No matter how well things are going in life, there are always times where you get hit from every single angle. Your job or business takes a hit. Your relationships seem to be crumbling. Maybe you’re hit with an unexpected medical bill, or you get into an accident. Taken individually, any one of these things is not that big a deal – you can deal with it. But when they all happen around the same time, it’s like the perfect storm has come to ruin your life.
No matter how rock solid you are in terms of your routines and habits, there are days (or weeks) where things just aren’t going they way they normally do, and it seems absolutely impossible to control. It’s as if you’re watching a sitcom where the protagonist has bad thing after bad thing pile up on him no matter what he does to quell the tide.
So what do we do? We tend to retract. We take even less action and even stop doing other positive things as a result. We might stop exercising or eating well, or going out and seeing friends enough when things in life just aren’t going very well.
When this happens to me, it feels like I can’t actually make the right decisions, even though I know exactly what they are and how to do them. However, I’ve come up with a way to drag myself out of the mud that I think a lot of people may resonate with. When I say “come up with”, I really mean “culled information from various people I respect and tested it out in my life.” Try using this set of questions to figure out if you’re in a “life slump.”
When was the last time you exerted so much physical energy that you felt like you were going to die – in a good way?
Chances are if you’re feeling a bit off, exercise has stopped being a priority. No matter what kind of guy you are, we all need to exert ourselves physically in some way. Hit the weights, go for a jog…play DDR until you collapse! Just move your body.
Try doing some Tabata protocol sprints and seeing how you feel for the rest of the day.
Has there been a change in your social life that’s thrown you off of your game?
If you haven’t been getting enough face time with good friends, or friends have recently moved away, it can throw you off your routines and drain your energy.
Try hitting up a few Meetup events, or talking to random people as you go about your day. I personally like to play a game where I try to start up a unique conversation with all of the people you see as you go about your day that you “have” to talk to. Cashiers, receptionists, etc – talk about something you’ve never talked about with one of these people before and see where it takes you!
When was the last time you spent some time on a creative passion?
I’ve noticed that when I fall into these funks, I stop playing music and I stop working on side projects. Give yourself an hour to spend on a creative activity you enjoy.
What kind of food are you eating?
Say what you want about the people touting Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diets. I’ve noticed in my own life that eating this way drastically helps my mental state…not just emotionally but performance-wise as well. It’s incredible how accurate it is when people tell you that they feel like a “mental fog” has been lifted. Try adjusting your diet. Marks Daily Apple is a great resource for this.
Have you taken 5 minutes to an hour to just sit and reflect?
People have mixed feelings about mindfulness meditation, but I count myself squarely in the “it’s awesome” camp. Hell, you don’t even have to call it meditation or mindfulness if you don’t want to. Calling it “chilling out in a peaceful place” if you want…just do it. Watching your thoughts come and go without labeling them is a great exercise in unveiling the reasons behind your funk, and sometimes it points the way out very clearly. Try watching your thoughts for 5-20 minutes. If you don’t know where to start, this is a great resource
In summary: exercise, social, creativity, diet, mindfulness. The point here is not to shift all of these to max power levels immediately, but to find the one that you’re weakest in and just amp up the activity in that area. Then see how you feel. If better, keep it going and maybe strive to increase your activity in another area. These 5 things have been very helpful for me in bouncing back from slumps much quicker than I used to before.