Well, life isn't what it used to be.
Sweatpants and disheveled hair, roaming between the couch and the cupboards, all the carbs and streamable entertainment, this way of life is rapidly becoming our "new normal". And though it feels cozy in the moment, maybe you're ready to move on.
NOTE: If you're happy to be tucked away in the cozy womb you've created while you hide out from the pandemic, by all means, stay there. There's nothing wrong with that. But if the new normal is giving you the blahs, and you're ready get crackin' at life again, this is for you.
But first, a bit of science.
The subconscious brain likes normalcy, predictability, and routine. That's why when the pandemic struck we all freaked out in our own special ways (some quietly like fainting goats, others like rabid honey badgers, and everything in between). Nothing was normal, we didn't know what to predict, and our regularly scheduled lives had been cancelled.
After the initial shock, we started to gravitate towards things that bring us comfort; our favorite shows, comfy pants, buttered toast, and all the things that tickle our fuzzy buttons. These comfort creatures produce "feel good" hormones. Thanks, dopamine...
But after about two months of elastic waist bands and Netfix, maybe these lifelines aren't packing the punch they once did. You might be bored, feeling like the whirligig while your screen (er, life) reloads.
That's because of two reasons: These creature comforts are too frequent and no longer special, and there's a lack "positive" challenges in your life.
Life's delights such as sweat pants and endless potato chips, were once reserved as a reward after a long day/week. Now they've become business as usual. They're no longer special. Your brain isn't excited about them anymore.
And whether or not you enjoyed your previous routine, it provided you with several mini challenges every day. While the routine may have not been "fun", the brain still gets off on ticking boxes. Shower, get dressed, get the kids to school: Check, check, and check. The brain likes it when you've completed a task. It empowers you, and makes you feel good...even if you're not aware of it.
But the subconscious brain is a tricky mother. While it DOES like a completed to-do list, it's still going to drive you back to the couch with a bag of chips because THE COUCH AND CHIPS ARE EASIER. It's a wonderfully terrible design of the brain. It's the reason we've been able to evolve from creatures that had to hunt and gather, to becoming a society that gets everything delivered to their door. We're wired to want and create easy.
But there's no personal reward in easy. We need positive challenges in our lives to make things like pride, empowerment, and drive. ...and lucky for us, it doesn't take much to get those things.
Here's how to get your mojo.
In simplest terms, make a routine, besides changing from your bedtime pajamas to your daytime pajamas.
How did life look before COVID? What was your routine? What were your rituals?
Personally, my work week looked kinda like this:
5:00-5:30AM - Wake Up, stretch in bed while I psyche myself up for the day
5:30-6:30AM - Coffee with my guy, take the dog out, journal, catch up on news
6:30-7:15AM - Move my ass
7:15-8:00AM - Breakfast, shower
8:00-9:00AM - Prep for clients
9:00AM-6:00PM - Perform the duties for my day gig
6:00-7:30PM - Dinner, free time
7:30-8:00PM - Stretch before bed
8:00-8:15PM - Wash face, brush teeth
8:15-9:00PM - Read in bed, gratitude check, lights out
When the pandemic initially struck, this routine went out the mother-lovin' window. My trauma response floated somewhere around the fainting goat level. All I wanted to do was sleep, probably because I was exhausted from literally shaking in fear and having zero appetite. I hung out in the fainting goat phase for about a week and a half, and then started phasing into hungry zombie mode. Lots of screen time, lots of snacks, and the inability to feel anything. Hungry zombie mode lasted several days, maybe a week. Who knows, I was a hungry zombie.
But being hungry zombie wasn't really doing it for me anymore. I wanted to get back to some form normal. I needed a routine.
What simple rituals from my previous life could I bring back?
Well, looks like most of them. With the exception of the gaping ten-hour hole where my job used to be, my life really didn't need to look much different.
I started by beginning and ending my days as I normally would. Check and check. It felt kinda nice to have those bookends supporting me. But then there was that enormous gap, the black hole waiting to suck me in. Old habits from past trauma luring me into binge eating, sleeping "until it got better", and eventually, emotional self sabotage.
I didn't want to go there.
So this is what I did instead...
First, I had to be kind to myself.
I had to be honest with myself about my situation.
I had to recognize that how I was feeling was LEGIT, and that reaching for old trauma soothers didn't mean that I was weak or a loser. They served a purpose at one time, and that's ok. So I let myself off the hook.
What was REALLY missing from my life?
Besides money, I was missing structure, purpose, and connection.
To fulfill my structural needs, I designed a LOOSE schedule for myself. I wanted to allow for emotional interruptions and general lethargy should the moment strike. Things are super-fucking-stressful right now so I ain't got time for extra pressure. You feel me? But having general chunks of time devoted to certain acts of self-care, productivity, or Ru Paul's Drag Race, has been helping me create sense of balance in my life.
Having a job gave me purpose. It was meaningful to me. To fill this void I started creating lists of short term and long term goals I could whittle away at throughout the day. A lot of the goals look like; put on real pants, get outside, drink water, finish projects around the house. And wouldn't you know, every time I cross something off my list, I feel a little bit better - dare I say it, empowered.
I LOVE people. That said, I prefer to be in their physical company. I'm not typically one for texting, calling, or emailing, but I've been making sure to reach out to either a friend or client every damn day. Dude, I'm even FaceTiming... Who am I? Connecting with people is really helping me to feel less alone.
The brain needs these things. We're social creatures who thrive with order and purpose, but also need to check out when we're tapped out. When you're aware of your thoughts and feelings, and give yourself what you need, when you need it, that's when your mojo can make a comeback.
Now, I'll be honest. Sometimes life is just too...lifey, and we need to revisit that warm, cozy place where spandex and Hulu live. And I'm cool with that. We might be our best selves when we're feeling balanced and whole, but that's a tall order right now. I do, however, believe that with a little tweaking, and a bit of patience, you can get some of your mother-lovin' mojo back.
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To get the printable Making Mojo activity sheet visit: [ HERE ]