When You Don’t Know What to Do, Don’t Do Anything

I’m working 14 hour days.
I should find an hour every day to journal.
My friend thinks I need to make a change.
I have my resume posted.
I miss playing music.
I went to a performance recently that moved me to tears.
I feel like I need a change of location.
I just don’t know what to do.

This is not a unique story. This is the story of so many people I encounter. People who are walking around in a fog of stress and lack of joy. People who are looking for the big change that will make them feel differently.

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you were nodding your head as you read the beginning of this post. Maybe you even made a big change of job or city and maybe you’re still walking around in a fog of stress and lack of joy.

Pause. Take a breath. There’s nothing to do.

When your head is constantly spinning about what you “should” be doing, what you’re doing wrong or what’s making you miserable; you’re not capable of making good choices. In these moments of spinning mind and burnt out spirit, stop doing. Do less, not more. Don’t try to make a decision. Don’t continue to hold all of the things you’re not doing against yourself.

Stop. Let yourself off the hook. Give yourself a break.

Then start small. That performance that moved you to tears. Who says you can’t go to another one? That instrument that brings you so much joy but has been collecting dust for months. Who says you can’t pick it up? The journal that lays on your bedside table. Who says you can only pick it up if you’re going to write every day?

What’s the smallest step you can take? Try 5 minutes of something that brings you joy. Then try 5 minutes tomorrow. If you can’t make it happen tomorrow, go back to Stop; let yourself off the hook; give yourself a break.

The answers never come when you try to force them. Sure, you may end up making a big change to a new job or a new city, but you’ll be making that decision from a grounded place. You’ll also be surprised just how big of an impact 5 minutes of joy can have when your spirit has literally been starving for it.

Like we tell little kids – if you’re lost, stay still. You’re much more likely to be found that way.

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