Snap out of Apathy
Ever have one of those days when you wake up with a list of plans but you just don’t want to do any of them? You walk down the stairs and land in your living room, staring at your sofa like it’s the next best thing to a Caribbean vacation. You contemplate the mental list of things you wanted to get started on that day and laugh at them. The couch is calling. The television is already tuned in to what looks like a marathon day of an addictive reality show you’ve been meaning to check out. Coffee is brewed and waiting to be poured into an oversized mug. You test out the sofa, fluffing the pillows and tossing a blanket on your lap to protect against any spilling from your oversized mug of java.
Oh heck, what’s an hour? The tasks can wait.
One hour turns into five episodes of this new reality television show. Now, you’re tired and can’t possibly energize enough to do anything on that long list you drafted the day before. You may as well just finish watching this marathon and grab another cup of coffee.
Feel guilty when you have such a day? Don’t. This is downtime, and it’s necessary for the health of the soul.
When you have to be concerned is when this drags on for longer than a day. Then, it might be a case of apathy.
There is a difference between downtime and apathy.
Downtime, especially when planned, is beneficial because you take a concerted effort to not do tasks for the purpose of rest.
Apathy, on the other hand, is not something anyone plans and is described as a lacking of concern, emotion, excitement, and motivation.
Apathy will suck a person into its vortex quicker than a blink.
Most people experience apathy at some point. Who hasn’t glazed over when surfing the internet, watching mindless television, or staring up at a ceiling when she should be working instead?
Admittedly, I’ve experienced a day or two, here and there, of not caring about things I should be caring about. On such days, I find myself wasting time doing things like checking and rechecking Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus way more than one person ever should. I gravitate toward Internet surfing when I should be working on something important like a new blog post, a chapter in a book, a vlog, or any other work-related activity.
Well, experts say apathy can be caused by a person feeling overwhelmed with goals that seem out of reach. Goal-driven people who get pummeled with obstacles that make it hard, if not impossible, to see the ultimate attainment of the goal, can slip into the black hole of apathy rather easily. Because apathy is a precursor to depression, it’s really important to understand it and find ways to overcome it.
I find whenever I lose my footing and slip closer to the edge of apathy’s grip, making a change to my routine snaps me back to a healthy state very quickly. This past week, I felt the glaze start to take over and fog my mind.
A little background on me and apathy: I know my trigger. I’m addicted to goals, and I’m in the middle of writing my novel, The Dance, and trying to get a new business writing venture off the ground at the same time. Whenever on pursuit of a goal, I tend to get a little nervous that I won’t be able to achieve what I set out to accomplish. I think my system starts to go a little batty and goes into a rebellious state of apathy to protect itself from my crazy ideals!
Well, I don’t have time for that. What goal addict does?
I’m no stranger to the onset of apathetic emotions. Just like I know my trigger, I also know my cure. Isn’t that the power? I have the antidote. For me, even a subtle change in life can snap me out of apathy.
So this past week, as I was starting to glaze over on my fifth entry back into my Facebook newsfeed, I looked around my office and had an idea. I’d been sitting in my office, viewing the same wall and artwork for too long to be good. The pulse to change my view pumped me right up off my chair and straight into action mode.
I rounded up three very strong colleagues and together we moved desks, tables, lamps, and shelving. In about thirty minutes, I sat in my new office digs and felt a resurgence of creativity energy.
I am not sure if it’s the new way my lamps are reflecting off my walls, or the angle of my monitor in relation to door, or the openness of my new floor plan that did the trick. But I have to tell you, that thirty minutes erased all traces of apathy.
It’s been about a week since I’ve rearranged, and I’m feeling my groove again.
In my years of dealing with this emotion, I’ve made many changes. I’ve taken up new hobbies like oil painting, playing the piano, taking guitar lessons, learning how to speak Spanish, trying new routes to my office, sliding my morning routine around, and adding in new exercise routines. Even small changes can make a huge impact, and help reignite a spark.
Have you experienced apathy, and if so, what is your go-to way of pulling up out of it?
Consider speaking with a professional therapist if you are not able to pull out of it. Oftentimes having a professional to talk to can help give you more power and perspective.
Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist