Recently I hit a wall. I got into an end of year slump because I was tired and ready to give up. I lost all passion and motivation, and for one week, I was stagnant. Life was one big “meh” and I didn’t know how to get out of it. I condensed how I felt into a few words, which I tweeted; “Surviving, not thriving.” I was doing everything I needed to do to get through the day, but nothing more. Work, eat, sleep. No exercise, no God time, no writing. I had no emotion, just a lackluster, monotonous existence.
The truth is that it wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that way and it won’t be the last. Life can’t always be easy, sometimes it’s really freakin’ tough and that’s okay. But who wants to just survive? Life wasn’t made to be a hazy string of events and we weren’t created to work in autopilot. If we’re just surviving then we aren’t really living, and that alone is a tragedy.
As human beings, we are made to evolve and advance. We are meant to love, laugh and live in the beautiful moments to appreciate them. Our character was designed to grow, stretch and expand. We were created to thrive. And the good news is that we can do that in whatever we are doing, whatever season we are in. Even when our circumstances are less than ideal, we can still thrive.
If our soil is bad, we eventually need to change it because it’s impossible to flourish in unhealthy soil. But sometimes that isn’t immediately possible which is where attitude comes in. I’m currently not in good soil and for a while I got angry about it. I behaved like an entitled and ungrateful brat, and I wilted fast. As soon as I chose to thrive in spite of my environment, it all changed.
These are my practical tips on how to thrive in our everyday life, not just survive:
Be good to yourself – Eat well, exercise and sleep. This is a big one! Some of our greatest issues are so easily fixed with treating our bodies right. Our mind and behaviours are more affected by what we eat than we realise. Feeling lethargic? Cut down on the carbs. Anxious? Drink less caffeine. Oh, and I’m learning first hand that 7-8 hours sleep every night will work wonders.
Selective to be effective – We can’t do it all. Personally, I want to take up all the hobbies in the world and see all of my friends every week. But I just cannot do it. Zone your time, talents and efforts into a few specific areas and go for it. Give it your all. Be excellent at a few things rather than average at many. You are only human and only have so much capacity, so use that to your advantage. And also being a good friend means having fewer but more quality friends. If you’re all over the place most of the time, it may be time to make some cuts.
Connect – I cannot emphasise quite how important community is. Surround yourself with people who uplift, support and love you. As people, we need this more than we realise. Share your life with friends and family that you trust and ask them for help when you need it. There’s so much freedom in vulnerability.
Choose to be passionate - about your job, your hobbies, your dreams, your family, your church, your community, your life! If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I am crazy in love with my #swlfamily (join us!). I am passionate about this cause and these people. It keeps me going. If your day job isn’t your passion, then pick something or a group of people that need support. It isn’t hard because the need is everywhere. Have passions and be passionate!
Get organised - This is really hard for some people. I may be scatty but I am generally quite organised, and this makes life a lot easier. If you prepare yourself for what you have in the upcoming week then things run a lot smoother. Plans meals, your social life and your priorities. Make lists and use a diary, if you can! (Disclaimer: This is such a personality thing and really doesn’t work for everyone.)
Take risks – these can be teeny tiny or really big, but our lives should have an element of risk to bring about change. Just make some hard choices and don’t always pick the easy road. You will be better for it. Push yourself.
Rest – Agh, I can’t tense this enough. Work hard and rest hard. Be intentional about it – book time off to just chill. Do the relaxing things you love like play computer games, read and watch your favourite telly shows. Sleep. Stay in your pyjamas all day. Use the weekend for what it was designed for; rest. Recuperate and enjoy yourself.
Have perspective – Always, always, always have perspective because honestly, you will never ever be happy or content otherwise. Step out of your emotions, your situation and your head to see things for what they are. Truthfully, it’s never really that bad is it? For a start, if you’re reading this, then you are in a 15 percentile group of the world who have access to a computer.
In regards to my own slump, I eventually did what I usually do; I snapped out of it. After thinking about the above points and making changes to my own life, my thinking changed. I made plans for 2013, like places I want to see and things I want to achieve.
I got excited about life again because life is exciting!
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, choose to be passionate and thrive. Make the necessary changes for 2013 and then go for it! Many things are out of our control, but we are in our control and we can thrive wherever we are.
I believe in you.
Are you struggling with the end of year slump too? What’s your advice on how to thrive in life?