Winter in the Midwest can seem as long as the days are short. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing and it’s not always easy to stay upbeat and energized when it’s dark before you even leave the office. Although I love the holidays, I struggle every year with the gray skies, cold temps, and brutal winds. By mid-February, I’m counting the days until spring and fighting off the winter blahs. I have a tendency to go through periodic slumps and, as someone who feeds off light, these tend to occur most after daylight savings time ends. These are the tips and tricks I’ve found that help me get back on track:
Make a List
I LOVE making lists! Things to pack, things to do, goals I’ve set: you name a list, I’ve made it! Even more satisfying than making the list is checking things off. Who doesn’t like feeling that sense of accomplishment they get when they can check something off?!
Usually when I’m feeling unmotivated, it’s because I’m overwhelmed. Having a visual list makes me feel like the tasks are more manageable and easier to prioritize. Plus, if I see that one of my tasks is fast, checking that one off right away makes the rest of the list seem less insurmountable.
Take a Walk
Some days, I find myself sitting in front of the computer and realize I’ve been staring at the screen for ten minutes without typing a thing. Other days, I wake up and feel completely unmotivated, not wanting to get ready let alone leave my apartment. In both cases, I find myself feeling uninspired or unmotivated.
Nothing puts me in a new frame of mind better than some fresh air. My favorite sneakers and a walk around my neighborhood are instant mood boosters and much cheaper than therapy! At the office? Instead of trying to force yourself to push through it, get up and take a quick walk around the workplace. Go grab a cup of coffee or stop and say hi to a coworker. I always come back to my desk feeling recharged after a quick chat with a fresh brew in hand!
Dress the Part
We all have those days where we feel less attractive than others. I promise you, even supermodels have them. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it set our mood for the day!
Get up, dress up, and show up! Maybe that means wearing that one item of clothing that always makes you feel super confident when you have it one or spending some extra time on your hair that day. For me, I always feel a little more put together when I wear my favorite bright pink lip stain!
Change Your Environment
Not every day is the same and neither are my triggers. One day, the creative juices are flowing and I can’t wait to get home and bust out some content. The next, I’m back to sitting numbly in front of my computer without typing a word and no original thoughts. If you can’t change your mindset (or deadline), change your location.
Sometimes I work best when nobody is around and I can get peace and quiet. Other times, I feed off the energy and background noise of those around me. If I’m at home and not feeling the quiet, I’ll pack up my laptop and camp out at a cozy coffee shop. At work, maybe I’ll ditch my desk and set up in a corner with a view of the downtown hustle and bustle. You never know when a snippet of conversation or different view with beat the slump and spark a new idea.
Talk It Out
If the slump persists, maybe you need something more. Try talking to a friend or family member you trust. Call that friend who constantly inspires you or the one who makes you laugh so hard it hurts. Just talking things through out loud can make you view it from a different perspective or at least make you feel a little better.
Talking to a therapist can also be helpful. It’s okay to struggle with depression or anxiety or any other type of mental health disorders. First let me say, if you do, you’re not alone. What isn’t okay is feeling you have nobody to turn to or not getting the help you need. Not only does a therapist come with an outsider’s perspective but they have experience and resources right at their fingertips. Remember, we all deserve to feel good about ourselves!
What activities help you get over a slump? What are your go-to strategies for feeling more energetic or self-confident?