Seven Ways to Help Yourself Get Out of a Slump

February 28, 2007

depressedWe all get down sometimes. Some of us more than others. Most of the time it’s situational. We get overwhelmed with responsibilities. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. We put pressure on ourselves to succeed at everything, or in some cases to over-achieve. Things aren’t working out the way we had hoped. Or maybe things are just taking longer to work out than we had hoped. Maybe it’s just been a long time since you’ve given yourself a break and everything is piling up.

When we start feeling down it’s best to head it off at the start so it doesn’t get worse.

I found this list of things via Zen Habits that I thought might be useful for those times when we need to pull ourselves out of the blues.

  1. Make a list. Sometimes we are depressed simply because we are overwhelmed with all the things we have to do that we haven’t gotten around to doing. You might be into GTD, but sometimes every GTDer falls behind with his system, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do so. So all the “stuff” that’s in our head can overwhelm us. Start simply by picking up a piece of paper and a pen, and making a list of the most pressing things you have to do. Sometimes it’s work stuff, sometimes it’s stuff around the house that’s bothering us, sometimes it’s goal tasks, or a combination of these and more. Simply making a list can be a big relief — you’re getting things under control. You can see, right in front of you, what you need to do, and that alone can pick up your mood.
  2. Take action. You’ve made a list, and you still feel overwhelmed? Well, get started on the first thing you need to do. Is it a big task? Break it down and just do the smallest task, something just to get you started. Once you get started, once you get into action, you’ll feel better. Trust me. You might still feel overwhelmed, but at least you’re doing something. And once you start doing something, you’ve got momentum, and that feels much better than lying around feeling sorry for yourself.
  3. Exercise. I know, you might not be in the mood for exercise. But just do it! Taking a walk, going for a run, going to the gym, whatever it is you do for exercise — get out and do it now! You don’t need to do a real hard workout, but the simple act of exercise can lift your mood immediately. Just do it!
  4. Shower and groom yourself. Laying around in your underwear, smelling bad, is not going to do you any good. Simply showering, and feeling clean, can do wonders for your mood. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, shave, do whatever it is that you need to do to feel clean and good about yourself. Instant pick me up!
  5. Get out of the house and do something. Sometimes, if you stay home lying around, feeling depressed, just getting out (after showering and grooming) will change your mood. Staying home all the time can really get you down, and you may not realize this until you go out and do something. Preferably something on your list (see No. 1).
  6. Play some lively music. I like Brown Eyed Girl, the Kinks, the Ramones, or an upbeat Beatles tune, but you might have your own brand of feel-good music. Whatever it is, crank it up, and let yourself move to the beat. It may just be what the doctor ordered.
  7. Talk about it. Got a significant other, best friend, family member, co-worker you can talk to? Bend their ear. That’s what they’re their for. If you don’t, there are hotlines, or professionals, you can talk to. And then there’s always online forums. These are great places to find someone to talk to. Getting things off your chest makes a big difference, and can be a huge lift. It can also help you work out the reasons you’re feeling down.
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One Response to “Seven Ways to Help Yourself Get Out of a Slump”

  1. Laurie Says:

    Thanks – I came across this while doing a search that I need to get out of a slump today. My a.m. started off terrible and it’s continuing through the day.

    I am rarely in slumps, and friends come to me generally b/c they need to get advice to get out of their’s, but today is just one of those days!

    Thanks again.
    L

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