Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can feel like everything is going wrong. Life just feels bad, maybe even to the point where you want to crawl into bed for the rest of eternity. A much better option, however, is to look for ways to fix your life, start fresh, and maybe even try something new.
Of course that's easier said than done, especially when things are particularly horrible. Getting yourself out of a minor creative slump, for example, is way easier than picking yourself up after a bad breakup. And yet it can be done. Whether you just want to feel inspired, or you'd like to totally restart your life, it pretty much all starts in the same place.
But how do you know when things need to change? Well, apart from obvious signs (like getting dumped, or fired) you might simply experience a vague sense that something is off. Some signs to look out for include, "A general unhappiness or restlessness in many areas of your life, [and] an impulse to change things — even if nothing is seriously wrong — hoping that will make things feel better," says psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle.
Whatever your reason or issue may be, it might help to follow some of the tips below. Hopefully you'll be able to sort things out, and get on the way to fixing your life.
1. Try Something New
If things aren't working out the way they are now, then the first logical step is to go try something new. Not only will it help you discover other options in life, but it can actually feel really good. "When we try something new, we activate new parts of the brain we do not normally use," Martinez says. "These can trigger dopamine and serotonin reactions, which can help improve mood and motivate you to move forward and try new things."
2. Set Intentions Every Morning
Many of us find ourselves in a morning rut — the alarm goes off, we immediately feel miserable, and then we trudge off to work. (Not the best routine, if you ask me.) It can really help to try something new, and start the morning in a different way. "Every morning, set intentions, go over what you are grateful for, meditate, workout and set goals for the day," says Kim Chronister, PsyD, Clinical Director of Summit Malibu, in an email to Bustle. It may help send your day in a different direction.
3. Get To Cleanin'
Sometimes the easiest place to start is with the dishes. Scrub away, and then straight up the rest of your apartment. Not only will an organized home feel better, but it can help you get some forward momentum towards change. "Cleaning your physical environment isn’t a fix-all; however, tackling some housekeeping is a good exercise in conquering tasks and gets a productive energy flowing," said life coach Diane Passage on HuffingtonPost.com.
4. Do The Thing That Scares You
Now's the perfect time to scare yourself, and get outside your comfort zone. The best place to start? By doing that nerve-racking thing you've always wanted to do. I'm talking about the life-alteringly scary things you never thought you'd try, like standup comedy, dance lessons, or submitting your novel. It may be just what you need to jolt back to life.
5. Build Up From Small Changes
If the above tip is too much, then start by adding in little changes on a daily basis. Think about going to a new place for lunch, or listening to a different kind of music. "Start small, and add them in a little at a time," Martinez says. "You will feel like you have a new and rewarding life in no time."
6. Force Yourself To Have Fun
Sometimes it helps to get out there and get involved with what used to make you happy — even if you don't feel like it. "You will find that after a brief amount of time of doing them again, you will actually start to enjoy yourself," Martinez says. Hey, it might just be worth a try.
7. Go Hang Out With Cool People
Like I said, you may have that intense desire to crawl into bed forever, but staying home by yourself isn't the best way to feel better. "Isolating is one of the most obvious signs that your life is stagnating," says Chronister. "Socializing has a powerfully positive affect on our physical and physiological health." So go hang out with some cool people, and maybe a little inspiration will rub off.
8. Fake A Better Attitude
Yes, life may suck right now. But sitting around in a gloomy state won't do anything to fix things, or make you feel better. So start faking a sunnier outlook. "Attitude is contagious, and thinking positive will boost your ambition and support a more constructive perspective," said Passage.
9. Take Some Time To Assess
Don't be afraid to take time off from that crappy job, or to spend a weekend away from your SO. Whatever the problem may be, giving yourself some distance can help sort things out.
10. Have Yourself A Good Cry
When sh*t's hitting the fan, it can be tempting to hold in all your emotions, and bravely continue on. And yet there's something so refreshing about having a good cry. "Your body essentially purges toxins when you weep," said Therese J. Borchard on PsychCentral.com. "It’s as if all your emotions are bubbling to the surface, and when you cry, you release them, which is why it is so cathartic."
11. Be All About The Lists
Get out a pen and paper, and start thinking about what makes you happy. "Think about all of the things you did as a child, a teenager, and a young adult ... that brought you happiness," suggested certified coach Barrie Davenport on her blog LiveBoldandBloom.com. "Now think about some things you’ve done in recent years ... where you have felt really happy or content." Write them all down, and there you'll find a list of things worth striving for.
12. Make A Plan To Reach Your Goals
You can have all the inspiring lists in the world, but they mean nothing unless you act on them. So start thinking of ways to meet your goals. Do you need to go back to school? Revamp your resume? Hang out with different people? These things are all totally attainable, if you are willing to try.
13. Remember You Aren't Alone
When life isn't going as planned, it's normal to feel like you're the only one who has bad luck. But keep in mind that nothing could be further from the truth. "The average person has eight career changes (not job changes, career changes) in their lifetime," Martinez says. "They have countless relationships before they find [the right partner], and they had to be trained for every job they ever had." All of those people have gotten through, and you will, too.
Again, it's never easy to start over, or to fix your life once it's gone astray. But it is possible. So stick to that positive attitude, try new things, and soon your life will be back on track.
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