Battling a Lack of Motivation: Mental Health Awareness Week

I must begin with an apology for not posting in almost a month (WTF Rebecca?!), but the reason for being absent is also the reason I’m back—mental health. As you may know it’s currently mental health awareness week, and as mental health impacts our lives on a daily basis I’ve decided to post every day this week. Which, let me tell you, feels monumental currently.

Life is full of ups and downs. But there are times where, despite the fire in my belly, I can’t seem to get going. Is this just me? The past few months I have felt so unmotivated. Numb. As if a fortress has been erected around everything that makes me…me. I can feel her still here with me but can’t quite access her. All my emotions are muted.

I have so much to do, but it’s as if I’m being held down. I’m aware how stupid that sounds. Mostly, though, I’m filled with an overwhelming exhaustion. The kind that’s seeped into every cell of my being.

Burn out is super fucking real, guys, and getting over it feels impossible. When every breath you take leaves you drained, writing an entire goddamn novel, or finding a new job, seem as unachievable as climbing Everest in a bikini and keeping all your fingers.

However, I have climbed out of slumps before, albeit never ones of this magnitude. So, in hopes of kickstarting my own motivation in the act of writing them down, here are some tips!

  1. Start small.

The whole reason for my own lack of motivation, I think, is the sheer amount of things I want to achieve. I want to do big things, go to big places, and reach for the goddamn moon. But I have to face up to the fact I am in reality sitting on a kitchen chair in my parents house, working a weekend job at a pasty shop, and writing books in my ‘spare time’. (That’s a fun summary of my life. Why did I write that?) Essentially, I need to start with the little goals—get one blog post written, for example. Decide on my next project. Spend an hour browsing for jobs. All of these relate to the giant goals, but they’re broken up into bitesize chunks.

  1. Lighten the load.

In times where your mental health is struggling, scrap the non-essential jobs. A smaller list is far less daunting than a long one. If you’ve taken on a lot of jobs/ favours for friends, speak to them, explain the situation, and take those favours off the list. If your friends don’t understand then they aren’t good friends anyway. Good riddance to them!

  1. Organise!

I’m a biiiiig fan of organising. Right now, for example, I’m attempting to organise the folders on my laptop so I can see what projects I need to work on and what I don’t (and what I can just delete…). Whenever I’ve organised my life I always feel as though my mind is far less cluttered and I can actually begin to think about things again. I even have a colour coded spreadsheet for my agent queries!

  1. Take a break.

I kind of hate this advice, but when I asked on Instagram for motivation help this was the overwhelming suggestion. And I think I’m probably being unfair on myself by getting angry about it—it is valid to take a break. We do need to refill the well sometimes, and not work ourselves into the ground under some illusion we’re failing otherwise. Especially when life isn’t going your way, the tendency is to work more, work harder, and inevitable get a big chunk of burn out. Take a break, eat a KitKat, or something along those lines…

  1. Gain new experiences.

My favourite suggestion on Instagram was to go somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m a huge lover of travel and am never put off when I have no-one to go with (I want to see the places, damn it, I’m not waiting around for everyone else to sort their shit out first). Gaining new experiences can be inspiring as heck—a visit to Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, for example, inspired practically the entire backstory of the main character in my fantasy novel. Even when you’re not a writer, or artist, or whatever, a new experience can recharge your batteries like nothing else can. And even if it doesn’t, at least you get a holiday out of it.

For now, though, back to staring blankly into space in hopes I get past my mental walls sometime this year. I wrote this blog post, though, so I’m taking baby steps towards being functional again.

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