The last few years have been a rollercoaster for the world. Looking more specifically at the work landscape – so much changed almost overnight.
Those who were used to being plugged into their laptops 24/7 at a desk become required to work from home. Companies closed and had to let staff go. Food services had to pivot, and that was just the start.
Work for millions of people is something they have to do, not something they love – or want to do.
That sparkled people to discover what they are passionate about and how they can make it happen. More people are switching to freelance or small business owners than ever.
But that comes with its different stressors.
Photo by Boitumelo Phetla on Unsplash
So how can you, whether you are in the office or at home, find your zen?
If your mornings are high-speed, messy, and rushed, then your day typically follows that path. It isn’t easy to switch to a different morning routine, but it will give you a huge benefit.
Over the space of a few weeks, start to set your alarm a little bit earlier. Of course, you need to go to bed a little earlier too.
Getting up earlier will give you more time to eat breakfast leisurely, drink tea or coffee, pack bags, or even check emails.
The more relaxed you start the day, the less likely you will be on the back-foot all day.
It might seem impossible to be grateful for a job you dislike, but it is an essential part of feeling that zen.
While the job itself might not bring you joy, the money you get paid probably covers some essential bills.
In a time of uncertainty, having a job that appears secure and comfortable is a blessing.
Think about the time that you have outside of work – what you can do with your time.
Being grateful for what you have is a big deal and will give you a feeling of joy.
Do fun stuff
Outside of work, make time to do some fun stuff. Putting love and energy into the time you spend outside of work will give you more calm and joy to add to your job too.
Look for classes in the area that cover topics that you have always wanted to learn. Go bike riding in the local park—Master the art of illustration.
The world is at your disposal, so begin to recognize and understand you can let loose when you aren’t at work.
Much of being unhappy in work stems from anxiety and fear. Tackling those fears head-on can give you more control over how you approach your work life.
If it is a manual job, you feel it isn’t safe enough or that the management doesn’t focus on your well-being.
Just remember that you have the power to call a personal injury attorney, to join a union, or search for alternative work – you have options.
It can be beneficial to talk more about any anxiety you have with work with a therapist, a life, or a work coach.
Reframe the faces
If you resent your bosses, co-workers, and subordinates, that will reflect in your work, your demeanor and will likely lead to animosity.
The faces of the people at work aren’t there to upset you or to attack you – they are all there to do a job too.
Working collaboratively, setting the business or daily goals as your own, and work with people not against them will make the workday flow with ease.
Reframe your current feelings for those you work with to people you share some things in common.
Side projects can be so much fun! Take some time to think about what you want to achieve in life – general goals. It might be that you wish to publish a book, or perhaps you want to own a food truck eventually.
Don’t hold yourself back – dream big.
Then consider what you might need to do to reach those goals. Start small so that it doesn’t cut too much into having time to relax or impact your work.
Doing a side project that makes you happy and gives you joy will make the jobs you don’t want to do so much easier.
And finally, before and after work, even on the busiest of days, take time to take some slow breaths and shake the day off.
The best way to get that calm moment? A Daily Dose of Hope, of course!
How to get out of a rut?
Have you ever been there? In a rut?
Where your bored, lifeless, unmotivated, unhappy, irritated, would rather sleep your life away than get up and go?
For the last several months I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. Of course with a global pandemic going on we are all feeling stressed and overwhelmed but this felt different. For a while I thought, I’m working too hard and need a break. But a break didn’t change anything. Then I thought I was lacking vitamins or vital nutrition. Maybe it’s too hot, too humid, too cold, too damp. Nope, not the case. Then my mind goes racing, and what if I have an autoimmune disorder. Common Hope, get a grip…
For months this has been going on, tired for no reason, dragging, and honestly, unmotivated. What’s up???
I’m in a RUT! Stuck on repeat, a skip in the record of life and nothing was changing.
My family rocks, I’m healthy, alive, I am moving forward towards my BIG dreams. What gives? Why am I in a rut?
What gives, is I was holding on. TIGHT. Like death grip tight. Holding on to things that don’t serve me, my mission, my soul’s purpose. I was holding on to things that were expired, like leaving old nasty food in your fridge and trying to convince yourself you’d choke that down tomorrow.
Holding on. But why? I’m in a rut.
Well funny thing, I listened to a LIVE on Facebook and it sparked in me that it’s time to hit the RESET BUTTON on my goals and targets. Time to get specific, zone in and tune in to those, and then reflect on where I was spending most of my time.
Well, NEWS FLASH, they weren’t aligned AT ALL. Well maybe like 30%, but I was living the life in my old goals and trying to move towards my current ones. And there was no LONG-TERM clarity within my vision insight. My life had “I’m in a rut” written all over it.
This depressed-like state, this exhaustion- was boredom. No fire within, no zeal, no drive to go for it, because I didn’t want “it” anymore. I wanted out of this rut. I wanted something else.
When you find yourself in a rut, one thing that is happening is you are focusing TOO much on you. Your shortcomings, your faults, where you should have done this, or that or the other thing… On how bad you feel, how bad your finances are, how everyone else is doing better than you, how your job sucks, your family sucks, blah, blah, blah.
And that was exactly what was happening to me. I was nitpicking everything I was doing, my faults, micromanaging my old goals trying to make my efforts fit with something it just wasn’t aligned with.
And for many people including myself I have spent most of my life numbing myself from all of this to not have to feel or deal with it. I used food, drugs, isolation, and a very negative self-talk to keep myself from having to feel and deal with anything.
Five Ways to Get Out of a Rut:
- Shift your focus off all that “you” stuff and shift it back to a goal, how are you going to help people and as a result help yourself?
- Ask yourself, what are your goals? Like take five minutes out of your life and ask yourself “what do I want”.
- Now, write them down. All of them. Then go back and look at them and see what of those are truly your goals.
- Reflect on how you are spending your time. It’s one thing to relax a bit, it’s another to do something or nothing because you are bored.
- You must do it. Yep, you have to just do it anyway. You will never get out of the rut if you don’t do something different. But if you don’t do the above, you’ll never know WHAT to do.
If I think too much about my “stuff” it’s like I just can’t get out of that deep dark hole to nowhere. But when you shift your focus and realize that a shift in thinking is all you need to make that change and get out of your rut. BIG things can start to happen. Like a little pep in your step and maybe even a newly discovered goal!
You got this!
And to help here is one of my favorite quick reads! Because a little extra encouragement never hurts!
Dear Driven Woman,
Keep going. I get you–I see you–I am you. Even though you may feel alone at times, you are not. To get where you want to go isn’t easy. It will take every ounce of you but I know you can do this. I believe in you.
I AM DIFFERENT
It is said that adversity reveals one’s true character. For me, this couldn’t have been truer.
I never really put much thought into the “type” of person I was. Growing up, I realized at an early age that others didn’t think like me. They just weren’t motivated like I was. However, as I struggled with an eating disorder and an endless list of additional “problems”, it wasn’t until then that I truly saw the depths of my own character. I WAS different.
CHOOSING TO THRIVE
As I was working through my recovery, not one but THREE doctors all told me the same thing–“Best case scenario, Hope, is that you need to learn how to ‘function’ in this world, on medication.” I KNEW that wasn’t my destiny and I wasn’t going to be satisfied with simply surviving in life. My destiny was to thrive and I was going to do it my way–because I was different.
Hope Zvara of Mother Trucker Yoga
We are all different and have different values. There are certain things that drive us, motivate us, and push us over the edge. For me–I love working and enjoy contributing. Idle downtime is the devil for me. My idea of “downtime” is yoga, going for a walk, working out at the gym, or playing with my kids. Working and contributing allows me to thrive in life rather than simply surviving. To be honest, working and contributing helped me recover and continues to help me stay the path. That’s me. For you–you might be the complete opposite and that’s okay. It’s what makes the world go round.
NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR BEING YOU
Continually over the last 15 years, countless onlookers have said to me:
- “You are so busy.”
- “Hope, you do way too much.”
- “How do you have time to do ______?”
- “You should slow down and take a breath.”
- “Hope–you just never stop, do you?”
- “Listen, you should slow down and take a breath.”
Well, guess what–this is just HOW I AM! I never see working or contributing in life as “doing so much” or “being busy.” I have goals, dreams, and the determination to get there. I am driven and recognize that no one will build the life I want except for me. My purpose surrounds my family and my job. Both enable me to stay healthy. I built a successful business and my family continues to thrive. I will not apologize for this–ever. I’ll never apologize for being me.
So, what you may view as “busy,” is me being me. When you say, “Hope, your plate is too full”, well that is me filling my cup with great things. When you suggest that I “need to slow down”, it’s me actually being driven and focused. Furthermore, you should never judge a book by its cover.
BUSY VS. PRODUCTIVE
I learned a long time ago–there is a difference between busy work and doing things that build something great. No matter who you are that may be worth reflecting on.
Being busy just for the sake of being active is a waste of time, energy and will eventually break you. But entering into tasks, ideas, and projects that build what you want and where you want to go, is a smart and effective use of your time and talents.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I’ll leave you with this: To all those out there who are highly motivated, go-getters, and dream seekers–keep doing you I see you, I get you, I’m cheering for you.
For those people that have time to judge the actions of others, I urge you to consider that maybe you could be a bit more motivated, driven, or purposeful. And, please, consider what comes out of your mouth and how it may affect the person you are saying it to. Words hurt.
PS. I am confident that someone will read this post and take offense. To those people, I urge you to dig a bit deeper and ask yourself why. You may be surprised as to what you find.
My life has been filled with some super deep, dark lows, fantastic highs, and everything in between. I’ve projected my own shortcomings onto other people. My self-sabotaging behavior has occurred more times than I’d care to admit. Worst of all, I rarely even realized I was doing it.
The truth is, I had become a master at standing in my own way.
Changing My Ways
Our personality and life experiences determine the ways we think and react. I grew up observing people in my life, blame, judge, and criticize those around them. So, naturally, that was the pattern I fell in to. It was easier to blame others than take ownership and responsibility for my own actions. However, at some point, I decided that I was in charge of my own journey.
Creating New Habits
Without realizing it, I had been living a life of self-sabotage. My negative ways of thinking and feeling were controlling my everyday life. Instead of focusing on the things I couldn’t control, I decided that I had to focus on the most significant barrier in my life. It was the one that I had the most control over–myself.
Learning to get out of my own way and pivot was a process. It wasn’t easy. I had to dismantle the sole self-defense mechanism that I had been using my entire life and develop new ways of thinking. I decided that I was going to get something out of everything. I was going to learn from everything and always ask myself before I speak, type, or share: “How will this help me or others?”
This simple mindset shift helped me get out of my own way. It made me:
♥️ Swallow my pride.
♥️ Move forward and let things go–even when I didn’t want to.
♥️ Press on and keep on so I could move on.
If you worried you’re getting in your own way, too, here are my tips to help you overcome your old ways.
4 Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way and Pivot
Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing? Who benefits from what you are about to do or say? What value does it put back on life after such an engagement? Getting clear here will help you speak and begin to live more confidently.
1. Focus on What is Essential
It is easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter in life. Before you know it, that “thing” is consuming everything you are thinking about and everything you do. Every day, take a timeout minute and think about all the things, people, and experiences that make you grateful. Bonus- write them down. Doing so helps get your mind in the right frame of mind because nothing good comes from anger and hate.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
I know this can be challenging because we faced with unrealistic perfection in today’s world. Filters, edited life moments, what some call the “highlights reel” of someone’s life, makes the stress of not being enough can be overwhelming. A few years ago, I stopped looking at the tabloids and magazines in the checkout aisles. Why? Well, I realized that looking at celebrities’ perfect lives and bodies was giving me anxiety and pushing my mood and mind in a negative direction. So, I stopped looking at them. I limited social media scrolling and took time to notice trigger people, feeds, and posts. And I stay away.
3. Change the Script
There was a time in my life that I would look back on my life and only see struggles and unfair circumstances. When I recognized that I wanted to get well and didn’t want to be a spiraling out addict anymore, I started to change my internal script. Instead of seeing all the bad, that happened to me as a punishment. I began to look at it as learning things I needed to learn and preparing me for something bigger than me. I began to see the challenges as opportunities to help me. They helped me later connect with my audience, students, and friends and give perspective I would not have had without my unfair struggle.
4. Give Yourself a Timeout
I know there are mixed feelings about giving a time out. But timeouts can offer us a moment to breathe, feel, and process. Yes, I am that parent that uses timeouts with my kids. It’s not so much a punishment as it is a time to breathe, feel, and think. I approach those timeouts as moments where they can figure out what they are feeling, breathe, and calm down so we can have a conversation and communicate. Timeouts, when done correctly, can be helpful tools for all parties and can both teach and foster personal growth and self-control. As an adult, I have learned first hand the full value of stepping away and then using the timeout not to think negative thoughts. But to process the situation and how I feel.
The Choice Is Yours
Today, as you read this, I believe you have two choices. You can either continue to be wrapped up in your own story, your struggle, your fears, worry, jealously, and sadness OR you can GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY AND PIVOT.
No one but you can get you to move out of your own way. You are in charge of your own destiny. So, the choice is yours: Do You Want to Thrive or Survive?
Do you know those things that make you sweat? The things that make you feel anxious? The ones that make you want to apologize when you didn’t even do anything wrong? Well, that is how I feel when it comes to verbal communication.
Communication has never been a strength of mine. Well, let me rephrase that–verbally communicating how I feel and what I need has never been easy for me. My brain was wired to devalue my feelings and needs and overvalue another. It was a learned behavior that I needed to learn how to harness.
Courage to Communicate
I remember distinctly the first time I verbally voiced what I needed to my husband.
My husband and I were sitting on the couch one night after he had gotten home from work. I knew that walking, yoga and physical activity helped me manage my anxiety and could feel my anxiety slowly creeping up. I wanted to go for a walk by myself to breathe, take a time out from the kids, and relax. However, with two small kids at home and a husband that was working a very physical job, I felt that his happiness and relaxation were more important than mine. Asking for a “break” made me feel guilty.
However, at that moment, I knew exactly what I needed and I needed it so badly I had no choice. I swallowed my fear and verbally communicated to my husband that I needed to go for a walk. I paused. And waited. Brian, my husband, said, “Go, hun. I’m good” without flinching. I felt an immediate sense of relief at that moment.
This may not seem like a big deal to some but for me, it was a milestone. That moment where I voiced my needs and wants set a solid foundation for my future. Today, I am able to voice bigger things like my views on parenting, life, and business. It’s also led me to now be able to agree to disagree, be okay with someone not liking what I have to say, and setting time for myself and not feel like I have to ask for permission.
Learning How to Listen
About ten years into recovery, I discovered that I didn’t know how to effectively communicate. I also learned that how well you listen has a major impact on the quality of your relationships with others.
I didn’t know how to listen. I was continually projecting what I thought others were thinking and saying before they even finished talking. With that, I was actually preparing for a rebuttal and would instantly shut down or bark back the moment I would receive a response that I didn’t like.
I had to relearn how to listen.
Even though listening may ‘sound’ easy, listening well is a gift that not everyone has. Improving your ability to listen well will enable you to assess situations with more clarity and gain insight into other people, their opinions and the overall circumstances of an event. Listening well can prevent you from misreading a situation and making mistakes –like I was doing.
Make Your Voice Heard
I decided somewhere along my journey, with the help of the yoga I know, meditation, and fully embracing the love of those around me to press on. To keep voicing up. To keep asking those uncomfortable questions. To say what I need to say.
Speak up, friend. You deserve to speak. You have something valuable to say and your voice matters.
And each time it will only get better. Each time you voice up and choose to communicate instead of hold it in, you will get better at it. Each time you ask that uncomfortable question it feels less uncomfortable. Each time you will get more precise at what you need to say and how you need to say it.
Work in Progress
I have learned time and time again in life and business that it is MY responsibility to ask questions, inquire, and do research if needed. This practice, in a sense, is putting myself first, and at the same time putting the other person first as well, because now communication is open. My advice, start with safe people. Start in safe environments and with small less scary things to communicate. For me, it was wanting to go for a walk. For you it may be voicing that you want Mexican food tonight instead of just saying “I don’t care”.
Full disclosure, doing these things is super hard for me. Still, I’ve discovered that time and time again; I am continually putting others’ well-being, happiness, comfort, and satisfaction above mine. And I am so grateful I have developed an ever-growing toolbox to help me build up these muscles in my life and business.
Let me help you get rid of stress so you can press on to the next phase of your life.
Check out my blog: 3 Yoga Poses to Banish Stress Instantly