We all hit them. Sometimes it’s slow coming, sometimes it hits you like a brick wall…but all of the sudden you’ve lost your momentum and you just. can’t. seem. to. get. going. UGH.
When that happens (and it will) the very first thing I tell my clients is to harness that self-compassion and remember that they’re human. Slumps happen to us ALL! The challenge is that in this day of social media our understanding of what is going on for everyone else is severely over-inflated. Because generally people share their highlight reel. They aren’t posting the time they raided the fridge or skipped their workout. They share them eating beautiful meals and rocking their sweaty selfies.
So accept that you’re human. And humans slump.
In fact, I think we need to “reframe” slump. Because sometimes it’s just your body’s way of saying slow down. I need some recovery. As exercisers and recreational athletes we often don’t consider our macro-periodization (say what?!). Bear with me a minute. Athletes all have periods of their year where they are in peak & where they are in recovery (think on season/ off season). They have a series of “peaks” (think events, big games) that they work towards over their year. They aren’t always in 100% peak performance. Have you ever noticed that as the season continues injuries increase in frequency? That’s because as we reach peak there’s a FINE line between optimal and over-training. And over training is actually linked with greater incidence of injuries & illness among other things. After the peak comes a recovery period. And during that recovery period training looks different.
What if instead of calling it a slump, you called it a recovery period?
Instead of saying you’ve lost your mojo, you’re taking time to do some gentler activities like walking, yoga or swimming and give your body the rest & recuperation it needs? Then give yourself a window – say 1 week to 1 month where you do that (instead of nothing) and be peaceful with that choice – intentional.
Because calling it a slump takes you out of the drivers seat.
It gives all the power to the elusive “slump” – which makes it like this nebulous body you can’t control. Take back control and define your recovery period your way. Take back the drivers seat. And then get curious.
Sometimes the period of recovery & a little curiosity go a long way. As you’re getting curious ask yourself these questions:
- Were you over-trained? If so, how can you tweak your program to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
- Are you bored? Maybe you need to try something new? Get out of your “box” and shake it up?
- Do you need to shake things up? Is your program not challenging you anymore or is it too challenging and leaving you feel kind of hopeless! Are you bored with your meals & snacks? Commit to trying new recipes and have a recipe exchange with a few friends to get new ones!
- Maybe you need to reconnect to what was working before – what about what was working made it work?
- Is there something missing now that was there before? What was that? Can you reintegrate it in some way?
- What support & tools might you need? Do you need the support of a coach or some new tools to help re-inspire your fitness? I’d love to help you connect to the right tools for you!
- Are you feeling aimless? Do you need a goal? Set one that gets you fired up!
- Or are your goals making you feel overwhelmed? Or constrained? Sometimes NO goals is inspiring!
- Do you need more social support? An accountability partner or group? Finding your tribe & love them hard! Share your struggles and ask for help!
- If you’re at a fitness or health “plateau” sometimes the lack of results can be underwhelming. What results can you re-connect to that would re-inspire you? Can you reconnect to the short term benefits of moving more and nourishing your body with healthy foods? What about setting a smaller fitness type goal like being able to do a certain challenging exercise to re-ignite your flame?
Find your self-compassion & kindness….but don’t use it as a crutch.
Say what? I know. But here’s the thing. Self-compassion and kindness isn’t an excuse. It’s about honouring where you are and work with what you’ve got and create space for you to do your best (whatever your best is right NOW). And then when it really comes to the wire….
STOP the analysis paralysis.
Sometimes the best way to get out of the slump is to STOP thinking about it. Sometimes a “slump” is just a “slump” and you just need to put your head down, find your grit, put your shoes on and get out the door (or hit the mat, or get to class or whatever it is you’re going to do). But get out there for as much time as you can muster. Honour whatever it is you DO and celebrate every step forward you take. Because something is always better than nothing.
And as always, if you need a little help? Just ask.