Harnessing Inspiration

Happy 2019, friends! I hope the new year is treating everyone well and that you are feeling healthy and inspired!

Inspiration through beauty
Back at home in Tennessee

On December 16th, I returned from Thessaloniki, Greece to Knoxville, Tennessee, and have intently embarked on a job search to continue my work in international higher education. For the time being, I am living at home with my lovely parents who have taken me in (as they do while I am in between seasonal jobs/grad school/work – which I am very grateful for as it makes much of my lifestyle possible). But this time feels a little different because there is not an end-date stamped for this transitional period in my life. It’s been a bit tricky to go from a dynamic job in Greece where I was surrounded by inspiring students and novel environments to “funemployment” and a blank schedule.


As someone who gains energy from consistently doing the things that require energy, days with little to fill them leave me the all too easy option of relaxing, which my family will tell you I am generally awful at.

The topic of inspiration and motivation has been on my mind lately as some days I feel like a sloth, and other days I’m ready to run up a mountain.

Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria
Runnin’ up mountains in Bulgaria at Seven Rila Lakes.

Several books that I have read lately talk about the concepts surrounding motivation and inspiration. Mark Manson explains that most people commit to an action only once they feel a certain level of motivation. But in reality, acting in itself creates emotional reactions that sometimes engender inspiration.

Action → Inspiration → Motivation. 

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic states that when she feels uninspired, she’ll set a timer and allow herself to create anyway.


So when you’re feeling sluggish and lacking motivation, try one of these things. They’re bound to make you feel good and they just might get the inspo flowin’!

1. Use something to it’s completion.

I’ll start with possibly the easiest one. Toothpaste. Shampoo. All of the vegetables in your refrigerator. It doesn’t matter what it is, but something about using something to it’s exhaustion is utterly refreshing.

2. Get up and move!

It’s funny how even though I know the effects of a run, yoga, climbing, or a trip to the gym, there’s sometimes that barrier/mental struggle to commit. Just do it! It always feels good after.

3. Finish an old project.

Pick up that half-knitted scarf, your half-completed painting, fixer-upper project, or whatever it may be.

4. Or begin a new one.

Make a shell mobile. Or construct some homemade corn hole boards for your family and friends. Learn to knit a hat, or begin memorizing the capitals of the world. Undertaking something new is exhilarating and refreshing! (My next DIY project is a macrame wall hanging!)

5. Do something novel.

Try a new recipe, or buy an entirely new genre of book. Go on a new route on your morning run. Switch up the routine in some way, shape or form.

(I made this beer bacon mac n’ cheese on Christmas Day and it was fire.)

6. Go through your old stuff

I’ve started cleaning out my closet and posting a few things on Facebook Marketplace, which is weirdly fun and fulfilling productive.

7. Set goals. Big ones. Little ones. In between ones.

I’m a big list maker and list crosser-off-er. At the end of 2018 I crossed off three items on my do-before-I-die list: work in Europe, earn my master’s, and visit Maine. Goal-setting in a variety of time increments helps me recognize the things I want to achieve and gives me plenty to continually work towards.

8. Play

Be curious just like your 8 year old self and seek out the things that bring you joy. For me, play includes hiking, climbing, yoga, photography, ukulele, and creating.

Stay inspired, friends!

die as young as possible
Hayley Sarah Blog
Inspiration through physical beauty

4 thoughts on “Harnessing Inspiration

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