I've Been Feeling 'Meh'. Here's How I Got My Sparkle Back
By Bella Westaway | Brand and Content Specialist at Wild Women On Top
I’ve been feeling really ‘meh’. You know what I mean?
Flat. Average. A bit unmotivated. Instead of bouncing into the day with the sparking eyes and shiny hair of a Disney princess, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed, bleary eyed, I-really-need-a-haircut hair and gulping down a massive cup of coffee in the hope it perks me up. It rarely works.
It’s not depression. I’m reasonably happy. I can function at work, I’m somewhat hopeful about the future, and I can get dressed without descending into fits of tears because I’m missing a matching sock. The day doesn’t feel herculean. It just feels a bit… hard.
Apparently, there’s a word for what I’m feeling: languishing. It’s a crap word, but it’s better than ‘meh’ or ‘blah’ which is how I’ve been describing it, so let’s go with it.
Languishing is the absence of thriving. It’s the lack of vitality. It’s the dearth of spirit, joy, motivation, optimism.
When I realized I was languishing, I was a little pissed off. Day-to-day, I’ve got nothing to be down about and so much to be grateful for. I’ve got a job and a home and beautiful relationships. I’m exercising regularly and eating nourishing foods, I don’t spend too much time on Instagram and I even do yoga. I should be bloody thriving!
Turns out, I’m not alone. While most of us have somewhat recovered from the collective shock, panic and grief that besieged us in 2020, we’re still treading water. If the disasters of 2020 were waves crashing onto us repeatedly with little chance to catch our breath, 2021 feels like we’re swimming against a slow-moving tide. We’re ostensibly making progress, but we’re not really going anywhere and we still can’t see the shore. We’re just… over it.
The good news is, there’s lots of things we can do to support ourselves through this time, so we can thrive in the midst of the mess. The world’s not going back to normal, so we might need to adjust our routines, dial up the self-care, and tweak a few of our habits so we can rediscover the joy and lightness we deserve to feel.
Here’s what’s worked for me.
Exercise, because your body really is made to move.
Argh. I know. You didn’t want me to say this. I didn’t want to say this. But as much as it sometimes pains me, it never fails to make me feel better. Exercise is the cure for so many things!
I do pilates and yoga regularly, but recently I've been skipping a class here and there and I'm really feeling it. Incorporating consistent, joyful movement into each day will help you turn your light back on.
If you’re struggling to make exercise a regular habit, I’ve written about that here.
Challenge yourself and try something new!
Routine is super important for my mental health, but too much routine can leave me feeling stagnant and uninspired.
When we learn a new skill or try something that takes us outside of comfort zone, it ignites our inner sparkle! This weekend, why not explore a new trail, sign up for an event, visit a new suburb or make a new friend (jump into our Wild Women Community to find like-minded hiking buddies). Getting outside our comfort zone expands us, challenges us and helps us feel vital and alive.
Carve out some ‘me’ time.
I need time each week alone. Maybe to walk it out, maybe to cry, maybe to dance around the house in my underwear, maybe to punch a pillow. It’s one of the ways I process little disappointments or tough conversations that happen throughout the day. If I don’t get this opportunity, emotions tend to leak out at unexpected times, such as during a work meeting, which is super awkward for all involved.
If you don’t live alone (which is most people!) it can be hard to find ways to incorporate alone time into your routine. Here are some great ideas to make it work.
Do something for someone else
A little ‘me’ time is great, but too much and you’ll discover (create?!) problems you didn’t even know you had. Whenever I find myself brooding a little too much, I find doing something for others really helps.
It could be as small as inviting a friend for a walk or as large as planning a surprise holiday for your partner. Whatever it is, give it with no strings… just for the joy of it.
As Gandhi said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Get into nature
We all know nature is amazing for our physical and mental health, but we still don’t get outdoors enough. If you’re languishing, try immersing yourself in natural environments for at least half an hour every day for a week, and see how your mood changes.
You might go for a hike, take a stroll along the beach, have a dip in a lake or ocean, or simply sit in a park and appreciate the sky above you and the grass beneath you. It’s powerful.
Choose your attitude… because positivity is a choice!
When I realised I could choose my attitude and my thoughts, my whole world changed. Sure, there’ll be days when positivity and enthusiasm feels hard, but most of the time, we have the power to choose our mood. Sometimes, I know I need to leave my bad mood at the door because I am grown-ass adult, and I don’t want to negatively impact those around me.
This is not about repressing our emotions or having to be ‘happy all the time’, but rather realizing we have power over our outlook, our reactions, and our attitude.
Do things that make you feel in ‘flow’
Organisational Psychologist Adam Grant wrote about languishing in the New York Times recently. His antidote? Flow.
Grant defines flow as “that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away.”
I get into flow when I’m writing, hiking, doing yoga, hanging out with great friends, cooking, reading, decluttering, gardening, and listening to podcasts.
So take some time to turn off your phone, get rid of the distractions and find flow… and you’ll start to feel a whole lot better.