I'm not sure if it's been the transition from 'fall' to winter, or the clocks getting pushed back but I've been completely lacking in the motivation and creativity department. Things have been busy and booming behind the chair but I haven't had much energy or ambition outside of my work and creativity at the salon. I can tell that I'm not the only one feeling this way as my coworkers, clients, family and friends have been expressing that they have been feeling a little down as well. We all just chalk it up to the shorter days of winter and colder weather.
Monday is my most important day, it sets the tone and attitude for the week to come. I have the day off at the salon but this doesn’t mean I'm lounging around catching up on Netflix. My mornings are used to prepare mentally for the week ahead, I set personal and professional goals for the week, start writing my blog, prep most of my Instagram feed and story posts and do all of my usual morning routine, work out , meditate, read and so on. Then its time to hit the road for salon supplies, groceries, and then back home for meal prep, laundry, cleaning and all of the other necessary things that I just love doing! (She says sarcastically)
Week one of my down mood I made up excuses for why I wasn’t doing any of the things I listed above, I kept telling myself, I needed a break and that I deserved it. I don’t know about you but when I'm stuck in one of these down times I can find excuses for everything! I also get super emotional and even the smallest situation like stubbing my toe seems to get magnified. I found myself crying about things I would normally laugh at, getting offended when I would normally try to rationalize, getting angry at the slightest setback and feeling insecure when I would normally recognize my strengths. My relationships were suffering and I was on edge about everything. My excitement to go to work was lacking and I was feeling completely drained half way through my day at the salon. I was eating out or not eating at all and coming home to go straight to bed. It's like my universe was turned upside down and I was walking on the ceiling. I work very hard everyday to try and look for the positive and keep my mind in self love mode! It’s a constant battle with my brain to look for opportunities for learning and understanding instead of self loathing, when it comes to a negative interaction, experience, or situation. Although this takes work its so much better than the alternative! Living in the negative even for a little while is very wearing, as I'm sure most of you can relate it starts to consume you and everything around you, which only leads to more negativity.
After week one of allowing myself to sit in the negative I started to identify what I DIDN'T want and by doing that I had some revelations. I was able to take the down and negative feelings and thoughts that I was having and learn from them what I DO want. It's ok to recognize negativity as long as we are doing it briefly. I'm not suggesting that you sit and repeat all of the negative things or thoughts that you have been experiencing, that is called shaming and it's the exact opposite of what is recommended in this situation. However being able to identify what we don’t want can give us clarity as to what we DO want! We need to stop the cycle of negativity when we find ourselves getting stuck on the hamster wheel and reinforcing negative self talk. I know from experience that this is easier said than done but here's what helps me challenge my negative thoughts in hopes to help my mind get off that damn hamster wheel.
Step 1: Use negativity or contrast to find clarity
I used the negative thoughts and feelings I was having to help me clarify what positive changes I wanted. I was feeling disappointed, insecure, shamed, and self conscious about the fact that I hadn't posted to Instagram or even written one word for a new blog, heck I hadn't even come up with any ideas or sat down at my computer! I was unmotivated and felt like I was having a creative brain fart. By identifying these feelings I was able to clarify that I wanted to start being and feeling positive again.
Step 2: Examine the evidence
Instead of assuming that my negative thoughts are true, I examine the evidence. I asked myself this question, are you a creative hardworking person? I really try to think about this from all angles and come up with examples. Here's my evidence:
1 - I get up between 6 and 7 most mornings and start writing, journaling, reading and doing things that will help encourage creativity and positive living.
2 - I create one of a kind haircuts and colors on guests that give me positive affirmations that they love their hair everyday.
3 - I have already written multiple blog and Instagram posts.
4 - It is hard for me to get creative sometimes but once I force myself to sit down at my computer the creativity starts to flow.
5 - People tell me I'm creative all the time.
6 - I have followers of my blog and on Instagram that write to me telling me to keep the good info coming!
By this point I start to realize that my thoughts are completely irrational and I'm now back into a positive mindset.
Step 3:Does the evidence support my thoughts?
This is usually a big NO! I still try to look for evidence that doesn't support this because this is vital to retraining my brain for the next time I find myself in a downward spiral. I usually think about it from someone else's point of view and ask myself, would other people say I'm creative and hard working? What is evidence that supports this? You can see that I have done this in evidence points 2, 5 and 6 already.
Step 4: Substitute a positive and realistic thought
What is an alternative thought to balance out the negative thought I have been playing over and over in my mind. This is where things get a little tricky for me, I have a hard time giving myself positive encouragement and grace and this is why I have negative thoughts to begin with. That topic deserves its own blog post!
My positive and realistic thought-I am a creative person and I work really hard to try to express my creativity in a positive way everyday through multiple mediums!
Now I read this thought everyday and I can refer back to this exercise to prove to myself that in fact these thoughts I'm having are not true.
Negativity can sneak its way into our lives and take over our minds without us even realizing it. It's ok to have negative thoughts and feelings, it's just not ok to get stuck spending our precious time and energy complaining about, talking about it, and reinforcing it. I've been on and off the hamster wheel more times than I can count, I now have a way to use the negative thoughts and feelings as a jumping off point to get the clarity I really want. The more I practice this exercise of clarity through contrast the faster I'm able to identify my negativity, address it by clarifying what I do want and move forward into a more positive, productive, and self loving mindset!
Hi, I'm Jolene, I started my career in the hair industry over 12 years ago. I have learned a lot along the way, not just about being a hairstylist but about life. I'll keep you up to date on the latest hair color and cut trends of the season, educate you on all different kinds of hair products, styling tools, and everything life!