Alarm buzzing, body aching, eyes struggling to open?
Has this become a typical morning routine for you? Do you struggle to get out from under the covers in the morning? Do you feel like your world went from constant excitement to uninspired BLAH?
Blame it on the reverse culture shock.
When you return home after traipsing through glorious lands, it can sometimes be difficult to become inspired by anything. Because everything around you is familiar – the environment, the people, the lifestyle – you might lack the spark that you had abroad. But don’t be fooled… even your time abroad was not always carefree. The hiccups most travelers encounter somehow just seem to get pushed to the back of their minds once they’ve returned home.
The truth is, being in new situations, while trying at times, is also incredibly exhilarating. You are forced into uncomfortable situations that test your patience and ability to think on your feet. Ultimately, putting yourself in the middle of such situations is what changes you and causes you to grow in infinite ways.
But that growth period can seem as though it has come to a sudden halt once you return to your home country. You’ve hit a brick wall.
After having experienced so much “newness,” it’s hard to feel inspired to explore and once again put yourself in challenging environments. But that’s exactly what you need to do. If you don’t want your travel experiences to go to waste, you need to find a way to make use of the lessons you learned.
So how do you find the inspiration to do that? Well, one of the best ways to become inspired is to learn from others. Here’s how…
Now that you’re not being forced to read five chapters from your chemistry textbook every night, you might actually enjoy reading a book for leisure. Fortunately, there are a number of books out there from ordinary people just like you who’ve made remarkable strides in the world. While a book such as Greg Mortensen’s “Three Cups of Tea” is a terrific example of how travel inspired one man to make changes in Afghanistan, you don’t need to focus solely on travel memoirs.
Some of the most inspirational stories are of those who have endured hardships and discovered ways to rise above the challenges. You might find some “rags to riches” stories as well as some “riches to rags” tales. You might be empowered to change your life and a small part of the world by learning how others before you have done it. Grab your library card or start downloading some books to your eReader…one day people might be picking up YOUR book.
As you might have guessed, I’m a huge advocate of reading. If you have an interest in a certain subject, I think reading can offer you invaluable knowledge. And, because of books, magazines, newspapers AND blogs, our knowledge about events and the world only continues to expand.
While books are shaped around a certain topic – in the case of inspirational tales, often the plight from struggle to success – blogs are quite different. Books – in most cases – have a beginning, middle and end. Blogs, however, are constantly evolving. The readers learn and grow along with the bloggers. Although we as readers may be outsiders, we are essentially going on the same journey as those behind the posts.
Even if we missed the beginning, a current blog shows how one or two people have matured over time and what their current circumstances are. Follow a few famous bloggers – like Chris Guillebeau or Tim Ferris – but also check out some of the lesser-known bloggers. They might not have a following of 100,000 yet, but their stories can be just as inspiring, if not more so, than those who have stolen the travel limelight.
With all of the negative news stories about the economy, jobs and the housing market, it can be difficult to find a shred of brightness mixed in amongst all of the doom in gloom. While you might be able to avoid the media, at least to a certain extent, it’s pretty unlikely that you can avoid all human contact. Sometimes you just need to suck it up.
BUT, that doesn’t mean your mood needs to change as a result of all of the dramatic horror stories being told to you. Instead, start your day with a bold, inspirational quote or two. Reading just a few positive words of encouragement each day might be all that is needed to put you in a positive frame of mind. You don’t need to let others hamper your mood, but your positivity just might improve theirs.
It’s been said before, but helping others is an excellent way to help yourself. Those that give their time and skills to improve the lives of others seem to have happier dispositions and lives, in general. Even spending a few hours volunteering at a local food drive or soup kitchen might give you that inspirational spark.
When we help those who are less fortunate than ourselves, it makes us all appreciate what we truly have. And, sometimes all it takes is to meet another person with very little material possessions but a heart of gold, for each of us to do a little more with what we have.
5. GET OUT – OUTDOORS, THAT IS
So she may not be a physical person, but Mother Nature is a thing of inspiration. Stepping outside our caged offices and sterile buildings is a type of liberation. Nature at is finest…pure, undisturbed beauty.
Sometimes the greatest source of inspiration comes from a gentle breeze, a chirping bird or a flowing river. Getting away from the commotion that so many of us are accustomed to in our everyday lives can help to clear and empty our minds. It helps to create a breeding ground for our ideas to grow and come to fruition.
Take a deep breathe and soak in everything that Mother Nature has put before you. You’ll become inspired…some way, somehow.
Where do you find inspiration when you’re feeling down? Tell us in the comments below.