Feeling Stale

By Jenny Campbell|January 13, 2021|Being Resilient|

Photo by Chelsea Kyle

The word that is with me right now is stale.

I can feel it, my clients feel it, you may feel it. It seems that whilst the world is very unstable and uncertain, many feel stale in what they are doing day to day.

Here’s what the standard advice can include:

  • If you’re in a stale relationship, either spice it up (find common interests or get stuck into proper conversation that might be a bit more edgy) – or – get out
  • If you’re feeling stale in your job, change it
  • If you’re feeling stale in the same location, set up somewhere else or travel
  • Make a major life change

It would be all too easy to assume that one of these is what you need. It could be. Yet it could be dangerous thinking – when you are feeling low it’s very easy to ask ‘what is wrong with me?’ and this in turn can spiral into polarised thinking, a kind of ‘all or nothing’ approach. This can lead to feeling somewhat dramatic about what needs to change.  But what if major change is just not the thing that you actually need?

Maybe it’s more about allowing yourself to accept the demand that is upon everyone right now is enormous, you included. And if you’re feeling stale, bored, lost your va va oomph, you can allow yourself off the hook, no wonder! Accepting that life is very demanding allows you to consider instead how to invest in the day to day things that can make a difference. There’s a lot practically you might do. The Resilience Engine’s research insights give two big enablers: Being Present, and Energy, as the keys to shifting your contentedness day to day. This translates into

  • Give yourself a break, ease up on the expectation of yourself
  • Learn to ‘be present’. Be in this moment. This is your life happening, right here, right now. Being Present is the foundation of resilience, your adaptability
  • Invest in your wellbeing – your sleep, exercise, laughter, and yes, that old chestnut, nutrition
  • Do something creative, every – that is every – day
  • Deal with stuff that has been bothering you for a while – look inside, understand it, and either accept it or shift it

These more practical steps are great at helping you increase your energy day to day.

The stale feeling however may still remain, just be less dominating. What then?

I have been wondering why I personally am feeling stale. And I had my aha, when I considered my own Resilience River©. This is a simple metaphor we use with our clients, which explains that your resilience is like a river – when the water is high enough, it can handle the rocks it has to navigate around or carry ; when it’s low, everything seems huge and difficult and the river can run really dry.

(Look at the video on our website to understand more, just follow the link: Resilience River©.)

It took me a while of tuning into this to understand why I was feeling stale.

Here is my first aha:

  • It wasn’t about making major changes as in the first category above.
  • And whilst some of the second category of practical things can be improved on, I’m pretty good at doing these already

Here is my second aha:

  • I like my Resilience River©. I like the direction of travel, I can handle the rocks along the way, I even quite like dealing with some of them. Sometimes the river is really bumpy, but overall, the river bed/banks and direction are all good.
  • The thing that I needed to change is the actual water itself. Aha, that’s the bit that was stale!

And to do that, I had to go ‘up river’ to the source of my river. It flows because of my secure bases – things, people, activities, locations –  where I feel totally myself and where I also feel inspired to be everything I can be.

There I found that I had been trading on only one or two of the things that are really meaningful for me, and have in fact stopped the flow of everything else. Madness I realise! The result – I was out of balance, the mix of the river’s waters was not all of me, some if it was missing. I was missing my music, my reading and writing, and the research element of my work.

I had effectively in my busy-ness cut off incredibly meaningful parts of my life and activity, because work and family life had been so demanding. Yet in doing so, my river ended up running the wrong colour, and was much lower than it needed to be. Having stared the process of opening the valves on all the areas that are meaningful for me – my secure bases- the river has already started to flow more naturally and wonderfully again.

What’s more, to do that was easy. It wasn’t a big life change needed, it wasn’t more rigour around my wellbeing habits, it was more simple than that – it was- and is – just getting my balance back by connecting with everything that I love.

So if you are feeling stale, why not wonder about your own Resilience River©. It might just unlock what you need to feel more in flow again.

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