Self

9 Tiny Things You Can Do Right Now If You're Struggling

Photo: Victoria Romulo | Unsplash
Man wrapped in his comforter sitting up

I’ve had many moments when I felt tired, fed up, overwhelmed, and in despair. It seemed like everything was going wrong. I had no out. I just wanted to lie in bed and do nothing. But doing nothing, no matter how hard it seems, is the last thing you need to do. When it seems like our world is crumbling, this is never how it is. It just appears like this. When it seems we have nothing left in the tank, this is not the time for big, drastic actions. either

You don’t need to quit. You don’t need to leave the country. You don’t need to burn bridges. You need a second to breathe. Stop revving on fourth gear. You now need to re-engage first gear. And you need to focus on the simplest of actions. The tiniest of actions are the most powerful thing in the world. They transform you from victim to leader in a flash. And mindset is all that matters at this point. The small stuff seems small, but — in the throes of despair — they are gigantic.

Here are 9 small things you can do right now if you're struggling:

1. Brush your teeth.

Tend to your hygiene. Have a shower. Do one thing that demonstrates the tiniest degree of self-care. Show yourself that you do care. Get off your sofa, walk to the bathroom, and do it. Even if you already did it. This is a powerful act because it sets in motion other actions that represent ownership.

RELATED: 5 Bad Habits That Reveal A Lot About Your Hygiene

2. Clean up.

Wash the dishes. Wash a single dish. Clean the bathroom mirror. Make your bed. Do something that demonstrates care for your environment. If you can’t take care of your surroundings, you will have difficulty moving forward in your career, business, and relationships.

3. Decide to stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Pitching yourself as a victim in any way is tempting. We do it because it feels like a relief, but deep down, it eats us up inside. Blaming others feels empowering, but it will only emphasize your lack of responsibility. Get aggressive here. Refuse to cower to the brutal voice inside that says you failed. You may have made a mistake, but you’re not a failure. You’re better than that. Stand up, look in the mirror, and say you refuse to be a little whiner. Feel your true, warrior self blink awake at this point. Rise up.

4. Go for a walk.

It sounds inconsequential, but if a walk or some form of physical exercise outside is the last thing on your mind, now is the time to do it. It’s just a walk. It’s hardly an Ironman. Get your face in the sun, and walk with no agenda. Just walk and feel the ground beneath your feet. Let your mind settle as you go. The more you move, the more you may find insights about what you need to do come to you without effort. This is the voice of your true self coming through. Let the little dude speak.

9 Small Things You Can Do Right Now If You're StrugglingPhoto: ViDI Studio / Shutterstock

5. Be aware of your emotions.

Sit somewhere comfortable and become an observer of your feelings, physical sensations, and emotions that arise in the moment. Give yourself time and space for this. You are now a separate, curious watcher. This is a powerful exercise because you separate yourself from your thoughts and emotions. They are not you. They never were. You are beyond that.n Watch your feelings come up and observe them without judging. You will find the stuck feelings appear and then slowly diminish. This is a foundational exercise for mental freedom because you need to know that you can separate yourself from your emotions.

RELATED: Once You Can Control These 7 Emotions, You'll Be Mentally Strong

6. Message a friend.

Think of someone important or interesting to you in your life. Anyone you like. Send them a message of support. Just connect. This is an act of rebellion for most because we rarely make the first move. When we take action this way, we are taking the form of a leader, acting — not for ourselves — but for other people. The struggle you feel when you despair is a form of self-consciousness, which you know hurts. The solution is to look outward and become a good steward for other humans in your life. One message.

7. Write a ‘cool stuff list.’

Get out a pad of paper and write down all the cool stuff you can think of that brings you joy. List out stuff that interests you. List out your wins. Brainstorm some ideas of things you’d still love to do. Do this without getting in the way of yourself. Don’t judge. Don’t get self-critical. Just list some cool stuff out. Re-energize yourself by putting your attention on good things; the things that ARE working in your life. The stuff you’d like to create. You will find them.

9 Small Things You Can Do Right Now If You're StrugglingPhoto: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

8. Put on a podcast.

Or an audiobook. Or some music. Allow someone else’s creations to come to the fore for now, and listen to what they have to say. Perhaps listen to something you wouldn’t normally do. Allow yourself to be inspired by other people creating, making, and doing. You don’t need to do anything other than enjoy someone else’s work. What’s interesting about what they have to say? What’s one lesson you can take from this?

RELATED: 11 Best Podcasts About Relationships

9. Write out a ‘next three steps plan.’

Get out your notebook again. We’re going to create a plan. A simple plan. A plan that takes you out of your overwhelming thoughts and into simple actions. I’ve given you some steps to take so far, but the next three are down to you.

This is a responsibility-taking exercise, and you’re doing this for two reasons: To re-instil a sense of empowerment in you. You have free will. You have the freedom of choice. You can create anything you want. There is tremendous power in this. You can do anything you want, and you can design exactly what this looks like. Reinforce the idea that everything in life is made up of the tiniest of steps. You don’t need to think about Everest before you climb it. You need to decide on three next steps to set your journey in motion.

Now you’ve taken a tiny step. But this step represents something huge for you. Because you’re no longer at the mercy of your life. You are an active participant. Do you get how big that is? You are the designer. You’re doing it. Now, keep going.

RELATED: How To Enjoy Your Life Even When Everything's Going Wrong

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.