We’ve all heard of a “sophomore slump” (and might even have experienced one ourselves). “Slump” is a term that often refers to a sports team in a losing streak, but this term also carries over to when we’re feeling generally defeated in real life (or sometimes just in the middle of the workday). Maybe you recently got laid off or you’re dealing with a breakup; maybe you’re just bored and looking for a change. “If you’re in a slump, you’re probably feeling unmotivated, bored, stuck, down on yourself, or all of the above,” says Dr. Jessica Aron, a licensed clinical psychologist in south Florida. “Whatever the case, it’s important to know that you can totally pull yourself out of it. It takes some effort on your part, but it will get easier and you can feel better.”

A woman writes in a journal

How can you tell the difference between a slump and something more serious? Track your emotions for two weeks, Dr. Aron says. If you feel consistently down more often than not throughout this time frame, she recommends seeking out a mental health professional for additional support. But if you do feel like you’re in a typical slump, you can work to get yourself out of it with these tips.

1. Name it. “First, you have to know what you are feeling in order to do something about it,” Dr. Aron explains. “If you think you might be in a slump, take a moment to get in touch with some of the feelings behind it.” To do this, focus on what you’re feeling in this exact moment; Dr. Aron says it might make things easier to try to write it down.

2. Know that nothing is permanent. If it’s hard to see the silver lining in a situation, remind yourself that everything comes and goes, Dr. Aron suggests. When doing this, she recommends affirmations such as, “This too shall pass,” and, “I have coped with this before, and I can cope with this again.” Take things one step further and write these on sticky notes where you’ll be sure to see them!

3. Talk about it. “Too often people feel that sharing their struggles is a sign of weakness, and that is far from the truth,” Dr. Aron shares. “Allow yourself to talk about what’s going on for you, so that you can get the support you need and deserve.”

A woman fills a bathtub

4. Self-care is key. When you’re feeling down, take extra care to take care of yourself. This means pausing to do things that make you feel joy: Take a bubble bath, read a book, or eat your favorite meal.

5. Mix up your routine. This is especially important if you’re in a slump because of boredom. Dr. Aron says that no matter what you do to mix things up — making a different meal or watching a new show, for instance — can go a long way toward providing you with a shift in perspective.

6. Magnify your joy. “Sometimes just paying attention to the positives we wouldn’t normally notice can bring us joy,” Dr. Aron encourages. “These can be things like the weather, a text from a friend, or finding a good parking spot.” Dr. Aron points out that you can also create your own joy by grabbing lunch with a friend or donating to a cause you care about.

7. Get inspired. Seeking out inspiration is a great way to gain perspective and give yourself a little pep talk. Read stories, watch videos, or look up motivational quotes, and you might just start feeling that spring in your step again.

How have you pulled yourself out of a slump? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)