From time to time each of us gets bogged down in negative thinking. It’s inevitable. We may be sick of our job or in a dying or stagnant relationship and uncertain about the future. Here are 5 things to do when you’re feeling stuck:
1) Go on a retreat. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used to advise harried people to go on a retreat annually to make time to reflect and step out of the rat race.
2) Travel. It never hurts to get a change of scenery for at least a few days to get you out of a negative pattern of thinking.
3) Talk to a therapist or a life coach. Men tend to be hesitant to do this. It is expensive and it can feel like a waste of time, but it’s important to check in with a professional from time to time.
4) Take some tests. Aptitude tests and personality tests can help you figure out what is holding you back. A few that I’ve benefited from over the years are:
The weather in Los Angeles may be a lot nicer than in Cleveland, but LeBron James is cleaning out his locker right now. Which reminds me of one of the most important lessons in life- the grass is not always greener. That dream job, that beautiful woman, that new side project you are contemplating changing everything for, may not work out. And that’s okay.
I’m not saying don’t try and I’m not saying take the easy path. Indeed, in America it is truly okay to fail and start over. But be smart about it. Prepare yourself as much as possible (without killing the dream) and learn everything you can while you’re in a stable situation. This will make it easier. Faith and confidence are crucial, but they will not succeed without preparation.
Telework sounds like a lovely idea. It’s not! It’s just another way the Cultural Marxists are undermining norms in the western world. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that, but here are #5Reasons I suggest that you NOT telework if you have an office to go into or if you are debating about whether to rent one of those co-working spaces:
Screws up your daily routine. Switching up your routine is great from time to time, but when you’re going into the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays it really messes up how you prepare for each day.
Destroys the workplace esprit de corps. My office is now a ghost town every day except for Wednesdays. It’s a shame. It used to be a fun place to work.
If you struggle with self-control, working from home can very easily worsen some already-bad tendencies like drinking during the day, smoking weed, and gambling online.
Destroys the “specialness” of the weekend. If every day is kind of like Friday or Saturday, how do you really know the difference. This is also true for people who work unusual schedules. Someone’s got to do it, but there is a wisdom in the routine of Monday through Friday followed by the weekend.
Overall, just undermines the discipline that humans need to flourish. With 1 day off out every 7, including a day filled with family activities, a person can recharge to be productive once again. Spend 1 day per week at home, maybe 2, but not 5 or 6. We need balance, but not that much work-life balance.
In fact, a much better way to telework is to do a few extra bits of work from your home office occasionally, like when you need to “work late” or take care of a sick kid. Not for full days and definitely not every day if you can avoid it.
Dogs require a lot of work. You have to take them for walks daily, usually 3 times at a minimum (this post is primarily for urban dogs). They’ve got to be fed 1-2 times daily, groomed occasionally, trained if they act out. They can be a huge pain. Make sure you are up for it, but in most cases adding a dog to your life is a win-win for everyone. Below are 5 reasons you should get yourself a dog :
You’ll never experience such unconditional love from anyone else. Your spouse might visit you if you went to prison but you can be sure your dog would.
Humans, especially men, need a safe, comfortable outlet for showing affection for others. It’s not always easy to show affection when you’re a man. We all know this. It doesn’t turn us into incels or serial killers, it’s just more complicated than sobbing at a moment’s notice.
Having a dog adds structure and discipline to your life. Discipline is the key to success in the future.
It’s the BEST protection for a home. I live in the city in a good, but formerly somewhat crappy neighborhood and I leave my doors unlocked all the time. Even at night.
Connects you with neighbors. It builds community, gives you something to talk about with your neighbors and fellow dog owners, and helps you truly get to know your neighborhood. I remember living in downtown DC in my early 30s and not knowing ANY of my neighbors, until I got a dog. Suddenly everyone became so much friendlier.
I’m not a fan of exercising. I pretty much hate it and then I kinda hate myself for hating it. So I try to make it fun. In fact, I try to make basically everything fun. And I find I can really enjoy exercising when I incorporate it into other fun activities.
Long dog walks. When I have the time on a Saturday morning and the weather is nice, I’ll take my dog on a 3 or 4-mile walk. As the Dog Whisperer says, a tired dog is a good dog. He enjoys it, I do, and everyone is better behaved.
Biking to work. Another way I incorporate exercise into my daily life is by biking to work during the spring and summer. It’s an invigorating way to start the day and fantastic exercise if you can manage it. It requires a lot of complicated gear and clothing transfers so it’s best to join a gym near your office with lockers for storing clean clothes.
Playing pickup basketball. Hoops is one of the best ways to stay in shape. There is the chance of the odd ankle twist and finger jam, but the consistent effort works out virtually all of your body. I try to play basketball one night per week at a nearby gym. It’s one of the few remaining bastions for male bonding in my community and a hell of a good way to stay in shape.
Getting out in nature. Hiking or taking a long walk in the woods- unless you’re in a rapey urban park- will do wonders for your spirit. If you have time, get well out of the city.
Swimming. I know it sounds boring, but I try to swim weekly by viewing it as a sort of meditation practice. I find that once I’m in the water, and especially when I’m underwater, I reach a deeply meditative mental state. It’s great when you really need to work through an issue you’re grappling with.
Find a partner. It always helps to have the accountability of friends.
Build the habit. Once it’s a habit it becomes a lot less painful. Make time for exercise in your life and make it fun.
There are ways to make exercise a lot less unpleasant. Try them.
If you’re dissatisfied at work, and let’s be honest, most of us are, here are a few things you can do to get moving towards something better:
Update that resume (regularly). It’s crucial to update your resume regularly so that you are ready whenever a new opportunity arises or you connect with a new contact. And consider sprucing it up. That pathetic Times New Roman font you’ve been using since 1998 is outdated. Of course, do what’s appropriate for the industry- creative or otherwise.
Practice interviewing. I’m not kidding. Find some interview questions on the Internet then get out the iPad or your phone and film yourself answering questions. Notice if you sound too casual or lazy or inarticulate or say “like” too much. This is REALLY IMPORTANT! People will go their entire lives without knowing what idiots they sound like most of the time.
Do something “extra” at work. Organize the office trip to a baseball game or a happy hour (be careful) or bring in a speaker on some important subject. Those things are not part of the job description, but they give you some visibility with the boss and other higher-ups.
Accept feedback. This is a tough one. If you are sensitive or thin-skinned or prideful, this one might hurt. So prepare yourself. Toughen yourself up. Learn some assertiveness and learn to face your fear of negative feedback. It’s hard to, but remember it is a learning opportunity.
Explore online training options. There are countless ways to cultivate your skills while you are in a job that you don’t love. Look for things that interest and will help you. Learning to write better, speak better, and generally present yourself better is a good place to start.
Dress better. It sounds weird, but it makes a big difference. Your appearance, your attitude, all of the little things you do are part of what will earn you opportunities in life.
There is a ton of advice out there. This bit REALLY works. Here are 5 reasons you should swim regularly:
Your body will never feel better. Swimming utilizes your entire body and the repetition creates enormous flexibility and strength in your neck, back, and legs.
It’s great for the mind, too. Swimming is extremely calming, even meditative. At the same time, it can help you focus your mind if you need to delve into an issue. After I swim, I’m usually unflappable for the remainder of the day.
Beats a chiropractor. I used to have constant pain in my left shoulder blade stemming from an injury that occurred while moving furniture over 10 years ago. I would occasionally go to a chiropractor who was able to make the pain go away… for about 45 minutes. It wasn’t until I started swimming regularly that the pain finally went away.
Lets out aggression. Like punching a pillow, swimming can be a safe outlet for expressing your frustration, even pretending to take a few swings at some imagined underwater foe. I’ve been known to let out a roar underwater from time to time and I urge others to do the same.
It’s a good discipline. In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits, swimming, like running or bicycling, builds discipline that carries over into other areas of life.
If you knew something would take away your back and neck pain AND put you in a relaxed mood for 12 hours or so, why would you NOT do it?