How to get your enthusiasm back

When life seems to have lost all its color, you feel bogged down, lack the energy to pursue your interest, and view nearly everything as one more thing you have to do or one mundane task after another – it’s long past the time to do something about it. These grey and dull moments are symptoms that are not to be ignored. Clearly, either there is a medical condition that deserves your attention, or you’ve lost connection with essential parts of yourself. Both are urgent matters that deserve your focus, energy, and effort. Needless to say, how you get your enthusiasm back depends greatly on your taking action.  Knowing where to begin and what to do can overwhelm just about anyone. So I have included some suggestions below to help you get started.

You Are Not Lazy

Many of my clients lament not feeling motivated and having lost their spark. Sadly, they often refer to themselves as lazy, which, by the way, I have never found to be true. I can’t think of one person I have met who wasn’t working to manage and improve their life. So if this is part of your internal dialogue about yourself – stop those thoughts in their place. Trust there is something more going on underneath the surface. Use the energy available to identify the root cause of your malaise.

Health Conditions

Instead of being lazy, I witnessed lethargy as a symptom stemming from several possible causes – the most obvious is an underlying health condition. I am not a doctor, but a long list of physical reasons for lack of zeal in one’s life indeed exists. The prudent thing to do is to make an appointment with your physician and have a very real conversation to rule out any possible medical factors. This is nothing more than good old fashion sense. If you don’t have a doctor you feel safe talking to, please, for the love, find one. We all need a caring doctor willing to help us investigate what ails us.

It is also possible that there are multiple causes for lack of enthusiasm. A loss of interest can be linked to a mental illness, disorder, or disease, but not always. Once again, I implore you to meet with a health professional to rule this out. 

Disconnection with Yourself

More often than not, the humdrum feelings from a loss of enthusiasm are rooted in a disconnection with oneself. Life is complex, multidimensional, and unpredictable at times. We often find ourselves reeling after we’ve been rocked by loss, grief, relationship problems, a lost sense of contribution, stress, or not enough challenges. It can also be caused by resisting being faithful to one’s passions and lacking self-love and care.

Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are a natural part of life. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know how to process this type of cataclysm. In reality, our brain is left searching for our loved’s location in time and space. This fills us with intense emotions that are difficult to navigate alone. We feel primarily out of sorts, dispirited, numb, and alone during this time because, in truth, no one else can fill the void caused by the loss of someone we dearly love. (Including our animals.) 

I’ve heard it said that “grief is unexpressed love.” This makes complete sense to me. It gives us reason to make the most of our relationships while we can and to let our losses teach us how to cherish moments as they unfold. In all this, we must remember the larger aspect of ourselves – we are designed to connect, share and love others as we love ourselves. Isolation, withdrawal, and constant desire to live in our heads replaying old memories must be interrupted. This isn’t love – it is fear. As hard as it is to face our lives alone, we must move on. 

Identifying Complex Grief

It is important to note that we will most surely remember our loved ones throughout our lives. During these moments, we will likely continue to experience moments of wistfulness, but that is quite different than being forever lost in our sorrow. So use your memories to fill your heart with joy – not to keep you living in a time that has long since passed. If intense grief goes on too long, it can be considered complex and may require outside intervention. Remembering our humanity is essential here. We are designed to be socially connected. This means we need others in our lives to help us experience our aliveness. If you are currently caught in a spiral of complex grief, you may not recognize and feel how important you are to others. There is someone who needs you to show up in their life.

Developing Healthier Relationships

We are in a relationship with all there is, but that doesn’t mean we understand how to nurture healthy relationships. Lacking this fundamental understanding causes us to experience a lot of pain, disappointment, and a loss of enthusiasm. Although most of us do not want to hear this, I have found that the underlying cause for most of our relationship challenges is an unhealthy relationship with ourselves. We often get caught up in our coping skills, projecting them upon others rather than truly looking at our behavior patterns and expressions.  

In truth, the only hope we have in healing our relationship with others is to become more self-aware. As we become more self-aware, we are empowered to be more regulated, which opens the door to knowing what we need, establishing and maintaining boundaries that honor and respect ourselves and others, and communicating with clarity and kindness. These help us align with our integrity and become more accountable, responsible, and reliable. These are just some of the elements within the anatomy of the trust that opens our hearts and endears us to one another.  

Looking at Marriage Differently

Regarding marriage, let’s face it, the statistics are not in our favor – 50% end in divorce, and less than 30% are satisfying and fulfilling for those that last. This naturally implies that great relationships are not a given. The opportunity to love and be loved is a gift that takes work. We must remember that at least half of the solution resides within you. When you are clear about yourself, you can communicate your needs and make requests that honor the relationship. 

Mitigating and Managing Stress

When exploring the effects of stress on our attitude and energy, one cannot be remiss in speaking about the negative impact caused by a lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and insufficient movement on our ability to be emotionally regulated and resilient. These impact our affect, mood, and perception to such a degree that we often do not see life as it is but instead as we are. This can mean we are fighting a war on the outside that doesn’t exist. 

For most of us, especially in the US, long gone are the days when we fight for food and shelter. Yet, many of us are living as if we are. That is why it is paramount that we become aware of these heavy-handed consequences and learn to re-label our challenges and soothe our nervous systems. After a visit to your trusted physician, implementing stress-reducing habits that support and care for yourself is where I suggest you start. Having said that, I think these areas remain primarily overwhelming and confusing for most individuals.  (This is a cause of a lack of enthusiasm in and of itself.) Yet, it remains one of the most critical areas a person can address in life and is why many of my clients reach out to me. Together we clarify the path and process of managing and lowering stress, real self-love, and self-care, in doing so, I get to witness lasting change and improvement in the quality of one’s life.  

Need to Contribute

Feeling relevant and knowing you make a difference underscores why retirement isn’t always good for us. Most of us know at least one retired person who seemed to go downhill fast. That is why developing a retirement plan focused on more than just fishing or working in the yard is critical.  Involve yourself in the lives of others is vital to our well-being. It allows us to exchange moments of appreciation and gratitude that keep our spark alive.

If you are too young to think about retiring, it might be good to ponder what contributions you are making in your life and how it feeds your sense of belonging and doing your part. This is especially helpful when you feel lonely. There is no cure better for loneliness than to be of service to another. 

Lacking Challenges

It is our nature to learn, grow, change, transform and transcend. If you feel bored and listless- it’s time to sink your teeth into learning something new. I would love to recommend it be something you are incredibly excited about, but the reality of connecting to that right off the bat seems unlikely. Instead, it is one of the times when you must muster the challenge to do something hard. We all can do hard things, and when we do, mood follows action. 

Connecting to Your Passions

One of the best ways to reignite your passion is to connect with others who share your interests. Joining a club, taking a class, or even talking to like-minded people can help jumpstart your excitement. Reading about or watching others engage in activities that interest you can motivate you. Additionally, setting small goals for yourself can help you gradually regain enthusiasm. Starting with something simple, such as taking a walk around the block or spending 15 minutes reading each day, can lead to significant changes over time. Finally, remember that it’s okay to take some time for yourself. Relaxing and doing things that make you happy – even if they don’t seem productive – can recharge your batteries and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything.

More Self-Love 

If a close friend were going through a tough time, you would treat them with kindness, honesty, and compassion. Sadly, when we find ourselves in the same situation, we often get stuck in our heads, beating ourselves up, which does nothing more than create more of the same doldrums. It’s pretty hard to argue with that – right? If you don’t believe me, think back to the last ten attempts at revitalizing yourself. Were you overly critical and judgemental?  Where did that lead you? Are you feeling better? No, I didn’t think so. I call this looking for evidence. I would wager you’ve been down this road a lot and have enough proof that being critical and judgmental of yourself doesn’t work. 

In reality, you are your life partner! That’s right. Let that sink in. There is no one more important than you. This is not selfish – it is your responsibility. Your beating yourself up will never cure what ails you, much less open the door to creativity and problem-solving. It’s time to finally accept and love yourself as you are. That means looking at yourself more completely and identifying what makes you-you. Part of all that is learning what your needs are and finding creative ways to have them fulfilled. Once you are there, you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is for you to open yourself up to be seen, heard, felt, and understood. Perhaps for the first time. It is a completely different way to live life -one that is enriched with every encounter and touches everyone.

Self-Care

Self-care helps you to cherish the life you have been given and gives you specific daily habits and rituals that invite you to live your life out loud. Some of which I discussed in the section on stress. There is a long list of ways one can care for oneself. Feel free to reach out to me for more suggestions. For now, start with getting a regular good night’s sleep first and foremost, from there, everything starts to get easier. 

This should give you a good start on how you get your enthusiasm back! Let me know how it goes. 

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