How to Get Out of a Slump

Feeling stuck, uninspired, or just down? There’s nothing quite like the weight of running a business to bring about down moments. I’ve had slumps more times than I care to count. And like many others, I’ve found myself searching for how to get out of a slump or stop feeling down.

Over the years, I discovered some strategies that work for me, and I hope they can help others too.

Here’s what I typically do when in a slump.

1. Acknowledge the situation

I used to scold myself for feeling down. But now that I understand everyone, even the most successful, have these moments — I’ve learned to accept the situation.

This helps me think of solutions or ways to elevate my mood. Acknowledging the situation is a vital part of overcoming the feeling.

2. Find the Root Cause

Why am I in a slump? Is it stress because of the business’s current situation? Or is it something personal? Identifying the root cause can be challenging, but it provides insight into how to tackle the problem.

For example, personal issues can spill over into our professional lives, affecting mood and productivity. Even seemingly positive things like rapid growth or new opportunities can cause stress as they bring change and uncertainty.

Knowing why we feel down is essential to getting out of it.

3. Consider Journalling

Even after some introspection, the root cause of the slump might remain elusive. This is where journaling can be incredibly beneficial.

It’s a simple yet effective practice that allows me to uncover hidden emotions and thoughts that could be contributing to my feelings. It is like holding a conversation with myself.

There’s no structure, no right or wrong — it’s a process of brain dumping, releasing thoughts and emotions. Further, I don’t use my journal all the time. Sometimes, I let my thoughts flow onto a piece of paper.

4. Make A Happiness and Gratitude List

Another way I lift my spirits is by thinking of things I’m happy and grateful for. This simple activity directs my focus toward the positive aspects of life and business.

However, some people take things further by creating a happiness and gratitude list. To do the same, use a line to divide a paper into two sections. On one side, write down ‘happiness’ and, on the other, ‘gratitude.’ Then list everything accordingly.

Most people are happy and thankful for things that bring them joy, comfort, or contentment. Thinking of those things can lift one’s spirits.

5. Self-Care Is Important

I used to be so engrossed in my work that I forgot to care for myself. But I’ve learned the hard way that self-care is non-negotiable.

Neglecting to care for me prolongs the slump, and zero self-care can lead to other problems. So I eat healthily (but have cheat days), get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. I also make time for hobbies and activities I love.

These are some of the things I do for self-care, which helps me get out of a slump.

6. Accomplish Small Goals to Regain Momentum

When I’m in a slump, the things I must do for the day can feel overwhelming. So I set small, achievable goals that I can reach quickly to regain momentum.

For instance, writing this blog post was not part of my plan today. However, the satisfaction from doing it improved my mood and got me back on track again.

But it can be as simple as decluttering the workspace for someone else. The satisfaction of ticking small things off the list can help regain momentum.

7. Connect with My Network

Sometimes I’d call a friend to talk about the challenge. Knowing that others have been in similar situations and hearing their stories and solutions can provide fresh perspectives and the motivation to keep going.

However, I avoid doing this often.

Not because my friends don’t welcome it. Instead, it’s better to try solving issues myself first, and in most cases, I succeed.

8. Try Something New

I often think of what I can do differently. For example, changing how we approach day-to-day tasks or manage our teams can breathe new life into the routine.

Trying something new can reignite passion and motivation. It can stimulate the mind, offering a much-needed break from regular routines.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about being completely in the present moment. That means acknowledging our current feelings, surroundings, and actions without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness helps me ground myself and draw my attention back from the worries of yesterday or tomorrow to the now. For example, I may focus solely on the task at hand, ignoring everything else for a while.

10. Think of Patience

I’ve learned that giving myself time to bounce back is okay. Sometimes, that means taking a day off. Other times, it’s doing something other than work.

Progress isn’t always linear, so there will be good and bad days. Accepting this has made the process of overcoming slumps less stressful.

BONUS Strategies: How to Get Out of a Slump

While the steps outlined are my go-to strategies, here are some bonus tactics that can be effective in navigating through a slump. But do keep in mind that everyone is unique. So experiment to find out what works best.

  • Personal development: Investing time in personal growth activities such as reading, taking online courses, or attending seminars can provide new ideas and a way to refocus.
  • Creative outlets: Engaging in a creative activity, like painting, writing, playing a musical instrument, or even cooking, can help reduce stress and stimulate a different part of our brain. I like to write and am fortunate to be helping businesses through copywriting services.
  • Volunteer or mentor someone: Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and positivity, particularly helpful when feeling down.
  • Seek inspiration: This could involve listening to a motivational podcast, reading success stories, or exploring nature.
  • Limit news and social media: Constant exposure to news and social media may increase stress and anxiety. Consider taking a break or designating specific times to check these platforms.
  • Set boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal time can help prevent burnout and keep the mind fresh.
  • Seek feedback: Engage in constructive conversations with the team or trusted peers. That can lead to fresh perspectives or potential solutions to help us get out of a slump.
  • Get outside and move: Consider stepping out into nature and engaging in physical activity. For example, a 20 to 30-minute walk can enable the release of endorphins, which helps reduce stress.

It’s A Journey, Not A Sprint

We all go through slumps, and it’s okay. There will be many throughout our time as entrepreneurs or business owners.

I always find my way out and back to doing what I do best with some effort, patience, and perhaps a new perspective.

Also, remember that mental health is essential. For anyone that’s been in a slump for too long, I’d recommend seeking a mental health professional. How long is too long?

It could be depression if the slump persists for weeks or months.

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