Are you tired and unmotivated? Procrastinating on that to-do list? Does your workload seem to increase exponentially? Then you may be experiencing a slump. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered; we’ll ensure your inner voice will guide you in the right direction, because you are headed to infinity...and beyond...The Five!
Disclaimer: symptoms vary per individual. Consult a trusted medical professional should these persist for extended periods of time without reprieve. Hibernation might work, too (warning: hibernation also includes periodic, waking intervals to regulate body temperature).
“But it’s just a slump!” they cry.
“You’re physically fine and well!” crowds protest.
“Get over it,” the masses scoff.
Slumps characterize themselves through unproductive or inactive periods. Geology defines them as wasting masses that occur when a rock layer slides down a slope (thanks, Wikipedia). Seems harmless enough when you consider the grand scheme of life. It’s true—they’re common. Most people find themselves in at least one during some point and that’s okay.
It signifies a time to step back, reflect, and re-evaluate. Why are you in a slump? Is it work-, school-, and/or life- related? How long have you been stuck in it?
Slumps are treatable—often preventable—especially if nipped in the bud. You may feel equivalent to a wasting-mass-that-occurs-after-a-rock-layer-slides-down-a-slope, had you allowed it to fester, however it’s still possible to recover with extra work. That’s the thing about slumps: they seep into other aspects of your life, beginning as a small problem in one area, before invading others that seem completely unrelated. Slumps leave us in unideal psychological states. Mental and physical health feed off of each other, which in turn, affect how we live our lives. Everything becomes unbalanced, time reshuffled and disproportionately redistributed amongst various errands. This is why it’s important to catch them early on, contain them; or fight gravity to break the surface, if you’re deeper along. Different types of slumps exist because of countless scenarios, coerced by different people. Despite that, a few rudimentary steps can help you rediscover yourself and renew your drive.
The first few sentences of this article serve for comedic relief, yet still bear some truth. You need to acknowledge that you’re experiencing a slump, otherwise you’ll remain stuck. Ask yourself the above questions and how you feel. Determine whether you’re forging progress or making waste. List out exactly what you’ve accomplished thus far, then cross-reference that with what you’re supposed to have completed. Consider how long you’ve felt the way you do, and how it's affecting those around you. Disentangle yourself from the situation to gain perspective.
Sometimes, slumps result from burnout. Sometimes, they occur after a high. Sometimes, it’s bad timing, a combination of the three, or another reason altogether. Regardless, you are entitled to a break. You know everything is stagnant now, based on the previous step, so why waste time on continuous ineffectual tasks? Take time to do absolutely nothing, filter out thoughts revolving around the situation at hand, and relax (duration varies depending on possible deadlines, how long you’ve been stuck, etc.). Your brain benefits from reprieves—increasing focus, energy, and memory consolidation. It’s active during breaks, according to a study from 2012 at USC and MIT, so this is merely a gambit to attain future success.
Welcome back! How was your mental getaway? I hope you’re feeling refreshed, because we have much to tackle. Remember those lists of accomplishments and to-dos from earlier? It’s time to pull them back out and re-evaluate! Decide what’s most important, uncompromisable, and set those as top priorities. This gives yourself a goal to work towards. Cross out any completed tasks, then proceed to reward yourself for future ones. The higher the priority, the greater the reward. Motivation is key.
Prioritize yourself and personal needs, as well! Pulling all-nighters? Time to move sleep up on top! Surrounded by toxicity? Make it a goal to wean away if or when possible! Create the healthiest version of yourself, because unhealthy is stealthy and can catch you off-guard.
(At least it feels that way).
Ah, senioritis. It is a specific, albeit endemic, slump plaguing educational institutions worldwide. The previous steps are definitely applicable here—we are only exploring this phenomenon further. Plus, we can customize them a little more. And who better to take this journey with other than Driss, my proverbial computer simulation, who joined us in the previous blog?