How to Get Your Groove Back
I can’t adult today. I want to crawl back in bed, pull the covers over my head, turn on a movie, and zone out from reality. Not because I hate my life, but because a wrench got thrown in my groove. Okay, I know I can’t be the only one who has experienced this type of day — the ones where you can’t seem to find your drive and passion. Life suddenly seems a bit overwhelming and you forget what path you’re on. Maybe I just dropped my groove, got too tired to carry it, or maybe someone took it from me? These silly thoughts sometimes feel like reality on the days I am searching for energy and desire to keep doing the things I care about. So if you’ve ever had an off day that feels totally outside of your normal, where you lack drive, you feel uninspired and your motivation is non-existent — you are not alone.
I have a ton of grace for those around me who have days or weeks where they’ve lost their groove. I tell them, “take the day off. Take care of yourself. It will be good for you to just learn how to be instead of do.” But why is it that my relationship with myself is much more demanding of the outlandish expectations I have to keep pushing no matter how I feel? It almost feels unacceptable to hear myself say, just be instead of do today. Crazy, I know. But I am being honest when it comes to the achiever within me. If you’re familiar with the enneagram, I am a 3. I think in terms of goals and accomplishments, and when I lay my head down at night, I process my day in the form of a checklist. There are both strengths and weaknesses to my tendencies, but I have realized my doing can sometimes become louder in my ears than my being, meaning I care more about what I produce than who I am becoming. This is a problem for me at times because I can begin placing my worth and value in what I am able to produce and maintain.
The past couple of days, my groove got thrown off. I woke up one morning and I didn’t want to face my day. I no longer wanted to continue building the things in front of me and I didn’t want to tend to my responsibilities. I wish I could say that I just let it happen and took the day off, that I just gave my body, my heart and my spirit exactly what it was asking for. But instead, I panicked. I literally thought something was wrong with me. “What if I stay here? What if I never get my drive back and just give up on myself?” I can go from zero to one hundred in just a matter of minutes — it’s crazy what the mind is capable of. Even when I know I have experienced this before, I sometimes forget that I always make it out alive, that it always gets better. It is easy to forget that sometimes we just have off days, but that we won’t stay “off” forever.
So after some panicking, I decided to accept myself right where I was. I worked until my urgent responsibilities were complete and then I rested. I read, started a new show, and even got food delivered to my house! I felt out of control to be living like a weekender in the middle of the week. I reached out to a friend to process through my disapproval and desire to do nothing and then we found ways to laugh really hard. The laughter reminded me how tiny this off day was in the grand scheme of things and it helped me feel like myself again — carefree and simply enjoying life. I am not perfect at this yet, but I am learning to be okay with Jamie on the couch in the middle of a workweek as well as Jamie in my most passionate and driven mode. So as a survivor of the stolen groove, here are some secrets to getting your groove back!
- Breathe. When you realize you feel off, accept yourself at that moment without needing yourself to feel better instantly.
- Reflect. Reflect on the previous hours or even the previous day. Was there anything that threw your groove off? A conversation, a trail of self-doubt you went on, your environment, a failure, a speed bump, an unprocessed emotion? Give yourself grace to retrace your steps and find where uninspired and off feeling might be stemming from. Sometimes you find it and sometimes you don’t. If you find it, spend some time here and write down your thoughts and emotions surrounding it. Learn something about yourself.
- Check-in with yourself. Off days or weeks can sometimes be accompanied by being mentally or emotionally at capacity. Have you worked on anything you’re passionate about recently or have you just been stuck in the daily routine? Revisit your passions!
- Flip the script. Instead of asking yourself what you need to do today, ask what you need from today. Choose to give yourself what it is you need or want. Maybe it’s exercise, rest, a movie, a good book, fun — don’t limit what your heart is asking for.
- Ask for help. Let someone know you feel off and let them remind you who of who you are and what your normal looks like. We need people.
- Laugh. Engage in what makes you come alive and get your endorphins up! Sometimes science and hormones are a big part of our off-days.
- Reminders. Remind yourself you are normal. Remind yourself you won’t stay here. You are a creative being, designed to care about things beyond yourself. When you can stop panicking about the future, you can focus on the present, discover what you need in the moment, and learn to accept yourself even on your off days.
- Last but not least, fight. So you’ve tried all of the secrets and you’re still stuck when you know you are capable of so much more. If you have become self-aware and you know the difference between a lost groove and resistance, then perhaps you need to push through. DO NOT let resistance keep you from putting into the world only the things that you can. We need you! So put up a good fight.
P.S. As I write this, I realize that I found my groove again, which means you can too!