“And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” — Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Feeling permanently behind? Overanxious but underwhelmed? Even the most motivated of us can feel unmotivated when we’re stuck in a rut. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult. But all’s not lost! With a few lifestyle changes you can shift your perspective and get started down the road to positive change. Here’s how.
1. Hit the road, Jack
Travel won’t solve all your problems, but it will take you outside of your comfort zone (and make you happier in the process). That’s a good thing. Adapting to new cultures, languages and cuisines provides new perspectives on life, which has the benefit of making you less emotionally reactive to change. Put simply, getting out and meeting new people has a profoundly positive effect on your personality — the more open you are to trying new things and engaging in new experiences, the happier you generally will be. In this way, happiness is a consequence of travel — and not its goal!
2. Spend time alone
When you’re going through major life changes, being alone may be the last thing you want — however, it’s also really good for you when you’re feeling stuck. In today’s constantly connected world, finding solitude is more difficult than ever. And finding some time and space free from the outside pressures of your friends and family is important. In fact, by spending time alone, you’ll have a chance to think more deeply and gain a better understanding of yourself and what makes you happy. Ultimately, you’ll come to appreciate your friends even more when you’ve taken time for yourself to reflect.
3. Be kind to yourself
In a slump? If you’re feeling inadequate, be kind to yourself, rather than ignoring your pain or being overly critical. This isn’t about over-indulging or retail therapy. This is about practicing self-care — discovering nurturing experiences that help you understand yourself. Swing in a hammock, read a good book or enjoy the rush of exploring a new city—whatever feels most healthful for you. This is not just indulgence. Being kind to yourself allows you to open your heart to life, fully enjoy your successes and better manage your mistakes.
4. Make new friends
One of the best kept secrets to a long and happy life is having a healthy social network that includes relatives, friends and other relationships. However, life changes such as moves, career choices and relationship changes bring a shift in our friendships and frequently leave us drifting outside of the orbit of our friends. But that’s why it’s important to prioritize friendships — and to always be on the lookout for new ones! And while you can’t plan for them, sometimes life circumstances lead to friendships. A single experience — the bonding that takes place between two strangers who meet while travelling a foreign country, for example — can produce deep friendships that lasts a lifetime.
5. Take some time off
Taking a few months off work to pursue personal development may seem counterintuitive to getting ahead at work, but taking an extended leave could have a long-term positive effect on your career. In fact, being away from work for longer periods of time will allow you to gain a fresh perspective on your long-term aspirations, which can have a positive effect on your short-term performance. The potential for development a career break can offer — and the increased engagement you will have with your job when you return — far outweighs the risks. Ultimately, your career of choice should make you come alive. And if that’s not happening, you owe it to yourself to find out why.
The best part about un-slumping yourself is that it gets your brain churning and your neurons firing. Once you understand that positive change begins with new perspectives, you’re in the driver’s seat. Map out your game plan, and get moving!