Occasionally we can experience having an ‘off-day’. A day that doesn’t go according to plan. A day in which it seems as if the world is against you and you keep receiving bad news. You might have a few tricks up your sleeve that can help you to reset, feel better, and enjoy your day. You know them all, but this time they don’t work. What is your next move? What will you do when all the exercises that normally help you don’t work? What do you do when your methods are more difficult this time to perform? Or when your techniques simply stop having their precious effects?
Maybe you do need to rest. Maybe you have been through hours of work and are almost out of energy. Or maybe we need to get out of bed anyway and put in the work. There is much discourse about if we should rest when feeling low on energy or if we need to continue grinding on our craft. Is there a good option here? Is it possible to do both? How do we decide what to?
We all have those days that we are low on energy and maybe even feel down, sad, or discouraged. Days that we do not feel like doing anything. I think it is actually quite normal to feel discouraged once in a while. The state you are in does not define who you are. So if you FEEL discouraged, it does not mean that you ARE discouraged. Once I realized this I could allow myself to separate from my feelings and look at them from a distance.
If we give in to a discouraging state and let the thoughts and emotions that come with it control our day, we have just lost a day. That is why it is important to be honest with yourself. When we wake up and feel demotivated to even start the day, we should separate ourselves from our state. If we would let our state decide how we would live out our days, we would be all over the place. by separating ourselves from our state, we can clearly think about what is best for us at that moment.
Your feelings do not equal who you are. Your emotional state can be influenced by many factors, like the way you use and move your body, but also the thoughts that you have. Think about it. How do you move your body when you feel sad or unmotivated? Are you active or passive? Do you have your chin up or is your head down? And what type of thoughts are you having? Are these positive thoughts or negative ones?
You probably know what your ‘recipe’ is for feeling unmotivated. If this is true (which is certainly is and if you don’t know it yet I bet you have to think a bit more specifically) then you also know what your ‘recipe’ is to feel motivated. Something that might help you figure out what types of thoughts you have and how your physiology is when you feel motivated, is to actually go back to a memory of you feeling motivated. Or, think about what you assume you would do and think when you felt that way.
It matters if you have high or low energy. Having low energy can make you feel tired all the time and unable to complete tasks. It can drag you down, make you feel exhausted, cause difficulties to concentrate, and make you sleepy during the day. Having high energy does not only elevate your state, it also makes you better at problem solving, makes you more creative, productive, and effective. So it benefits what you do and how you feel.
Does this mean we have to be active all the time? No. We can get energy from resting, if we rest efficiently. What I mean with resting efficiently, is taking rest to restore your energy. This means resting your brains as well. Did you know that your brains use up about 20% of your total energy every day? If you allow yourself to take a rest because you are having an off day, that is totally OK. Take that rest, recover that energy, and get back at it again. Allow yourself to take a step back once in a while.
So if you are having an off-day it is good to rest. Allow yourself to enjoy a rest to restore your energy. It is also good to keep going, even if you are just following the steps. The most important thing that applies to both options, is that you are being honest with yourself. Ask yourself if it serves you and do not be too harsh on yourself. It is important to be in control of when you take a break and not let your state decide that for you.