The Deslumpinator (patent pending)
Hello Artsy Affirmations family! How's everyone doing? Need anything - some snacks, a hug, a link to a really good Harry Styles fanfic? (We're not a regular affirmations blog, we're a cool one.)
All jokes aside, 2020 has been ROUGH. None of us signed up for this roller coaster of a year, with the pandemic, political upheaval, economic challenges... the list could go on. But one thing is sure - we're all buckled in for this ride together [insert that quote about no man being an island]
With everything 2020 has thrown at us, we've been feeling some serious burnout lately. We're in a slump. We've got some life fatigue. We're having a rough patch, if you will.
But the GOOD news is: we have more control over how we feel than we might think. Our circumstances are sometimes out of our control, but we are strong and resilient, and have gotten through 100% of our challenges in the past. Sometimes all it takes is a little "reset" to get your brain out of a slump. So without further ado, here are some things (both serious and silly) that have helped us get through the rough days and weeks that this year has thrown at us.
Image from The Office via tvgag
1. Learn Something New
Sometimes a slump happens because we feel like we aren't making any progress, and it's super easy to feel "stuck" when you're isolated/quarantining/sheltering in place. But it's the 21st century, baby! There are TONS of free and low-cost ways to learn online, from classes on artistic and technical skills to courses from Yale (yep, that Yale). We're always spreading the good word about Skillshare, where people teach courses on...well, skills. But we also love Coursera, where professors teach independent courses, often for free! Kerra took the Science of Wellbeing course this year from Yale professor Laurie Santos to work her Psychology student muscles. Let us tell you, fellow nerds, Coursera is a game changer if you miss being in school.
2. Make a list
Maybe it's just us, but feeling overwhelmed sometimes feels exactly like being in a slump. When our brains are spinning and we aren't getting anything done, it's easy to spiral into feeling down. Making a list is a fast and effective way to get your brain back on track. Our friend's therapist recommends sorting your to-do lists into four sections: Important & Time Sensitive, Important but Not Time Sensitive, Not Important but Time Sensitive, and Not Important & Not Time Sensitive. Structuring your checklist this way makes prioritizing a snap!
3. Spend time outside
We can't overstate the brain-clearing power of a short walk, hike, or bike ride. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun on your skin, and we promise you'll feel better, even just a little. Think of it as an environmental timeout.
4. Call a friend (bonus points if it's a video call)
The next time you go to text a friend or send them a meme on Instagram, give them a call instead! If spontaneity isn't your jam, set up a video call for a weekend. Facetime "sleepovers" have been indispensable in our friendships this year. Written communication is great, but sometimes you just wanna see your friends' faces and see them laughing at jokes in real time.
5. Re-watch a few of your favorite skits on SNL
Kerra would bet $25 and her vintage One Direction t-shirt that laughter has healing properties. And a surefire way to get those laughter muscles working? Our good friend Saturday Night Live. We're partial to any skit with Kate McKinnon or Kristen Wiig, but you really can't go wrong.
6. Write a gratitude list
Therapists hate us for this one simple trick. (That's a joke, this is actually a trick stolen straight from a therapy session.) Even when times are hard, there are always things to appreciate in our lives, and taking a moment to reflect on the good can keep us from fixating on the bad.
7. Slow down!
Don't pressure yourself to push through a slump if you really can't muster the energy. Our bodies know when they need rest, and there is no shame in giving your body and mind some time to reset. This might be in the form of taking a bath, reading a book, taking a nap, or going on a walk. We've probably all tried turning a computer off and then on again to fix an issue, and that same strategy works for our brains too.
Sometimes a slump is more than a slump. If you're feeling hopeless or depressed, "trying harder" isn't the answer. We can't do everything on our own, and mental health is no exception. If you think your "slump" might be more clinical than situational, consider this your friendly nudge to reach out to a therapist. Psychology Today has an awesome platform to find a mental health practitioner in your area.
Take care of yourself, friends!