It happens to everyone. Some weeks – even months – you feel spot on. You’re connecting with friends, energized at work, on a workout hot streak and packing snacks and lunches to stay healthy and save money when you’re on the go. The voice inside my head is saying “Heck yeah, life’s good.” Then all of a sudden, you’re out of your groove; behind at work, exercise is a chore and you haven’t been to the grocery store in weeks. You hit a major slump.
Blame it on the holidays, mercury being in retrograde or the cold weather; whatever your reason or validation, slumps happen to everyone. It’s how quickly we can get over the slump that matters.
A slump, by definition, is a sudden severe or prolonged fall in the price, value, or amount of something. I had to laugh when I looked up the word because it is very matter-of-fact. For me, when I’m in a slump, I’m lacking any amount of motivation that gets me moving, making smart decisions and/or checking things off my to-do list. Basically, I’m not on point (errr, I’m in a slump).
My outlook is more negative/tired than positive and easy-going. Workout slumps, mindful eating slumps, productivity slumps (regardless of what it is) … when a slump strikes, it’s really hard to break the negativity that comes along with it. Dr. Seuss said, “When you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” He’s right…
After trudging through a few days of feeling unmotivated, not myself or “off” – I first recognize that I am, in fact, in a slump. For whatever reason, slumps happen – maybe from a busy schedule, travel, giving too much of your time and energy to others or exerting extra energy into one area of life (working too hard, teaching too many classes, logging extra miles marathon training…).
What’s interesting, however, is that no matter the reason for my slump, taking time for self-care is the quickest way to shake it and get back on track. Topping the list of self-care activities that work best for me include exercise and easy movement and sleep. In this day, we’re so plugged-in and moving so quickly all the time, slumps can cause added stress from underperforming due to a lack of energy in trying to keep up. With the change in season and holidays approaching, I recently recognized I was in a slump.
In an effort to remedy my mood quickly – because after all, the holidays are meant to be joyful, not draining – I implemented simple techniques to hit reset. If you’re feeling a slump coming on, know you’re not alone. Hopefully these tips will get you back on track:
This is literally the first step. Tell yourself and your friends you’re in a slump and take action to drag yourself out of it.
To get the gears moving, even just a little, I make small promises to myself that are approachable, even when I’m really down on motivation. For example, tell yourself to get up and go for a 10-minute jog or walk. If the jog isn’t going well, give yourself permission to walk and still consider your workout a success. A few things happen when I do this. I find that the walk was very therapeutic mentally, or I find that my body just needed to move and I end up having a great, stress-relieving run. Since I set the expectations of a walk or jog, no matter the route I take, I’m able to meet my goal.
Enlist a friend
Phone a friend to help hold you accountable. When you’re in a slump, usually you’re lacking motivation. By setting a scheduled date to accomplish what’s stressing you out, or has been a barrier in your slump, you’re friend is that extra motivation or inspiration to simply go do it.
Hit the hay
Willpower and mental toughness are an actual muscle that need to be exercised. And like any muscle in your body, they can fatigue, tire out and become injured. I like to think of a “slump” like an ankle sprain. Rest is required to reset and bring your motivation and mental strength back to 100%.
Treat yo self
A pedicure, kombucha, new leggings or a massage are all productive ways to treat yourself with a little self-care when you need some love. Notice that the “treats” are supportive of changing your attitude and improving energy, rather than binging on cookies and Netflix which are counterintuitive to breaking the slump.
Surround yourself with motivation
Change your phone background or case to a motivating mantra, quote or inspirational photo. The positive vibes will start to resonate.
Devise a short-term plan
This is your action plan. Forecast one week out and determine what you’re going to do to break the slump. Post-vacation, I was having serious morning wake-up trouble. I couldn’t get out of bed. As a result, I was skipping workouts and not feeling great. By Wednesday, I realized I needed to devise a plan and commit to it. I reached out to friends to join me for a morning workout and coffee (I now have scheduled workouts through the following Wednesday). Just like that, with a little accountability, I was up and out and back on track.
When you’re in a slump, don’t hide it. Confide in a friend and more often than not, they’ll have advice from experience or they might be going through similar feelings too. And always know, you’ll get through it!