2.05.2015

on feeling motivated


It's an arctic Wednesday afternoon. February in the Midwest - a dreary affair. The toddler toys have been played with, put away, and ransacked again; a never-ending cycle of blocks, teapots, books, and trucks. The daily chores have been tended to, and dinner is in the crockpot. Our daily allotment of television has been consumed. In fact, we've overdrawn and borrowed from tomorrow's allotment. At some point there was a quick errand to the library and Target, which took up significantly less time than I hoped it would. Hours remain until reinforcements arrive home, and both toddler and mother are cranky in a post-nap winter haze.

On days such as these when there is nothing penciled in my planner, the mornings are so full of promise! A leisurely coffee and devotion. An hour spent reading and snuggling and laughing together. A cursory workout and shower. The prospect of errands and naps and projects.

We just can't seem to avoid those afternoon doldrums, when neither work nor play is enticing. We have had enough! Of each other, of our surroundings, of routine. We need nature! We need sunshine! We need other people! ("We need pens." Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock in the episode where he goes to Washington? Anyone?)

In these situations, it's almost impossible for me personally to feel motivated. This is unfortunate, because there is so much I could be doing that trumps giving up and watching Netflix reruns. First there's the photo-a-day project to improve my photography hobby. There's the option of creating a blog post, coming up with activities to improve both Pippa's and my Spanish, cleaning out and preparing to donate unused possessions, or getting ahead on my Spanish lesson plans. We could be having a dance party, or video chatting with far-away family and friends. 

The problem is never a lack of things to do. It's lack of perceived motivation. It's like when you were little and you would whine to your mom, "I'm so bored!" and she would say, "Great! I've got some chores for you to do." Then suddenly you didn't feel so bored after all, and gee whiz! playing with your humdrum old toys didn't seem so bad! 

The solution is to Just. Do. Something. Just start. Pump some music, pick an activity, and do it. 

My crabby afternoon self hates that solution. But, darn it!, it works. Starting is the hardest part, but in my case, activity usually begets a positive emotion. 

Now if someone could just remind me of this every day...

What are your tips for escaping the afternoon/winter doldrums?




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