Updated: Mar 20
Recently I have been working too hard, I’ve been putting the hours in and it’s resulted in the last two days being a complete slump because I physically can’t do anymore. It’s not helped by my partner breaking his foot and us being unable to really go out to many places so I’ve used the time to just, well…. work. This is the evil thing about being self-employed, especially when you’re based at home, because it’s just so easy to pick something up, work on it and before you know it, the day’s gone. In the short term, it takes the pressure off a bit but it isn’t sustainable in the longer term and eventually you crash and burn.
In addition to this, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to putting pressure on myself to achieve and measuring myself by how far I still have to travel rather than how far I have come. Have you ever noticed how doing that really brings you down and makes you feel totally demotivated but as soon as you switch your mindset to one of reflection, you are much more able to celebrate the wins?
Some of you may know that I’m learning to play the drums, in fact I’ll always be learning to play them because there is always something to learn so maybe I should just come out and say, “I play the drums” or even, “I’m a drummer” (still can’t get my head around that one).
Anyway, I started in April 2022 and I have only in the last few weeks got to the point where I can play along to a track, which is hugely rewarding. I probably could have reached that stage sooner but I was reluctant to step away from the book I’ve been following and just methodically working my way through. I realised a few weeks ago I was losing motivation with it and said to my teacher that I couldn’t ever see myself at the stage where I’d be able to play anything and that it was almost a year since I started and I still felt like a beginner. He told me two important things, firstly that I should try to see myself through his eyes as he can see more improvement than I can because he only sees me once a week so the change is more pronounced. Secondly he said not to focus on the journey ahead but to reflect on the achievements to date. So I went away and tentatively tried to play along to a few tracks, using all of the rudiments that I had learnt since the start. The next week I asked him if he could help me break down Sam Fender’s ‘Spit of You’ and in the space of half an hour we had the basics. It took an hour by myself at home and I had it down from start to finish.
Suddenly I’m a lot more confident, motivated and this week, would you believe it, we’re smashing out ‘Highway to Hell’… I know... so rock and roll!! So here’s a few of my tips for when you’re feeling a little bit down on yourself and you need a reboot.
Try to see yourself through the eyes of others
I’ve lost count of the number of times you guys have told me that I am doing well and it never ceases to give me a much-needed boost but also it blows my mind because I just think to myself, ‘how do you know that I’m doing well?’ because in my head I can always do better, but I think that’s normal. I also think it’s OK to think you can do better for maybe 80% of the time because it spurs you on, but equally it’s important to just stop every once in a while, and speak to yourself as others would speak to you, tell yourself that you are doing well and remind yourself that in the eyes of others you are smashing it!
Each day be grateful for 3 things
I do this literally every day when I’m drinking my morning coffee and it only takes the length of time it takes to drink it. It’s well worth it and I can highly recommend it because it puts you into a positive mindset before you get on with your day. Just write down 3 things you are grateful for as you sit there and this can be really simple things like shelter, love, safety or it could be that you slept well and feel refreshed, that you feel healthy, that your loved ones are around you and make you happy. It honestly does set the tone for the day ahead and is so much better for you than doom scrolling and getting wound up by something trivial that you have no control over (I’m not saying you do that but if you do then maybe try something different for a week or two and see if it helps).
At the end of every month, look back on your achievements and reward yourself
I don’t think we do this enough. Time passes so quickly and before we know it, another month has gone by and what have we achieved? It’s easy to think nothing if you don’t encourage yourself to really think about it properly when you realise that you’ve actually achieved a lot. Again, I always write this down at the end of each month because it makes it more tangible but you don’t have to. Also, I think we tend to focus on the big things when we think of achievements, but small things are just as valid because they add up. For example maybe this month I learnt a difficult drum fill so next month I can work on the whole track. I also write things down that I didn't want to do or I was scared of doing, sending a difficult email for example or a craft fair in a new location. Then I follow it up with a celebration, something I can do that I enjoy to reward myself for getting it done.
Make time to enjoy some self-care each day
When we think of self-care we often think of candlelit baths and books but it’s more than that. It doesn’t have to be anything really ritualistic or demonstrative and could be something as simple as a short walk into town or a run. For me it’s time out, doing something that I love or something that frees my mind, I like knitting, drawing, obviously also playing the drums, noticing nature, anything that helps me enjoy the moment. This morning I went for a 5 mile jog, I hadn’t been out for 6 days and it was an effort, my body felt tight and it was cold but within 5 minutes I felt so much better. I am grateful for the fact that where I live I can be in a country lane or running along the river within half a mile of leaving my back door and this morning I had the pleasure of watching 3 large hares zig zagging away from me up the lane I was running along. That set me up for the day did that 😊.
How will you reboot your routine and start celebrating some little wins? As ever, thanks for reading and do let me know in the comments if you can relate to any of this or if you simply enjoyed reading it.