Regardless how mentally strong you are, you can still get into a mental slump. Whether it’s writer’s block or being stuck debugging your code, these mental blocks can drive us crazy. More often than not, the problem gets worse the more we try and solve it in the moment.
While I can’t tell you how to solve the problem you’re faced with, I can give you tips on how to jump-start your problem-solving process.
Here are six ways to get back on track after a mental slump.
1. Recognize it’s a problem.
This is the first step you need to take when starting to solve a problem. If you’re in denial that it’s a real issue, you’re doomed. Once you’ve accepted the fact that it’s a problem you can take actionable steps to get it resolved.
2. Move around.
Being stagnant is often part of the problem with a mental slump. You need to get the juices flowing again before you can start to come up with solutions.
In fact, exercise releases endorphins, which are proven to reduce stress and increase levels of happiness. Even if it’s a quick walk around the block, it’s a great way to refresh your thoughts.
3. Shake up your routine.
Again, this goes back to being stagnant. Routines are both good and bad. If you want to get in shape, you need to work out routinely. When it comes to your work life, however, routines can really wear us down. Especially if we aren’t passionate about what we’re doing.
The best way to break out of this is to shake up your routine. It may mean you need to quit your full-time job and try freelancing for a few months. Or you can ask your boss or manager for a new position. Whatever it is, don’t work in a role where you aren’t happy and engaged.
4. Write it down.
Oftentimes we get lost in our thoughts, especially when we’re in a mental slump. We spend so much time thinking about solutions that we forget some of the good ones.
As you work through your process, you need to always write things down. Even if it’s just “word vomit” on paper, writing it down is conducive to creativity. Additionally, you’ll be able to reference this list at a later time.
5. Sleep on it.
Mental slumps are often the result of being overworked. The solution most people look to in this situation is, you guessed it, more work. This is the last thing you want to be doing.
Your brain is tired and you need to give it a rest. If you’re in a mental slump and you’ve spent the whole night trying to find a solution, you need to shut things down and sleep on it. You’ll wake up the next day refreshed and ready to tackle the problem. In fact, you may even find the answer in your sleep.
6. Talk to your advisors.
Some people think mental slumps need to be handled alone. And sometimes they’re right. However, there are times when you need to consult others. An advisor doesn’t have to be your official business coach or advisor. It can be a friend or a family member as well. They just need to be someone you trust and respect.
One thing you should remember is that your advisors aren’t necessarily there to give you the answer. They are there to help you formulate your own solutions, or at the very least, make you feel better. Regardless it’s always good to use your advisors as a sounding board to your problems.
Everyone gets into a slump from time to time. Those who can quickly recognize the problem and take steps to fix it are ahead of the game. If you want to be one of those people, make sure you use the six strategies listed above.
This story originally appeared in Due. Image courtesy of Graphicstock.