Slumps are the absolute worst. One minute, we are rocking along, hitting our goals and carpe-ing the diem, and then in what seems like the next minute, we are spending our evenings watching bad reality television and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (or is that just me?). In the eternal words of Dr. Suess:
“I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
That Bang-ups and Hang-ups
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go
I’m going to be completely honest – I have been stuck in a months long slump. After finishing the marathon and Tough Mudder, I decided to take a little break from running and training to give myself a break. But then work got crazy, I started traveling more and all of a sudden that “little break” turned into “a stupid long break”. This had a snowball effect – I wasn’t working out, so I wasn’t eating as well or taking as good care of myself as I normally do. My moods were all over the place, and I just didn’t feel like me. But the longer I went on like that, the harder it was to snap out of it. I felt trapped in my slump.
The good news? Every day is a new beginning, and you have the choice to start over. Here are some tips for pulling yourself out of a slump:
Push the Reset Button
If you’re caught in a slump, you are likely doing the same thing over and over out of habit. It’s important to hit the reset button and start a new pattern of behaviors. Not eating as well as you should? Wake up in the morning and make yourself a healthy breakfast. Completely inactive? Instead of heading home after work and parking it in front of the TV, change into your running clothes at the office and do a quick jog before you head upstairs. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening meditating. It often takes just one little tweak to get the ball rolling on positive behaviors and you will be well on your way to pulling yourself out of your slump.
Ask for Help
Problems become easier to manage when we share them with other people. Let your significant other, your best friend or your running partner know that you’re feeling stuck. They can help encourage you to make the right choices.
Make It Fun
Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be a chore – it should be fun. Instead of looking at working out and eating well as something that you have to do, change your perspective and turn it into something enjoyable. Take a trampoline class. Have a “Chopped” style competition with your friends to see who can come up with the healthiest appetizer, entrée and dessert. Go play outside. Whatever you need to do to make wellness fun again, make it a priority.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
SLUMPS HAPPEN TO THE BEST OF US. Seriously. Beating yourself up for taking a detour on your road to wellness isn’t doing you any good. Forgive yourself and move forward.
I am happy to say that after taking the above advice, I am feeling much better and significantly more un-slumped than I was a few weeks ago. I have been cooking more, am doing beach runs with one of my friends who is doing her first half marathon and am signing up for a triathalon to give me something new and exciting to train for.
I’m sure that the time will come where I find myself in another slump, but I have to remind myself that health isn’t a destination. It’s a lifelong journey that will have its ups and downs that I have to ride out. But one thing I know for sure is that while it might not always be easy, it will ALWAYS be worth it.
How about you epic runners? Have you ever found yourself in a slump? How did you pull yourself out?