Pacing feet, tapping toes, chewing the skin on your fingers. Flicking through the TV channels. Opening and closing the fridge 20 times. Aggressively scrolling Facebook. Staring into space. Do you ever just feel at a loss? Like you don’t know what to do with yourself? If so, you are not alone! As someone that is often travelling, or generally ‘on the move’ a lot – I tend to feel this when I stop. Not only do we all feel this way sometimes, but there are actually steps we can take to make us feel a little more ‘found’ again. So, here it is, step-by-step of what to do when you don’t know what to do…
Write a list a to-do(ne) list
I LOVE a list. But here’s my secret… I often start my to-do lists with things I have already done! Yes, I know, not exactly how they’re supposed to work, but it feels great!
Having something on paper to show what you have already done, and crossing them off before you’ve even started anything new will make you feel accomplished. You may even start to realise that you have been more productive than you thought, and it will give you the motivation to tick more off. – Don’t feel this has to be an overly serious list or work-related. Just get a few things off your mind and on to paper.
I highly recommend using colours too – who doesn’t love a highlighter!? – although I’m sure aggressively scribbling out completed tasks could be somewhat therapeutic too – if that’s what you prefer!
What do you NEED to do, right NOW?
Ok, let’s get this one out of the way. Is there anything urgent that needs your attention? A prescription that needs collecting? A cat that needs feeding? Overflowing rubbish that needs taking out? – Do this now. No, really – right now! I’ll wait…
Right, now you’ve picked up your meds, the cats stopped meowing at you and the smell from the bin is clearing, we can continue. Chances are, once you’ve got an essential task done, you already feel better. Whether it is the simple act of completing something or the blast of fresh air from getting outside – you may already feel a little less lost? If not, don’t worry, keep reading!
What COULD you do?
Ok, so maybe the washing could wait another day. You’ve got some spare work clothes for the morning anyway. But wouldn’t it be great if you had the choice tomorrow? Have a think about what you could be doing. Is there an appointment you need to make but have been putting off?
Maybe you have some birthdays coming up and need to buy/write out some cards? Sometimes we have so many things to do we feel overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. So take a minute to think about the smaller things. Pick something small, that doesn’t feel too overwhelming and can be completed in 10 minutes. It might be that it isn’t a particularly ‘fun’ task, but, it will make you feel better to be crossing something off the list.
Monkey think, Monkey do
Do you ever scroll Pinterest or search for blogs claiming to teach the secrets of productivity? I quite often do. I’m waiting for someone to tell me how to magically transform into someone that doesn’t procrastinate and succeeds every day. I’m waiting for a quick fix, chasing that ‘instant gratification’ – but here’s the thing –
It doesn’t exist.
Yep, I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. While there are a million wonderful pieces of advice to help out there, there is one thing that many of them don’t say. The one thing that every successful person has in common? They just go. get up. move. start. They think what they need to do, and they take that first uncomfortable step from “don’t want to do it” to “doing it” and that’s it. Like a plaster – they’re doing it. It’s like that whole “quit your job. Book that flight. Move abroad” thing, but way less extreme! (Although I’m not against the idea!)
Very few people WANT to go for a run, write an essay, clean the house or sometimes even leave the house – but if you can TAKE ACTION immediately when you decide to do it then you’re halfway there. So, when you think “I could be doing the washing really..” then stand up. Go to the washing basket. That thought needs to be immediately followed by physical action, or it’s not going to happen. It might happen, but probably a day later, after spending another evening watching Netflix, snacking and scrolling Facebook.
Do you even need to be doing ANYTHING?
If you’ve covered the need to-do-right-nows and tackled the could-dos, then what’s left? Well, it’s time to ask yourself –
“Do I need to be doing anything at all?”
There seems to be a common mindset amongst people these days – and it’s a feeling that we should be constantly achieving. It is a weird one because quite often we are so gripped by the need to be doing something ‘worthwhile’ that we end up doing nothing. We seem to think every minute should be filled with something that progresses us in some way. It is no longer good enough to just ‘be’ and we’re wracked with guilt when we feel as though we’ve accomplished nothing.
Here’s the thing though. GENUINE happiness often comes from just ‘being’. So that lost feeling you have – might just be telling you that you have had a crazy week and it is time for some calm. You have been busy and distracted and now those things are done. It could be that now your mind is clearer, you simply don’t feel comfortable being still, quiet and in your own company.
It’s really important to practice being comfortable with the feelings left over once the hustle and bustle of everyday life clear away. So try sitting quietly for ten minutes. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while taking a walk, use an app to practice meditation like Headspace. Doodle, get a paint by numbers, read a book, play an instrument, buy a plant- talk to it. The lost feeling might not go away immediately, but with time, it will.
What do you do when you’re feeling lost and just don’t know what to do with yourself? I would love to hear if any of these steps worked for you. Maybe you have your own tactics for feeling ‘found’ again? Leave a comment or let me know on Facebook or Instagram! Oh, and don’t forget to pin this post for later!