Have you read or heard people telling you that now, with all this extra time, you should be super productive? I don’t know about you, but for me, this “extra” time doesn’t feel all that great. There is also extra stress, extra pressure, extra emotions to navigate; extra anxiety, depression, and effort put forth to not fall into old habits.
So, productivity isn’t really a main concern of mine right now. While I hope to use this time wisely, I don’t put pressure on myself to perform. Instead, I choose to set expectations for myself and do the things that need to be done to keep myself from heading south, even when I don’t feel like doing them.
Motivation is probably the biggest thing I’m lacking during these times, especially when it’s cold and rainy outside—hello couch, you’re looking lovely! So I do what I know will motivate me. I create a daily to-do list with things that make me feel better, and I check off each item once I complete it.
I didn’t do this the first couple weeks of staying at home, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I picked up a journal a few days ago—a brand new journal, to be exact. I needed that additional motivation to get writing again, and a new journal always sparks some creativity.
From journaling my thoughts and feelings, to meditating on the verse of the day (thanks YouVersion Bible app), to writing a daily “to-do” list—which includes journaling, so I can cross it off right away—this writing exercise has already proven to help me align my heart and mind for the day. While it doesn’t make everything perfect, it is a good foundation that has made the past few days sail a little smoother.
Even if it’s just going for a quick walk around my apartment complex, I try to be active at least one time each day. And without being too strict on myself, I attempt to hype myself up enough to do an at-home workout at least every other day. Nothing too extravagant, just a little something that will help me stay in shape since I’m simply not moving as much during the day as I usually do. And if I’m really not feeling it, I’ll ask my sister if she wants to do a FaceTime workout together for accountability.
More than just staying in shape, exercise is something I know needs to be done because it releases the happy hormones that help me fight against depression and anxiety and whatever other negative emotion is trying to hang out with me that day.
I’d like to pause right here in the middle of this and take a moment to say, I also…
- Watch TV
- Scroll on my phone
- Read the news
- Eat too much Chick-Fil-A drive-thru
- Snack on Cadbury Eggs (thanks Grandma)
- And lounge around…
But I know if that’s all I did all day long it wouldn’t be long before I was depressed and hopeless… so, I keep myself accountable by doing the things I know I need to do as well, like…
It makes it easier that my sweetheart is quarantining with me because cooking for two helps me get a little more motivated than if I have to make dinner just for myself, but I’ve been using this time to be more intentional about cooking and actually trying some new recipes. Since I’m working from home, I can prep throughout the day, so when it comes time to actual make the food, it’s quick and easy and tasty. Speaking of tasty… the Tasty app is where I come up with fun new meals to try!
As much as I like to write, I really don’t enjoy reading all that much. The book has to really interest me from the start. I can’t tell you how many books on my shelf have only be opened to the first chapter.
Fortunately, I had pre-ordered a book by Pastor Matthew Barnett of the Los Angeles Dream Center called One Small Step about a month ago, and it released this past week. I’ve committed to reading one chapter a day, and so far… I’m on chapter three.
Even when I don’t feel like reading, I know hearing someone else’s thoughts, gaining a new perspective, and getting myself out of my own head will be beneficial. So while one chapter a day might not seem like a lot to some people, for me it is what I know I need to do to help keep my mind right.
Something Productive… to me.
I try to give myself one productive thing to do each day. Just one. And by “productive,” I mean productive to me, not measured by any one else’s standards. Today, it was writing this article—not building a whole new business from scratch, not writing an entire book or running a marathon, just writing one simple article for my website.
Though not a huge task, I do get to check it off my list and feel the satisfaction that comes with completing something you’ve set out to do. Doing one small productive thing each day might not feel like much, but the small things add up, and you’ll soon realize you actually are getting stuff done without putting a ton of stress and pressure on yourself.
During this time when depression and anxiety could easily get the best of me, I do my best to do the things I know will help me stay on the bright side. Do I always feel like it? No. But I know that I will feel better once I do it, once I start. And the satisfaction of starting with one small thing gives me the little bit of energy, motivation, and desire to do the next. Little by little I make sure I’m taking care of myself.
What are you doing these days to take care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it?
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