How to Get Over a Slump
When you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck in a rut, it feels impossible to learn how to get over a slump. How can you do anything if you don’t feel like doing anything at all?
The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated to learn how to get over a slump. I recently read a book called “The Habits of a Happy Brain” and while it didn’t talk about motivation per se, it addresses one simple truth:
Small changes can make a huge difference in how you feel.
I’ve been in more than one slump in my life, and I’m sure you’ve been through multiple phases of feeling unmotivated too. Before I learned these tools, I mostly just lucked into how to get over a slump—but I’m here to tell you that you can be more intentional about it and actually *work* your way out of a slump without doing much work at all.
So, keep reading for some small things you can do that will have a huge impact on getting out of your rut!
When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
— Dr. Seuss
1. Acknowledge You’re in a Slump
The first step to how to get over a slump is to acknowledge it. You can’t work on a problem until you’re willing to admit that it’s actually a problem. Most of the time when I’ve been in a slump, it was the result of being too busy for too long. I’m burned out. It also happens to me if I do something I’m not passionate about for too long. For example—last year I started a business I hated doing. I got really burned out after that and it took a few months to recover before I learned these tips.
You can’t work on a problem if you don’t admit you have one… But you also can’t work on a problem if you’re feeling like a failure or feeling shame about your lack of motivation.
So, if you want to learn how to get over a slump – you need to admit you’re in a slump, and also accept you’re in a slump.
And… Thank your slump! Because you’re about to get out of it and it’s going to bring about positive change that you needed.
The truth is that we all get in slumps. High highs, low lows, and medium mediums are all a part of life. It’s normal to not be incredibly inspired and excited at all times.
Admit you’re in a slump. Accept your slump. Breathe in, breathe out. And read the next tip.
2. Practice Creative Habit
Another book I’ve read that was extremely helpful was a book by Twyla Tharp called “The Creative Habit’‘.
This. Book. Changed. My. Life.
I read it after someone recommended it to me. He’s the president of a web-based service company but also dances and choreographs on the side. This was really impressive to me because, at the time, I had a really hard time mustering up creative energy for hobbies and side hustles while working a full-time job. He suggested the book to me, and man… It was V good.
Here’s the actionable part I’ll share: you can actually help inspire your creativity by practicing habits and routines. This seemed counterintuitive to me at first. Like… How will doing the same thing all the time help me get out of a slump?
But here’s the thing: by practicing something regularly, you master it and eventually find ways to explore around it. Creating habits actually helps create space for more creativity. For Twyla, that meant dancing every morning for 2 hours. When I read that book, for me that meant practicing my guitar every morning for 30 minutes and forcing myself to write poetry. For me now, it means making a YouTube video every week whether I’m feeling it or not.
And the longer I do something and the more comfortable I get with it, the more I find myself wanting to explore, and the more I’m able to because the foundation is there.
So, if you’re in a slump—go back to the basics and create a habit out of it.
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3. Focus on Your Happy Brain
Something else you might need to do when you’re learning how to get over a slump or feeling unmotivated is to focus on nurturing your brain to help increase your happiness.
This is where small actions make a HUGE difference… It’s science! Which I won’t go into because I don’t understand it well enough, so let me give you the actionable cliff notes.
There are things you can do every day, and these things will slowly help increase various happy chemicals in your brain. And if you’re happier, you’re also more likely to get off your 🍑 and do the things.
Related Alison’s post:
How to do things you don’t want to // work & school
Here are a few of those tiny actions that will lead to giant results:
- Small goals: give yourself tiny goals to accomplish every day. Maybe it’s your creative habit, or maybe just going to the grocery store for more avocados. Whatever your goals are, make sure they’re attainable and don’t worry if they’re small. Do this every day.
- Do something you know is good for you: There are things we know are good for us. Eat healthy, brush your teeth, go for a walk, get enough sleep. While it would be great if you did ALL of those things, choose one you’ll commit to no matter what, and affirm yourself every day when you do it.
- Have connection: Make sure you have some type of positive human connection on a daily basis. If you’re in a relationship, ask for an extra long hug or hold your partner’s hand. If you’re not in a relationship, go to a coffee shop or a concert and experience the camaraderie of like-minds. Both of these things transmit positive energy and are needed for your happy brain.
- Do something new: Another thing your brain needs is a little adventure, so trying something new can really help you learn how to get over a slump. This doesn’t have to be a “go big or go home” situation—don’t be afraid to keep your adventure small. Maybe you can go to a new park nearby and read a book alone, or maybe you want to try indoor rock climbing for the first time. When I was in a slump recently, I decided to try committing to doing open mic nights for a while. It was a big hassle. I had to arrive early at the bar to get on the list, and then wait around for my name to be called. I was terrified, but after a few weeks of doing it I was extremely proud of myself and learned a lot.
- Think about the bright side: If you’re trying to learn how to get over a slump, you need to realize you’re not going to be happy or motivated all the time. It’s just a fact of life that sometimes things are awesome, and sometimes they’re less awesome. Even so, it’s still extremely helpful to think about the bright side and what’s going well. What are you grateful for? Gratitude lists are a thing for a reason—they actually help you feel better.
Closing Thoughts on How to Get Over a Slump
Like I said in the beginning, I know that when you’re in a slump it can feel impossible to get out. I know because I’ve been there and a slump feels like a big brick wall standing right in front of me.
But small actions add up over time—practice these items above, share your experience with other people, and I promise your motivation will return in no time.
Were these tips helpful? How many do you plan to implement during your next slump?
Leave a comment down below and let me know: what do you do when you’re in a slump or feeling unmotivated?
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Alison runs Alison’s Notebook as a platform to explore the awkward art of self-improvement—in other words, a resource for average people looking to find more happiness and contentment in day-day life. Her hair says “I’m up for whatever,” but her glasses say, “Only if I’m home by 10.”
She’s been a professional Marketing Strategist and blogger for over 10 years and aims for her site to be entertaining, helpful, inspirational and for the most part light-hearted. But every now and then things get really real—and that’s just how life is.
Follow her blog and embrace your awkward self.