Do you ever get in a slump? I sure do, more often than I’d like to admit. There are different types of slumps: afternoon, creative, and just general depressive slumps.
Of course, an afternoon slump sucks, but you get through it pretty easily by eating a healthy snack or taking a walk. Other types of slumps generally take longer to get through than just an hour or two.
If you’re not just having a setback, but a recurring problem with depression, please seek professional help. Depression can be so debilitating.
Getting into a Slump
Does any of this sound familiar? You’ve decided to try something new and are having trouble learning the ropes or everything you try seems to fail. You try to consider others’ feelings but no one takes you seriously or considers how you might feel. You’re not bringing in the kind of money you thought you would at this point in your life. You don’t feel appreciated. And so on.
My latest slump was last week and the week before. I’ve had to make a decision about going back to work. I really don’t want to. I love being home in the mornings, getting my honey off to work, and then doing my data entry and writing. I’m trying so hard to be successful in life on my own terms and sometimes it feels like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall.
Once I decided to go back to work, which will probably happen next month, I immediately stopped trying with my other online income sources. I felt like what’s the point, everything I try fails anyway. I totally lost my motivation and started taking naps during the day. Once I realized what was going on I decided to try to straighten up and accept my decision. I have been doing much better since.
This led me to start reading blogs about other peoples’ slumps, which led me to write this post. Chris McCombs’ post was quite interesting. I’m no expert but I think I do have some insight about depression and creative slumps.
Why do we allow this to happen?
When things aren’t going as expected, I think we tend to forget what we have going for us in our lives and focus on the bad areas. We allow ourselves to get down, feel like a failure, stop trying, etc. Many times we don’t even realize the road we’re heading down until we’ve been down it for a while. It just seems to happen unawares.
To understand how and why we allow ourselves to get into a slump, we have to really search the situation and our emotions. The following are some reasons I have come up with as to why this happens:
- We don’t realize that we can learn from our losses as well as our successes.
- We don’t expect enough from ourselves and give up too easily. When things don’t go as expected or as we hoped we automatically feel like a failure. Lack of confidence is a huge problem for many of us.
- We expect too much from ourselves and set ourselves up to lose. We want instant success, and when we don’t attain it, we become discouraged.
- We want to be recognized for our efforts and successes and when we don’t receive this acceptance we become depressed.
These are just a few examples of how we allow a slump to take form and control our lives. If we let it, this lack of confidence and feelings of non-acceptance becomes a trend and our self-esteem takes a huge hit. But there are ways to help get through a slump and sometimes avoid allowing our negative feelings from entering.
How to get Through or Avoid a Slump
There’s no way to always avoid a slump. It’s going to happen, but maybe we can control the length and depth of occasional crashes. I realize it can be very difficult to overcome, but here are some suggestions that I hope will help you through or to avoid a slump altogether:
- Make a plan. Writing lists helps me immensely. It gets my thoughts on paper and out of my mind. It allows me to get perspective on what exactly I’m trying to accomplish and what steps I need to take to get there.
- Make a backup plan. Understand that your first plan may not help you achieve your goal and you’ll have to make changes.
- Remember that this is a learning period and you’re not a failure. You’re a work in progress.
- Be one with nature. Go to a peaceful place and be aware of what’s around you. Take notes and pictures. Seeing the beauty of the world can really help put things in perspective and give you a fresh outlook.
- Look up inspirational quotes and put them on sticky notes all over the place. Try to find inspiration and beauty everywhere you look.
- Help others and you will be an inspiration to each other. When we’re able to help someone else I think it helps us to see that we have worth and it shows them that they have worth as well.
- Meditate or pray.
- Put a smile on your face. Easier said than done, right? For a long time I forgot about this one. I used to always say “fake it til you make it” and smile even when I wasn’t feeling it. And it did help. I would eventually really feel happy. This is something I need to work on again.
- Remember that an occasional slump is normal and will pass. Don’t allow it to take over your daily life.
- Avoid negative people and situations when possible. Negative people will feed off of your negativity and it will make you feel worse. Happy people can be contagious as well.
- Start a grateful journal, listing all the things that are good in your life.
Speaking of Being Grateful
I know the tips above are hard to incorporate into your life, especially when you’re in a slump. I struggle with them myself. In an effort to improve my attitude, I wrote a post about finding gratitude. I hope it helps.
If you are really trying to accomplish something in your life, even if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s not a failure. It’s a time for you to learn what does and doesn’t work, learn more about yourself, and maybe even begin to search for your purpose. These are not bad, they are character-building. Remember that there’s going to be ups and downs in life and that happiness is a choice.
Have any of these suggestions helped you? Please let me know.