This weekend, I was getting together with some girlfriends and one of them was late because her car battery died and she had to wait until someone could give her a jump. I realized later that this is totally what I've needed in the post-holiday fog: a jumpstart! I needed to hook copper clamps on my body and shock the life back into me (okay, not really, but you get where I'm going).
This metaphor got me thinking about healthy ways to give ourselves jumpstarts when we've got too much mellow energy in our systems. I write a lot on this blog about needing to find time for rest and prioritizing self-care, and I stick by all of that, but sometimes we've had enough rest, and we need something to light the fire in our bellies again.
This isn't about cracking the whip over yourself or your employees. This isn't about ways to do more for the sake of doing more. This post is about healthy ways to signal to your brain and your soul that you're ready for some fire, some flow, some movement.
You see, we need the fire in our lives. An integrated life includes the soft, healing, feminine energy of water, or yin, as it's called in Chinese medicine, but an integrated life also includes the masculine, action-oriented yang energy. Personally, I usually have to focus on cultivating more yin energy in my life, and I think that's probably true for most of us living in the United States. Since the holidays, however, I've been all about the yin, and I'm ready to lovingly - without using the word "should" - get down to work.
So here are five ways to jumpstart your day, your job search, your project, or whatever it is that needs some energy pumped into it:
First, know how to motivate yourself. Gretchen Rubin has written about something she calls the Four Tendencies framework, which posits that there are four types of people in the world: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. In her own words, here is how they break down:
- Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
- Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
- Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
To learn more about this helpful framework and take a short quiz to see which type you might be most like, you can click here. The point is this: jumpstarting change is going to look different for each of us. I'm an Obliger for the most part, so I'll say yes to other people all day and then get overwhelmed because I didn't make time for my own internal commitments. I know that if I want to make changes in my life, I know I need to externalize them, because I struggle to do it on my own. Think about which tendency you line up with and how real change happens for you.
Second, try tapping. When someone first told me about tapping, I thought it was ridiculous, and it's okay if you do, too. I get that tapping spots on your body to decrease stress and increase functioning probably wouldn't fly in a conference room. But just hear me out, because this sh*t works. Tapping different acupoints on our bodies essentially signals to our body that we're safe, it moves the fear and anxiety we're holding onto, and it promotes the growth of new neural pathways. It surpasses the thinking mind and helps create change that talk therapy or new year's resolutions simply can't do.
To try it, start with this video. The technique featured in the video, called "tapping cortices," is really powerful, and I do it almost daily. Sometimes we forget that our bodies are pulsing with electricity, and what this technique does is simply help that electricity flow in the right direction(s). You'll probably feel weird and crazy at first, but just try it! I know it will help get you the jumpstart you need.
Third, change up your environment. I just set up a new home office, and yowza, I felt so excited to get to work! We have to signal to our brains that we're ready to get moving, and if nothing around us has changed for a long time, it can be hard to do that. So clean out your desk, organize some shelves, or work at a coffee shop instead. Just do something to switch up your surroundings.
Fourth, set an intention. Intend to get moving. Intend to do work with passion, energy, and commitment, even if you feel completely bored and listless right now. Set an intention and keep it in mind by representing it physically somehow. You could simply light a candle or write "I intend to jumpstart" on a Post-It that you stick above your computer.
Finally, you can get help. If you're an Obliger or Upholder, it would probably be really useful to get some outside help to jumpstart your worklife again. You can get help from loved ones, a therapist if you feel like you need some mental health support, or from a career coach like me. Sometimes bringing in a new resource can really infuse us with good, healthy, active energy.
Whatever you do, just start. Start moving, stretching, or intending. Start somewhere - even if it's just imagining the little battery inside of you getting a jumpstart.
Know someone who needs a jump today? Pass this along to them!
P.s.: I have a little surprise coming to readers on January 19th...stay tuned!