2 things you can do if you feel like giving up
written by Philip Stefanov | NOVEMBER 17, 2020
We all feel like giving up sometimes. Here are two useful things you can do:
Beware of Cumulative Stress
The way I see it, most of us strike a decent balance between stress and recovery. There are different stressors in our lives (working out, school, work, etc.) but there are also sources that dissipate our stress and help us recover (sleep, nutrition, play, relaxing, etc.).
So long as we keep the scale somewhat balanced, we can function as normal human beings. But if we tip the scale in favor of too much stress, we can’t recover fully, and stress accumulates.
At first, we might cope just fine. But over time, once enough stress accumulates, we start feeling exhausted, unable to focus, and generally unmotivated to do anything.
This is what the theory of cumulative stress suggests. We can do more than we are capable of recovering from, but only for a while before we crash and burn. In the context of training, this is known as overreaching.
Because of that, I’ve been trying to set a sustainable speed. Enough work - at the gym, and in my day to day work - to make progress, but not too much that I end up overtrained, overworked, and mentally burned out.
In other words, I ask myself, “Can I stick to this schedule for months on end and not burn out completely?” It’s not always easy to answer, I have been wrong before, and unexpected circumstances have arisen. But I’ve found that looking at the bigger picture allows me to things in a more sustainable way.
Change Your Scenery
Up until a few years ago, I would spend 99 percent of my time in my city, going to the same few places and doing the same things. Month after month, I never changed my scenery and rarely did anything new or different. I remember that period of my life negatively because even though I was making significant progress toward my goals, I felt dissatisfied and trapped.
A colleague I had at the time shared an idea that resonated with me. He stated that changing our scenery every once in a while is a great way to unplug, recover, and get back more motivated to work. In hindsight, it makes sense. But I never thought about it until then. Since that time, I’ve used that technique multiple times, and it works wonders.
These days, I make it a point to change my scenery completely every once in a while, even if it’s just for one day—a trip to a different city or country. Maybe go to the beach or the mountainside. Something that would root me out of my environment and give me time to breathe.
Whenever I feel mentally stuck, I find that a short trip always helps me recover and gain a new appreciation for what I’m doing.
We live in a super fast-paced world, and many of us don’t leave our environments for months, even years at a time. It’s easy to become a prisoner of the daily grind and lose sight of other, just as important aspects of life.
And it’s not just about large-scale changes of scenery. For example, every time I experience a mental block and can’t seem to do productive work, I go out, take a walk, and come back. In 100% of cases, I feel much more focused and motivated.
Until next week,
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, click here to read a post I wrote about it.
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