mood.

3.  Eat.  As much as I crave a yummy Rainbow Sprinkle doughnut from Winchell’s when I am down or unmotivated, I really try to avoid them (I wait until I’m happy and energized 🙂 ).  If you want to get your energy moving forward, you have to put fuel in the tank.  When you are tired, depressed, or stressed, it is easy to skip meals and/or eat junk.  Don’t.  Good food will help regulate your blood sugar and energy levels, which will help towards getting you moving in a positive direction.

4.  Chat.  Talk to a friend – but not too much.  A little kvetching is good for us all.  But a lot of kvetching is not.  Studies show that after discussing a problem or a down period with a friend or loved one, repeated “gripe sessions” aren’t beneficial – and can actually just prolong the period of depression or lack of motivation.  Often, we use talking as “false action” – we get a sense that we are doing something about our situation when in reality, we are just staying stuck in it.  Vent and then move forward with action.

5.  Laugh.  For me, this is a good time to get on the treadmill and run while watching bad reality television (how can you not laugh at the absurdity of the Real Housewives or Dance Moms), or a great comedy.  The combination of exercise and humor (plus the sense of accomplishment) has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to break a cycle of sluggishness.

6.  Clean.  This is the most controversial suggestion, but I swear it works.  Clean something. There is something about a little manual labor – and the immediate gratification that goes with it – that lifts the spirits and helps put a fire under our butts.  And if you have nothing to clean at your house, please come over to mine.

7.  Dance.  Like running, but more fun.  What’s not to love about moving and music combined?  So turn on some tunes and get your groove on.

8.  Dream.  One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to envision how you would like your life to look.  Daydream.  Picture how your ideal day would  be.  Who would you be surrounded by?  What kind of work would you be doing?  Where would you live?  Not only is daydreaming entertaining, studies show that it is very effective in helping you reach goals. Your dreams can come true!

9. Breathe.  If you’re reading this, I know you’re breathing.  But I’m talking about deep, conscious breathing.  When we are stressed, we are often taking short, shallow breaths and sometimes, even unconsciously holding our breath.  Stop for a moment and just inhale and exhale slowly.  This slows your heart rate and helps reduce adrenaline and cortisol production, which will dial back your physiological stress response.

10.  Sleep.  Just as I said rise early, go to sleep early.  Rest, after a full day, will really help restore you to a better mental place.  A good night’s sleep can do wonders for depression, anxiety, or just general grumpiness.  So, turn off the last episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” and go to sleep!

Now I know that what works for one person may drive another batty (please don’t watch Dance Moms if it will force you to drive your car off a cliff). But I hope some of these tricks will work for you when you are feeling a little out of sorts and wanting to spend the whole day on the couch eating Kettle Corn and drinking Orange Fanta (not that I’ve ever done that 😉 ).

What do you do to get yourself out of a funk and motivated again?


Happy Running!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Luis April 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

Carilyn, thanks for the wise and timely advice. I always feel unmotivated right after a prolonged break…Spring Break being one:) I will for sure put into practice 8 of the 10 points you list. I am purposely leaving out “Clean” and “Dance”. As for the others, I will do double of “Eat” and “Sleep”, Yeah!

Carilyn April 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

That’s great, Luis! I might do double dance and clean (because my house needs it!).

olga April 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Clean is a winner. Love me some of that, or organizing stuff (or lack thereof).
Read other people’s blogs or race websites with pictures and get inspired.
Register for something – that’ll get your booty out!

Carilyn April 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Yes! That is why I love reading others’ blogs – I get so motivated. Love hearing what everyone else is doing.

Char April 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I use a lot of those techniques when I’m feeling flat. Exercise is a must. That’s why the last few months have been so tough – how do you cope with the stresses of life when you can’t get your heart rate up? I can’t run every day but I’ve added in yoga to my routine. It’s nice and relaxing – gets you breathing deeply and gets rid of heaps of tension. I also use music. I sing – not well but I’m sure singing releases endorphins. And I bake. How can you possibly feel low if your kitchen is filled with delicious warm smells?

Carilyn April 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Ooooooooh! I wish I could bake! I can cook, but since I can never follow a recipe, baking is out. Funny how an extra pinch of salt here and there can ruin a perfectly good pastry 🙂 By the way, the cupcakes on your blog look delicious!

Marcia April 3, 2012 at 4:24 am

Great post! I find the sooner I exercise, the more productive I am. And yes, there’s always something to clean. Ha!

Carilyn April 3, 2012 at 9:17 am

Thanks, Marcia! I’m getting better at ignoring the mess 🙂

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