Getting Out of a Slump
I haven't written a blog post in two months. And it kills me.
Not only have I not written anything publicly - I haven't written. Period. I've been in a slump. The past two months have been intense, draining, and anxiety-ridden. For those of you who follow Wear Your Label, you'll know we've been going through a lot of internal restructuring this summer/fall. As with any startup, there's ups and downs; Whether it's team changes, funding issues, or product development... startup challenges are not an isolated instance. They're really common - like every-single-startup-has-issues common.
Yet, it can feel super isolating to take two steps forward and one step back, when it seems like everyone around you is sprinting ahead.
When it comes to startups, our society likes to focus on "success stories": the Ubers and East Coast Lifestyles of the world. But rarely are challenges highlighted, or even talked about to the point of normalcy. Startup culture likes to shove the bad under the rug, and continue to celebrate the "excitingness" despite the backstory. Honestly, a lot of it is BS. Because, as anyone who has actually run a startup knows: it's really, really hard. And I've talked about this on my blog before. From the outside looking in, things can seem amazing, but behind closed doors you're working to keep the ship afloat.
It's as scary as it is exhilarating, and at the end of the day, it takes a toll on your mental health. So building a startup while managing a mental illness? Dually challenging. How do you get out of a slump?
That's what I've been struggling with over the past two months. Not necessarily a downfall, or a major roadblock: but a lack of motivation. Whether you're in a creative slump, a startup slump, or a mental health slump, here's some tips to help you get out of it:
1. Own your feelings.
It's okay to be an anxiety blob. Own it. If you're feeling stressed, "blah", unmotivated, allow yourself to feel that way. Unless you own it, you won't be able to move on from it. There's nothing worse than letting feelings build up and not facing them.
2. Talk about it.
Don't face your slump alone. If it's business problems, talk to a mentor. If it's a creative thing, bounce ideas off your team. If you're anxious or depressed, or totally stressed out, jump on the phone with your bestie and talk it out. Coffee & conversation can do wonders.
3. Find other people who "get it".
If you don't already: find great people to surround yourself with. Whether it's ambitious creatives, super supportive friends, or people in your industry who understand exactly what you're going through. It can be intimidating to reach out, but I've found that 99% of the time, entrepreneurs just want to help each other, and we're all going through our own shit that needs talking-out.
4. Take time for you.
Self-care isn't selfish. Build "me-time" into your schedule so that you actually do it. And don't automatically associate "self-care" with "meditation and yoga". Yes, that works for some people, but self-care can look totally different depending on what makes you happy.
5. Go for a walk.
Fresh air is cliché, and underrated. If you're stuck in a slump, get away from the screens - even if just for 20 minutes. Switch up your daily routine by walking to work, or out for lunch, or around the block when you get home. Explore your city. Find your favorite sights. Reward yourself with a warm beverage when you get back inside.
6. Re-read something that once inspired you.
Actually, reading in general is a great way to stimulate your mind without having to work too hard. Read something for fun. Read something that interests you. Soak up the knowledge, get emotionally attached to characters, live vicariously in the book world before tackling your own.
7. Wash your sheets!!!
So simple, but so worth it. It's like a life refresh. You can have the worst day ever, but crawling into bed with clean sheets is an instant comfort booster.
8. Find a new passion or project
I know, I know: "But, I'm too busy." Guess what? We're all busy. With school, and work, extra-curriculars, social lives, and trying to sleep a decent amount every night. But to get out of a slump, you need to kickstart yourself. You have to break up your usual routine with something new. Try a new passion, or project - it won't feel like too much if you're excited about the "newness" of it, and it can help your mind get motivated again for the rest of "real life".
9. DIY something.
Turning something blah into something brilliant is super satisfying (it's also a metaphor for your own personal growth). If you have some crafty supplies laying around, or simple things in your house that could use a chic upgrade, DIY'ing is an inexpensive way to get creative juices flowing - and end up with something functional (and pretty) for your everyday life.
10. Find inspiration online.
I was never big into Pinterest, but recently started some boards to collect creative ideas. I've found it super stimulating, and a great way to zone out and gather inspiration that you can go back and act on later. Also: finding rad instagram accounts and a handful of bloggers that post great daily content is a good way to inject inspiration into your daily social media scrolling.
11. Clean & organize your workspace/house.
I find it so hard to be totally focused, or truly inspired, when things around me are "messy". I feel like it's a reflection of my life. So taking 10 minutes to clean up, organize, and light a candle, can totally change the atmosphere of wherever I am, and as a result, turn my mood around.
12. Wine & websites.
Yep, sometimes you just want to sit down with a glass of wine and relaaaaxxx. When you're in a slump, you need to take those nights for yourself. But if you're the type to "self-hate" for taking time off, it can be just as fun to have a couple creative friends over for "wine & websites" (or whatever your jam is). Pour a glass, and mull over the little aspects of your brand with each other, sharing advice, critiques, and tips without holding back. This is not to be confused with *multiple* glasses of wine and work - which is not a good idea.
13. Out with the old, in with the new.
If you saw my closet, you would be like "this girl works in fashion?". I literally own 2 pairs of jeans, and like 6 shirts. But staying minimal helps with my overall life organization. That said, when I'm in a slump, all I want is to throw away all of my things and start from scratch. So, I have a good thing goin' with a local consignment store and once every few weeks I'll take a bag of stuff I never wear, to exchange for some 'new'. It's a nice refresh, and a new outfit can do wonders for your confidence.
14. Create milestones, and put a plan in place to reach them.
Easier said than done. But what I've realized, is that most of the time we already have an idea of where we want to go. We have milestones and goals in our head, they're just not on paper. Taking the time to write things out can be a relief. Even if you just start with what you know, and fill in the "how" part later. It makes room in your head for more creative stuff, and your plan becomes a tangible, shareable, real thing to help you get out of the slump, and into execution mode.
15. Do something you've been afraid to do.
For me, it was writing this blog. The longer I wasn't writing, the easier it became to put it off. But sometimes you need to force yourself into something, even if you're hesitant or scared. When you're in a slump, it's way easier to stay there, than work to get out. But it's like any uphill struggle: the view from the top is pretty great.