10 Things to Do When You’re Searching For Purpose
Sometimes in life we hit a crossroads. We may deal with a bout of depression, we may have a falling-out with someone we care deeply about, or we may even get so entrenched in the day-to-day routine that we lose sight of our goals. Sometimes we can get stuck – for days, weeks, months or even years. Have you ever spent too long at a job you hated? Ever had a day that ended and you had nothing to show for it? Ever stayed in an unfulfilling relationship just because of convenience?
This is all normal. As human beings we are blessed with a consciousness that is fluid and constantly changing thanks to our experiences. We need to acknowledge, harness and embrace our mental growth and soul-searching to remain happy and healthy. We need to ask questions of ourselves that may not always be easy.
When you’re feeling stuck, you have a few options. You can either wait for your ‘funk’ to pass (if it is even a phase), or you can do something about it. Here are some ideas to help you take control.
Countless studies show the positive impacts of exercise on mental health. When you get physically active, the effects reverberate throughout your entire body. Your stamina will increase, your heart rate will decrease, your mood will improve. Additionally, adding this to your routine will help to break up any monotony that may have set into your life.
Already active? Have you tried switching it up? There are so many ways you can change your routine – try another gym, different running routes, maybe trail-running instead of street running? Start training for an event – a 5k, an obstacle race, something. It helps to give yourself a goal and focus on the little victories along the way.
I believe that few things in life are as eye-opening as travel. I see travel as a type of deep-tissue massage for the soul, as something that gives you a different mentality to process the world around you. Traveling leaves you with unforgettable memories and connections with people you otherwise never would have.
There are ways to travel without having tons of money. You don’t even have to go far. You can go to Europe for $1000, or hop over across the country and see something new. I believe as long as you are open-minded, you will be able to take away something extremely valuable from your trip.
Take A Class / Learn a New Skill
We are so lucky to live in an age where we can learn just about anything. Pick up a craft like crocheting or macrame, learn homesteading and bushcraft skills, take some kickboxing classes for self-defense – the possibilities are endless! I’d recommend something that is useful – something that would help you to be more self-sufficient. Gardening would be a great example of this.
Use the resources you have available to you. Between Youtube and Google, you have everything you could need.
Take a step away from social media. Especially in the wake of the 2016 election, I found myself getting down whenever I logged onto Facebook or Twitter. When we aren’t reading about the horrible things one person is saying about another, we are seeing people broadcast their most exciting moments.
Think about it, and I mean really take a moment to think. That girl from elementary school got engaged and bought a beautiful house – and you have a front row seat to her best moments in life. Your acquaintance from college is traveling all around the world without a job and having the time of his life – and you’re scrolling through his pictures while sitting on the couch. Or – (true story here) a guy that liked you in college is now a famous musician and plays at all of the major award ceremonies and plays on the radio. I get to see almost daily where this person is touring and what lifestyle he’s living.
Social media makes us think that this is normal for other people, and in turn that we are living less exciting lives. Other people are constantly living magnificent, carefree, problem-free lives while we are sitting on the couch every night going through an endless cycle of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. Just me?
Just take a step back. Make a conscious effort to not log in or check those sources. Try it for a day, then a week.
Spend Some Time Alone
This is especially important if you start to question how fulfilling your relationships may be. Perhaps you need some time to reflect on how your relationship with your partner has changed over the years. Or maybe you are slowly realizing that your best friend might be toxic to you.
Take a weekend away from everyone (and social media!). Go for a walk in your nearest conservation lands. Maybe have a picnic by yourself at the beach. Stay home with a book and some music to decompress and think.
Write a Book
Even if you think you have nothing to write about, just write a book. Nanowrimo is a competition that happens every year in November where thousands of people strive to write 50,000 words before December 1st. I’ve completed Nanowrimo twice (but I love to write) and have thoroughly enjoyed it both times. As an added bonus, you can get free (or deeply discounted) writing software if you win at the end.
You don’t need to plan a book exactly, especially if you’re new to writing. Just start your story and keep going. The rules of Nanowrimo are pretty lax because it’s more about getting you to write as opposed to having final-draft quality work. You can write non-fiction, fiction, fanfiction – anything!
Don’t worry if you want your work to be private! At the end of the competition, the number of words are verified by a little checker. You don’t have to send your manuscript to anyone, and only the people that you want to read it will read it.
Evaluate Your Relationships
People change over time, and that’s okay. Every so often it is beneficial to take a long hard look at our relationships because of the fact that people change. What was once a beneficial relationship to you may not be anymore. Perhaps your romantic relationship no longer helps you to grow as a person emotionally and mentally. Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t help you to be the best person you could be. That’s okay – people need to grow separately and together for a chance at a happy, healthy relationship.
This may be the most difficult thing I’ve listed here. Few people enjoy conflict, and fewer people still want to make the changes that may be uncomfortable at first. Sometimes we can be so comfortable with our relationship that we are willing to put up with being less fulfilled as opposed to being uncomfortable. Maybe you aren’t in love with your partner anymore, but you’re still together because you’ve lived together and you have children or pets together.
This is not an easy thing to face, especially if you are not going to like your conclusion at the end. In that case, it’s even more important that you make the time to evaluate. It’s important.
Change Your Diet
It took me years, but I’ve changed my diet to be about 80% clean. I cannot tell you all the ways this has changed my life, and all for the better. I’ve lost (as of today) 22 pounds. I have more energy than ever before, my skin is the clearest it’s ever been, and my mood is vastly improved.
This is not something that should be done overnight because major changes are difficult to stick with. Swap one thing out at a time, or take one thing away at a time. Instead of having a brownie after dinner, have a healthy smoothie. Cut sugar out of your coffee or substitute soda for water.
You’ll thank me later, I promise!
Reconnect With Nature
Sometimes all my soul needs to reset itself is a nice weekend camping in the woods, away from civilization. I grew up playing in the woods, so maybe you will have a different experience.
If you aren’t the camping type, there’s more you can do. Go somewhere you’ve never been and take a walk through the woods there, or have a picnic by a nearby lake.
Reconsider Your Job
I’ve you read about me, you’ll see that I left a job that I was miserable at for a job that pays much less. I make half as much money but am so much happier, so I don’t regret this decision in the slightest. You have one life, and feeling dread at the beginning of each day is no way to spend it.
At some point you need to be willing to place your own happiness as more valuable than your nice paycheck. I did, and I don’t regret it for one moment.
Tell me what you think in the comments below! What have you done to get yourself back on track? Are you going to try any of these suggestions?