Recently, a close friend of mine passed in a tragic accident. I've been doing my best to keep on keepin' on, but there are times where I just have to take a second to ask myself why? Why them, why now, just simply, why? And the question 'why?" in this context consistently keeps bringing me to the same answer: that life isn't fair. But we all know that going in, don't we? Life isn't perfect, life won't always go the way you want or need it to, life just simply isn't fair, and even though it seems like you can't ever answer the question "why", it's how you let life's imperfections, bumps and bruises (some that hurt worse than others) affect your life. You can let it get you down, or you can let it empower you. It's what you make out of the time you have here on earth even when you feel like the world's waves are crashing down on you, that counts.
So while this tragedy hasn't been easy to digest, as an optimist and positive thinker, I find the only way to truly keep myself motivated in work and in life, is to take a step back and take myself out of my routine. Life is so fast and things can change in an instant. We often get stuck in our routines and most of us are just going through the motions each day. When we are stuck in routines and something tragic happens, it often hits us a little harder because you start to think about the inevitable, time. So when something unfortunate in your life happens, think of it as a sign - a sign to take time.
Tips for Staying Motivated on your Worst Day:
1. Take Time to Start Each Day With A Grateful Thought
Normally, I would roll out of bed, get some breakfast, open up my computer, and start working on a project - you know, just going through the motions. I find so much clarity in taking a couple of minutes each morning right when I wake up to take three deep breaths. Close your eyes, center yourself, and say a couple of things you are grateful for. Today, mine were: "I am grateful for the time I got to spend with my friend who passed." "I am grateful for my business and the chance to help others with theirs." "I am grateful for my family and friends who have been so supportive."
2. Take Time to Talk To Someone You Care About (In person or over the phone)
Sometimes, if I am working from home, I will go a whole day without physically talking to someone else. Sure, I text my hubby daily and chat with friends or my sister online, but I've gone a day or two or three where I haven't heard someone else's voice. As humans, we crave connections and meaningful interactions. Make time in your day to visit with someone you care about, and if you're a bit too busy for that, pick up the phone, and call someone who means something to you just to say hi, and that you love them. I had dinner with a friend I hadn't seen in a few months, just to catch up and be there for each other. We talk nearly every day via text, but to see her in person and give her a hug meant so much more.
3. Take Time to Get Outside
Often I spend the majority of my day inside at my desk, working from my computer. It's a simple change, but today I am writing this blog from my patio, soaking up some sun. After all, Vitamin D has been proven to boost your mood and reduce symptoms related to depression and anxiety (source).
4. Take Time to Think Positively
For every negative thought you have, make yourself counteract it with something positive. Today, my first negative thought was: "I am so sad that I lost my friend", my counteractive positive thought was "I am so lucky to have known him as long as I did and for what he taught me."
5. Take Time to Let Yourself Feel What You Need To
When you're going through a struggle, it's important to let yourself feel what you need to. Bottling things up or pretending like everything is okay when it's not, will only hinder you later on. Whatever the feeling may be, sadness or anger or pain or hurt, let yourself be human and let yourself go through your emotions. When we let our bodies and minds feel what we need to, it makes for an easier transition into accepting what's happened and move forward with our own lives.
"I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value." Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha