Recognizing a Slump and Ways to Break Out Of It

If you've ever found yourself in a slump, here are some ways that can help you break out of it.

It took me awhile to figure out what was going on with me.

I was excited to be embarking on new career adventures — working for myself — and riding high from taking my writing trip at the end of last month. Slowly, as the weeks went on, I found myself with a familiar feeling.

I was feeling uninspired again and always scraping for content to write about. Where my brain used to overflow with ideas, I’d often sit and stare at the computer, click through all my open tabs (there’s a lot), and read through my master list of post ideas with little to nothing happening as a result. It took me twice as long to write a post as it normally did.

I felt foggy. I felt heavy and like I was going through the motions with little to no excitement or enjoyment. I guess you could say it was a numb apathy with a little bit of annoyance at myself thrown in.

The thing that woke me up was laundry.

Prior to starting antidepressants at the behest of my therapist in 2015, one of the hardest things for me to do was the laundry. It sounds trivial, but the thought of getting off the couch, picking up the laundry basket, taking it to the basement to wash, doing it all over again in 25 minutes to change it to the dryer, doing it all over AGAIN in 45 minutes to bring it back, then fold it left me paralyzed on the couch. I’d look at my calendar to see if I could push it to the next day or the day after that. Doing laundry was like climbing a mountain when I was depressed.

I was having trouble doing laundry again. I was pushing it later and later and that is what finally made me realize that there was something going on. I don’t know whether to attribute it to the weather change, life change, 8 weeks of a less-than-normal exercise routine because of my injury, or just a change in brain chemicals, but I was and continue to struggle with depressive symptoms again.

And it’s ok.

Life is a continuous ebb and flow. There’s ups and down and all arounds. The biggest thing to remember is that these are phases and while our control over them may not be complete, there are things that we can do to make these times more manageable.

Accept it

This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I want to push past whatever is slowing me down and force myself to work harder than ever. When I mentally or physically can’t, I view that as a failure and beat myself up about it.

Accepting that you’re in a slump is a quicker way to acknowledge the problem and start looking for a solution. Denying or ignoring what’s going on only prolongs finding ways to help yourself get out of it.

Get help if you need it

It doesn’t have to be professional help, although I know in my case that would be a great option as it’s never let me down before. You can get help from friends, family, or anyone else you feel may be able to break you out of your slump.

I find that telling someone else about what is going on is a way for me to help alleviate some of the pressure I put on myself. It’s a way to stay accountable for your own self-care because that person will likely follow up to see how you’re doing. Also, keeping negative feelings inside is also not going to help you work through them.

Help someone else

I’ve always liked helping other people. Granted, a lot of it came from a place of people-pleasing, but after I broke that habit I realized that it was still something I liked to do. Helping someone else takes the attention off of you. You’re no longer fixated on why you’re feeling this way or beating yourself up about it; you’re focusing on something outside yourself.

During this time I’ve started asking people how I can help them and it’s made a ton of difference in helping myself.

Make small goals

It might sound stupid, but yesterday I mailed a bill that has been sitting on my desk since the beginning of the month. I told myself what an awesome job I did. I had been staring at the bill and stressing myself out because I couldn’t find the energy to address an envelope and put it in the mailbox.

Even if they are everyday things like mailing a bill or doing the laundry, congratulate yourself for getting them done. Trying to tackle a ton of things at once or one momentous goal is going to leave you overwhelmed and unable to move into action.

Keep going

I know it’s a phase, although it’s hard to remember that in the moment when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry and all you want to do is cry and ask yourself why you can’t just take it downstairs. For someone who gravitates towards immediate gratification, sitting in an uncomfortable phase isn’t really my cup of tea, but each day I get up and remind myself that with small goals and good choices, one of those days I will wake up and things will be a little bit easier.

I’d love to hear some of your tips in the comments!

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16 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      Absolutely!

  1. October 18, 2017 / 8:37 am

    This. I’m going through all of this right now.
    After almost a year on the first antidepressant I tried, I noticed it was pooping out in me and I had no motivation. After reducing it and seeing my anxiety increase, I’m on a new one and going through that whole adjustment period and it sucks. At least this time I have a really great therapist helping me through. I can totally relate to the instant gratification and lack of motivation to do the simplest things. But…I trust it will get better. I just have to put in the work. Thanks for always sharing the real talk πŸ™‚
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Three.My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:36 pm

      The adjustment is so tough sometimes. I hope it goes well and let me know if I can help w anything!

  2. October 18, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    Yep. Pretty sure I’m smack in the middle of one of those. I can get up to work out (after some cajoling and perhaps some name calling) but then, I struggle for the rest of the day to do the things I need to and know need to be done. Like homework. And laundry. And everything. I was seeing a therapist but I stopped. I know I should probably go back but …. I don’t know if I want to talk to her. I do like helping others – that’s a great idea! Honestly though, and this is going to send really really selfish, I get frustrated that no one ever seems to want to help me. Lame. I know. I’m definitely good at that whole “keep going” thing. I need to make a good choice and crack open my book and do my homework.

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      I feel you. The more little things I tackle the better I feel but some days are better than others. You can do it!!

  3. Rachael Seda
    October 18, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    I love and value your honesty. Getting out of a slump is hard. I find changing my environment, doing something different or allowing myself to take a break and go somewhere or do something I want to do or have been putting off because of work helps. Thinking of you gal and wishing I could send you a laundry fairy πŸ˜‰

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      Aw thanks so much Rachael! I will accept your fairy πŸ˜€

  4. October 18, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Thank you for your openness with sharing your struggles. I have definitely been in a slump. I just recently started feeling like myself this past June after a year of ebbing and flowing. I found that openness helps me. Communication, transparency, etc. I blog about it a lot, which also helps, and I have a partner who is super supportive of my needs. You’re doing great. Hang in there! There is light, there is light, there is light.
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…5 Reasons Why I’m Running a Half-MarathonMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      Yes! Communication is so important to people who can help and support you. I’m so glad you’re feeling more like yourself!

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:38 pm

      Thanks Nicole! I’m hoping so too haha

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:38 pm

      I hope so!

  5. October 19, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Oh, I actually feel like in a slump right now… I feel like I have no time for anything, I feel rushed and uninspired, while craving to be creative and inspired at the same time. It makes no sense.

    I try to give myself some grace and make little goals to turn things around. I think what you said is so true: Denying or ignoring what’s going on only prolongs finding ways to help yourself get out of it, so I try to be mindful and change little things to get me out of the funk.

    I realized, often times, it’s perception that holds me back. How frustrating to realize that.
    San recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #9My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 20, 2017 / 8:41 pm

      I know man. It’s tough to just sit and go through things but sometimes it’s what we need. Make sure to take care of yourself!!

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