Getting Out of a Slump

Occasionally I find myself in a slump, feeling unmotivated, uninspired, bored, and tired. On one hand, I feel the need to do something to reinvigorate myself and to energize myself, but on the other hand, I have no interest in doing anything but breathing. These slumps are difficult to get out of but incredibly easy to fall into. Especially these days with COVD-19 and quarantine making days blend together, it’s easy to lose our purpose and feel unmotivated.

In my most recent slump, I tried out different ways to climb out and to get myself back to “normal” levels of functioning. What works for me, might not work for everyone else. And what worked for me this time, might not work for me again next time. The most important thing is to have resources readily available so that when we do fall into our slump, we have a myriad of ways to get out of it. We might not have energy to come up with a list while we’re in the slump, so having this list here below provides a handy tool to lean back on.

1. Take time to reflect on your current situation.

How did you arrive in this slump? Sometimes, we might not even know when it started or how. Or even after identifying the events that led up to us falling into our slump, we might not know what to do afterwards with that information. Reflect not only on the events, but also on how you feel. How do you feel mentally? Physically? Emotionally? What does your body need right now?

2. Form small goals during your recovery period.

While in the slump, we may find ourselves comparing ourselves with our previous self — “I was able to do all of these things before, and now I can’t even do one!”. This leads to feelings of disappointment, shame, anger, sadness, and more. Recognize that you are currently in a different situation and require care and compassion. Understand that you require flexibility and smaller goals in this moment as you recover.

Forming small goals allows us to have the feelings of success and productivity when we complete them, and give us a sense of accomplishment that motivates us to do more. Small goals can consist of things like, getting out of bed, eating breakfast, drinking water, or even things like writing one sentence for my research paper, reading one paragraph of a novel, and more. Identify what goals are good for you! Go forth and conquer!

3. Set a schedule for tomorrow.

When every day looks the same, it’s hard to look forward to tomorrow. It will be the same as today anyway, why should I look forward to it? Setting a schedule allows us to have something to look forward to and also offers structure in our day. Setting a schedule could also be one of the small goals each day, adding another opportunity for satisfaction.

What worked for me recently is that I started doodling for fun. I decided to post these doodles on my instagram but I promised myself that I would post only one post a day. I had to wait until the day after to reveal my doodle, and therefore I had something scheduled and something to look forward to.

4. Change up your daily routine.

When we do set up our schedules for tomorrow and the day after, we could benefit from adding some spice and changes to our daily routine. A potential reason why we may have landed in this slump is because we were lost in the daily repetitive schedule and lost interest and motivation as a result. Adding different activities to our daily routine gives us something to look forward to and also gives us additional inspiration for tomorrow and the day after. Perhaps meeting with a friend gives you the inspiration to meet with another friend, or to watch a new movie that came up in conversation. Reading a new book may inspire you to check out similar readings by the same author, or to pursue additional readings on that topic.

5. Incorporate self-care into your daily routine to prevent future slumps.

Climbing out of a slump is a gradual process. It takes time. Once we are finally out of the slump, we can start thinking about how to prevent future slumps. What self-care can I incorporate into my daily routine to prevent falling into future slumps?

At this point, you can also think more about what led you to the slump in the first place. Reflection is also a continuous process! Reflection helps us understand ourselves better in the context the world around us. What things trigger us? What activities tend to lead us into slumps? What helps us feel better? What activities help us come out of our slumps?

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