In one of my former lives, I was a Professional Ballerina. Yes, really. I worked 6 days a week, 10 hours (or more) a day, striving for the kind of perfection that can only be achieved by perseverance, tenacity, and sheer-willed stamina. When I just couldn’t seem to “get it right,” I would try, over and over again, aiming to make it better. What I got was more and more tired, and harder and harder on myself for still not having it right. You know what the definition of insanity is, right? The old, doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.Well, eventually the Director would sense the group’s frustration and fatigue, and would suggest we “take ten,” and then get back to it. I would grab some water, a couple of bites of an energy bar, and share in the laughter and company of my colleagues to ease the stress. After even just ten minutes away, tensions had melted a few degrees. Tempers had subdued. There was a lightness that made the solution more clear. “Right” seemed achievable, instead of insurmountable.
Getting absorbed in a project, or “on a roll,” is a great place to be in. All cylinders are firing, the words are practically writing themselves, and the ideas are flowing. When this is not happening, the tendency is to just keep going, and going, and … well, going, until it “happens.” This can just lead to fatigue and frustration. Walk away, take a 10, and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Here are some 10 to try when you get stuck:
- Breathe: Just a couple of deep breaths can ease tension and bring clarity.
- Drink water: Dehydration is not our friend.
- Eat a light snack: Low blood sugar can cause fuzzy thinking and irritability.
- Get your blood pumping: Do 10 pushups, situps, or jumping jacks.
- Read for pleasure: Pick up a magazine or Huffington Post app, and shift your brain to something else
- Get outside: Take a short walk around the block, or sit on your porch and listen to the trees.
- Clean up: I find that doing the dishes, sweeping, or vacuuming always clears my head.
- Snuggle up: With your mate, your dog, your pillow. Get that oxytocin flowing.
- Have a dance break: Crank up your favorite music and dance as full out as you can.
- Meditate: Just started doing this myself again. Get back to center. I used this 2-minute guided meditation from calm.com