In life. In parenting. In work. In ministry. In housework (ug, those dishes). In general.
We all have it. I’ve had it recently. Those days, weeks, or months when we just feel blah.
Maybe disappointment has hit us square in the face, or we’re exhausted from stress or children. Maybe we’re stuck slogging through the mundane and can’t see much over the pile of laundry or continual rotation of dishes.
Maybe our spiritual life seems like just the motions and frankly, we really just don’t care. Maybe we feel like there’s just no more to give.
Or maybe we feel disconnected and plain old boring.
Jesus came to give life - abundant life; should that make a difference in how I think and act?
A combination of walking through life with clients and examining my own “blahs” has created some concepts that can be helpful at these times:
- Identify the cause. Why don’t you feel motivated? It sounds silly, but if you can figure
this out, it’s half the battle. Are you disappointed? Bored? Drifting without a goal?
Emotionally eating? Disconnected? What brought you to your current state? Figure it out - pray, talk with someone, journal… do some real soul searching. God did not design us to listlessly exist. Figure out what’s off and integrate some of the suggestions below that apply.
- Thank God for who He is and what He’s given. When we’re down in the Valley of Blah, discontentment, questioning, and restlessness can run high. Taking a moment to thank God for who He is, to recognize blessings in our life, and to identify refining situations can shift our perspective away from the darkness to the light in the clouds. The Book of Pslams is a great place to start if you need ideas.
- Commit to discipline. If you’re sitting in the Valley of Blah, you’ll continue to stay there. You have to decide - that with God’s help - you’ll move forward and on. Ask Him for drive and for help, and give yourself grace in the journey. (More on that coming soon from a self-described recovering perfectionist).
- Make goals… and then celebrate. It’s easy to drift when you have no clear goal in mind. Maybe you’re not ready to make a 5 year plan - maybe you’re just trying to get your toddler to potty train! But that’s the beauty of it. Start small. Little goals turn to big victories. And as those little goals are met, you can celebrate the journey.
- Find something to look forward to. Not because we should be adrenaline junkies, but because looking forward to something small (nap time, coffee with a friend, cranking music in the car, an upcoming vacation) can pull us out of the moment, fire up our endurance, and keep us going.
- Ensure you’re receiving and being poured into by someone. Is there someone in your life who encourages or uplifts you? And when that person isn’t available, is there music, reading, podcasts, media, and visuals that feed and stimulate your mind and soul? Evaluate your intake and ensure you’re receiving a healthy dose of the good stuff - especially in tandem with doing the mundane. In a future post, we’ll share some of our favorite resources.
- Invest in people. A by-product of the blahs is often a desire to withdraw. Now, there is certainly a time for rest, withdrawal, or renewal. But the blahs can make us self-focused and problems bigger than they seem. Think of someone you can connect with, encourage, or invest. And do it.
- Schedule your time, with grace. Find a time management process that works for you. Maybe you’re not a structured person, but breaking down your day into morning/afternoon/night will help ensure time does not slip away and that you’re balancing your weeks with work, family, social time, down time, exercise, etc (more on that in the future).
Or maybe you’re overly structured and the unfinished items on your to-do list make you feel unaccomplished. Remember that balance is important and necessary to minimize burnout and self-imposed blahs.
- Get enough sleep. It’s amazing how life looks better after a little rest. Any parent of young kids knows this is elusive, but prioritizing this area can ensure your physical body is up to speed for the rest of your day.
This is probably one or my biggest struggles simply because my brain comes alive around 10pm! I'm working on this one big time.
- Eat healthfully. Don’t underestimate the power of your fuel. This isn’t designed to be a lecture on eating your veggies, but if you’re feeding your body with junk, the truth is you’re going to feel like junk and lack energy. There is great information out there to get your body going. This is a huge area of discipline for many of us, but the outcome can be life changing.
- Get moving. Science has shown that boosting physical activity also boosts endorphins. Being intentional in this area can make a big difference in your daily outlook, physical health, and overall outlook.
- Practice healthy boundaries. Two of our favorite authors are Cloud and Townsend, and they’ve produced Boundaries as well as offshoots (Boundaries in Marriage, Boundaries for Leaders, and more). In a nutshell: spiritual, physical, emotional, time, relational, and other boundaries are essential to healthy, Christ-centered living. If you feel overwhelmed, blah, controlled by others, or lack motivation, check out their fantastic materials.
Final note: Sometimes, underlying physical or emotional issues can affect your well being. If you are concerned about your health, please see a doctor. counselor, or other health professional that best fits your current needs.