You know the feeling. You haven’t felt like doing anything – fun, professional, or otherwise – in a long while. When you have a stretch of free time, you end up surfing the web or watching bad TV, then feel guilty about it later. You have higher ambitions, but can’t commit yourself. If you had to sum up your attitude in one word, it would be “blah.”

Welcome to Slump World.

Hitting a slump and feeling unmotivated affects everyone, even people who love every aspect of their lives. Slumps can be temporary (“I just haven’t wanted to do anything this month.”) or more long-term (“I wish I was doing something more fulfilling with my life.”) Whatever the reason, your slump doesn’t have to continue. Here are a few ways to get out of a slump and find something new to kick start yourself:

1. Ban your Biggest Time Waster.

While it’s okay to have a mindless hobby, sometimes we devote too much time to our favorite time wasters. Whether it’s Facebook or a video game, ban your time waster for a week. It may be the jump you need to find something else more fulfilling to do.

2. Commit Yourself to Trying Something New.

Everybody talks about completing tasks on their bucket list, but it’s one thing to write it down, another to actually do it. You could stop reading this article right now and sign up for kayak lessons or start writing your first novel. Setting goals from your bucket list will also help you feel like you’re living to the fullest, regardless of other circumstances going on in your life.

3. Break an Aspect of Your Routine.

Rituals can help us get through our daily lives, but they can also prevent us from venturing outside of our comfort zone. Pick a part of your routine and break it for a week. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, eat it outside or ask a co-worker to try a new restaurant with you. Or you could move your exercise routine from after work to before work. These small changes can make you feel more spontaneous and invigorate you to try other new things.

4. Reconnect with an Old Friend (or Find New Ones).

The people we interact with on a daily basis can influence our emotions and perceptions. Perhaps in the past you were connected to a person who had a lot of drive or went on more adventures. The sheer act of calling that person can boost your spontaneity and drive. If all your old friends seem out of reach, find new ones to fill that role. Hanging around people with a “let’s do it” attitude can help you make a change for the better.

5. Be Honest if you Need Professional Help.

There’s a big difference between being in a slump and depression. If you display any classic signs of depression, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. If you’re not sure if you have depression, it can’t hurt to talk to a professional to hash out your problems. A counselor or therapist has a lot of resources at his/her disposal and may be able to give you more personalized advice than reading this column online.

Have you successfully gotten yourself out of a slump? Share your tips and advice in the comments below!

Photo by martinak15

Deborah Fike

Deborah Fike is the Director of Educational Outreach for Spotkin, an educational games company that marries fun with learning.  She’s also the founder of Avalon Labs, which provides marketing consultations and writing services for start-ups and online businesses.   She carves out a significant portion of her time to raising her two younger daughters.

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