What to do when your favourite ways to have fun aren’t so fun anymore.
Everyone goes through a rut. It’s the way the ball bounces. There are days where you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. There are moments where you’ll feel like your typing the same words over and over again; wearing the same clothes day after day. And it sucks.
I’ve fallen into that trap dozens of times. I’ve started something, went above and beyond to put my all into that task or hobby, and then suddenly felt like I’ve kamikazed my way out of interest. I get lazy, and eventually I fall out of love with it. Some people know when they’ve genuinely become disenchanted with something. For me, I know it’s often been out of sheer sloth that I don’t want to do something. What compounds the stakes for me is that I write, take pictures, and shoot and edit video for a living; these also happen to be my hobbies outside of work, along with keeping my bullet journal.
Here are two recent examples:
I recently tried vlogging with my husband, Jon. We vlogged a few weeks’ worth of content, but I let it fall by the wayside because I didn’t like it. I’m at that point in my life where to me the act of vlogging feels awkward, and I get very little joy out of putting it all together.
In contrast, about seven or so months ago, I wasn’t bullet journaling. I knew I had stopped because I didn’t feel like doing it; it felt like a chore. It was bothersome — mind you I was also dealing with a lot of sad stuff that, at the time felt like it would never go away. But once I managed to climb out of that hole, I felt a lot better and I wanted to bring that hobby back into my life.
That last round of struggling taught me a few things, so I figured I’d share them with you here.
Find a way to connect with what you’re doing
It’s the first step I go through when I’m struggling with a hobby or a task I always have to do. What does it mean if you get this done? Who or what will you be helping? Do you need to take a quick break? When I first started my new job, there were very small writing projects I struggled to finish. Not because it was difficult, but it felt very one-dimensional — and I tune out with anything that’s one-dimensional. There will always be a handful of things at work that can be tough — and doing this task was my Mount Everest.
When I couldn’t get it right after a few tries, I asked my manager for help and took quick breaks to get myself through it. This could include getting up to make a coffee, or a walk around the block. About a month in, I not only managed to get more of these pieces done, but with the right kind of advice and strategy, I’m now able to do them well. As is the case with everything I do, I know these small tasks are an important part of my job, and I’ve learned to appreciate these specific kinds of writing projects and their place in my working world.
Do you need to take a break?
I usually get to this step and it’s often the answer. In some situations, it doesn’t mean a simple coffee break or a walk around the block. I’ve had to put things down for a week to rediscover my appreciation for them. When I’ve stopped walking my 15,000 steps a day for a couple of days, I feel it. I feel horrible — sometimes I feel sick. That’s all the motivation I need to get back on track. However, having those breaks puts what I do into perspective. I know I need to continue to improve my health, so that’s why I walk all those steps, even though I know I’m tired and sweaty by the end of it.
Should I change my approach?
When I first started blogging, I thought I needed to be writing everything the day before my scheduled publishing dates. I grew to hate doing that, therefore I’d stop blogging. (This website has actually gone through at least four changes; two of the changes occurred after I had stopped blogging for an extended period of time.)
When I realized that I liked to write all at once; that after one week I had so much to freaking say, and so many ideas pent up in my head — I decided to dedicate just two days to writing, shooting photos, editing, and scheduling my posts on Instagram. (I rarely ever post bullet journal photos to my Instagram the day of; those are planned far in advance, thank goodness.) Sure, I may be pre-writing this late into a Saturday night, but I am at least doing something that makes me happy.
Do I need to give it up?
I have given up hobbies because I don’t enjoy them, and that’s okay. Could you imagine what kind of a world we’d live in if we were interested in the first thing we tried — and only that thing — for the rest of our lives? I’d be so bored! As long as you’re trying new things, and are able to accept your true feelings on them, it is okay to move on to the next thing that may make you happy! Plus, it isn’t a “failure” if you’ve tried and found out you don’t like what you’re doing. Life is too short to be miserable stuck doing something that doesn’t appeal to you.