Towards the end of July, something always happens to my moods. I go from being excited, happy, and motivated to being bored, extremely negative, and uninspired. It happens like clockwork every year, always beginning in the last few days of July. I like to call it, ‘The After Birthday Slump’. Surely, I’m not the only one who suffers from this seasonal mood swing? Jordan suggested that it was the winter blues, but really I know that it is just because the hoo-ha that surrounds me every year on July 23rd has been and gone, and I have to wait a whole year for it to come round again. Boo.
Anyway, the beginning of August saw me in my standard slump, where I’d stopped going to the gym, stopped going out for exposure sessions, stopped writing, stopped washing (jokes, I swear I still washed) but just basically spent everyday in a big mental BLAH. I desperately wanted to stop feeling like shit, but I couldn’t, because…well, you know. I felt like shit. I was trying to go about my daily routines as best I could but there was really something missing, because my usual feel-good activities weren’t working to pick up my mood. I mean, when the box set of The Hills fails to cheer you up, you know you’re in a bad place.
Two weeks later, however, and I’m happily back in my groove. I’m back at the gym, I’ve done two big exposure sessions (one really big goal ticked off my list!) and I’m just feeling like there’s things to look forward to once again. Hooray! In light of this, I thought I’d share my tips on how to go from slump-city to er…motivation-nation!(?)
And I promise never to say motivation-nation again.
How To Get Out Of A Mental Slump
First and foremost, try to relax your mind. When you’re in a bit of a funk it can be really easy (especially for an anxious person) to start worrying about what’s wrong with you, why do you feel this way, will you ever stop feeling this way, etc etc. The important thing to remember about life and the journey we’re all on is that unfortunately, it can’t be happy all of the time. But that’s also kinda fortunate, in a way, because it adds contrast, which makes it easier for us to feel happy when things are actually going well. So give yourself room to feel like crap. Don’t pass judgement, don’t dwell on what might be wrong with you, and do not assume that things will feel like this forever. Cool your jets, use some mindfulness tactics and acknowledge, accept, and let go.
Slumps are like the universe’s way of telling us that there’s something we need to pay attention to that we have been ignoring, and we need to do a mental roll-call of everything in our life that is important to us and decide whether or not we are aligning with those goals and desires. If you are experiencing a mental slump, chances are that something in your life isn’t fulfilling you the way you want it to, or you simply aren’t going after the things that make you feel alive. I often get this way when I spend too much time doing useless things like watching Netflix for hours on end, because while a bit of Netflix here and there is a great way to unwind, it doesn’t fulfil me. When you are feeling flat and uninspired, take some time to get reacquainted with your goals and desires. What do you want out of the next couple of months? The next year? The next five years? What kinda things do you want to achieve? Make a list, or – even better, a dream board – of everything that lights up your heart and soul. Remind yourself that you have a direction you want to take – sometimes we all just get a little bit sidetracked.
Inspire The Shit Out Of Yourself
There’s a quote that says, Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going. Which is all well and good, but what if you can’t quite get to motivation? That’s where inspiration comes in. And isn’t it lucky for us that we live in a time where you can literally find inspiration at your fingertips within mere seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? YouTube is a great source for inspiration, you merely need to type in ‘TED talks’, pick your poison, and bam, inspiration all around. One of my all time favourite inspirational/motivational/all round exceptional humans is Tony Robbins, and his documentary ‘I Am Not Your Guru’ nearly had me fist-pumping the air within the first five minutes. If video isn’t your thing, there are millions of books where you can find inspiration. One I’m reading at the moment is called ‘Infinite Possibilities’ by Mike Dooley, and I’m reading it SO SLOWLY because I’m just happily taking it all in – like when you deliberately eat a chocolate bar slow to enjoy every last bite (Although, I wouldn’t actually know what that’s like because my only method of chocolate consumption is pretty much to inhale it as quickly as possible). Sometimes a mental slump is just caused by a complete lack of inspiration, so the quicker you can get yourself inspired, the quicker you can get back to a productive, motivated state.
Get Some Air
And while you’re at it, a change of scenery is always good, too. If you have the opportunity, getting away to gain some fresh perspective is likely to do you the world of good. But if you can’t actually get away somewhere, try changing up your daily route to work, or the streets on which you walk your dog, or the way you come home from the store. Oftentimes the brain can get so used to the same old things that it kinda starts to autopilot it’s way through life. Nearly everybody has had that experience where they’ve come home from work and realised they couldn’t actually remember their journey home. Switch things up a bit, go a different way, take a long-way instead of a short-cut, drive or walk past things you don’t usually go past. This triggers a response from the brain that says, HEY – I’m somewhere different! And when you’re seeing different things, you will often start thinking different things, which is exactly what you need when you’re feeling exceptionally weary about life.
Show Yourself Some Love
Now is the perfect time to practice some self-care. I know, I bang on about self-care all the bloody time, but as humans we tend to take care of everyone else before we actually take care of ourselves. Sometimes we don’t flinch about spending $100 on a present for family or friends, but spending $100 on ourselves for no real reason is unthinkable, right? No! Goddammit, treat yourself, all the time, for no reason other than you love yourself dearly and you deserve to be showered with wonderful things. And you don’t actually have to spend money to practice self-care, any mum will tell you that an uninterrupted bubble bath will do. Glass of wine optional. Do something to really show yourself that you CARE about your own well-being – and I don’t mean sitting in bed with a big bowl of ice-cream watching My Strange Addiction. I mean something that is treating your body and your soul. A massage, a facial, a long hot bath or a home-pedicure/manicure, a yoga routine in the sun, a walk along the beach, a dance to your favourite songs – whatever your self-care preferences may be, get it happening.
Find Your Tribe
Sometimes when you’re feeling shitty, all you need is to catch up with a friend and have some giggles and you’re back to feeling like yourself again. But there is something to be said for being choosy with who you spend your time with, especially when you’re not feeling so crash hot. For example, you might have that friend that encourages you to go out drinking every Friday night, and they’re a fantastic ball of fun to be around at 2am when you’re both dancing on a table and telling each other how much you love and value your friendship.But while a night of drinking might temporarily cure your slump, how do you think you’re going to feel on Saturday morning? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the value of a good-time friend, but in order to climb out of mental slump, the worst thing you can do for yourself is fill your body with crap that actually chemically depresses you. Find your tribe – you know the ones – the ones that inspire you, the ones that motivate you, the ones that will drag your ass out of bed at 7am to take you to yoga, the ones that say ‘Let’s go for a hike!’, rather than ‘Let’s get shots tonight!‘. Surround yourself with people who drive you to get the best out of yourself – this is a great way to keep yourself motivated, too.
Do Something Bold
When you’re feeling flat, one of the best ways to get yourself out of it is to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Sort of like putting your face in a sink full of cold water to wake yourself up – but this time you’re trying to wake up your soul instead. I recently went and did a hypnotherapy session (Which I vlogged about over here) and it was something completely out of character for me. I’d considered doing hypnosis years ago for various things but for some reason I’d never really considered it for my agoraphobia; perhaps I thought it was too expensive or inaccessible for me. But during my slump, I thought fuck it, and I booked an appointment with the first clinic that popped up in a google search. Sure, in terms of ‘bold moves’, you were probably thinking more in the way of skydiving rather than hypnotherapy, but this was something that made me anxious to think about and was certainly a bold move for me. I went, I had an amazing experience, and it really took a weight off my shoulders that I hadn’t realised was pushing me down so much. After this session and the motivation I gleaned from it, I was able to drive further than I’ve been in four years, which motivated me again. You might decide to do something a little more bold than what I chose – but whatever it is, just do it. Wake yourself up!
I hope some of these suggestions work to get yourself out of that mental slump – whether it’s the After Birthday Slump or just the regular kind. I’ll be seeing you guys over in motivation-nation!! (Sorry. I know I promised not to say it. It’s just too good.)
What do you do to get out of a mental slump?