Have you lost the motivation to do any work? Perhaps you’ve noticed that it takes so much longer for you to do tasks now. Half the time, you have to sit there convincing yourself that you can actually do it. Without realizing it, many of us have fallen into this dark realm of self-doubt, demotivation, and procrastination guilt that many like to refer to as a mental block.
Mental block, as you would imagine from the term itself, obstructs the brain from being able to think about or remember a thing, or even just continue an already-existing train of thought. This is also often experienced by writers, hence the term “writer’s block”. There are many reasons why this happens, some of which are: mental exhaustion, working in a stressful or cluttered environment, stress, procrastination, or lack of sleep.
Whether it be to meet an impending deadline or finishing a personal project, it is very important that we overcome this mental obstacle. Luckily, there are also many ways to solve this issue. To help you reset your mind and get yourself to be more productive, here are some ways to handle this dilemma:
Take a break
Sometimes, when we force ourselves to work on something for too long, we start to get very frustrated with our work and in turn, ourselves. Maybe you are a writer who has been trying to construct the perfect paragraph to kill off your protagonist, or an artist struggling to draw the other eye—whatever it may be, step away from what you are doing for just a moment. Allow yourself to take a little break and come back to it later with a fresh set of eyes. Chances are, you might not hate it as much as you thought you did.
In the meantime, try doing smaller tasks not only to take your mind off your frustration with your work, but also to give you a sense of achievement, which might also help to boost your mood.
Do something that makes you happy
People often get stumped in trying to force themselves to do something they do not really want to do. If it is something you are really dreading, inspiration might refuse to flow. You can catch a breather and allow yourself to relax by doing an activity that you actually enjoy. It may be spending time with friends or family, pampering yourself, or even just watching your favorite show—there is nothing wrong with taking a little bit of time for yourself, especially when you have been rotting under a pile of tasks for who-knows-how-long.
If you are on a deadline, however, avoid doing something that will take up too much of your time. Leave yourself ample time to actually get the task done, or you might end up being far more stressed out than you originally were.
Try a different approach
Every now and then, we are stuck because the direction we are trying to take just isn’t working out. Try looking at the task from a different angle and see how you can tackle it differently. You never know, a new perspective might actually turn out better than your original plans.
Look for inspiration, and don’t let go
Continuously shelling out work can often get draining. You must remember that we are not here just to create; we must also take time to appreciate the works of other people. If you think about it, our works are built upon the foundation laid down by others. If you are a writer, read a book or a short story. If you are an artist, try looking for similar art styles, or even something completely different from what you are used to.
Inspiration is sneaky and could strike at any moment. Be it in the middle of the day, or at three in the morning, be ready to seize it.
Marie Kondo, who?
Look around you. Perhaps you have been cooped up in your room for too long and have not noticed the number of papers lying around, the inch-thick layer of dust on your cupboard, or even the used mugs filling up your desk one by one. It could greatly improve your mood if you restore your surroundings to a more conducive place to create, work, or even learn. Do what you can to fit the time that you have. Taking out used food containers, sweeping the floor clean, or even just changing your sheets can do a lot.
Call a friend
Mental blocks can also result from self-doubt or apprehension. If you are feeling unsure about your work, try asking for external inputs from friends, loved ones, or even colleagues. They can help more than you think, whether it be to affirm that you are going the right direction, to suggest improvements, or even generate new ideas.
Get some much-needed beauty rest
One of the major reasons for mental block is lack of sleep. This, coupled with mental exhaustion, can deal a lot of damage. Remember to take care of yourself and ensure that your body is getting the rest it needs to recover. You might find yourself feeling more inspired or creative after getting an energy boost from a good night’s sleep.
Lastly, don’t force it. When your brain is tired, you cannot really hold it hostage and force it to be creative. Squeezing out ideas at this point may feel a lot like squeezing a rock or a very, very dry sponge. You will just end up hurting your brain, feeling even more frustrated with yourself, and with less morale to get the job done. So just take a moment, and do what you got to do.
LAYOUT BY: Laiza Simeoune B. Sanchez
PHOTO SOURCE(S): DLPNG, jing.fm & Dollar Photo Club