I have a confession. I’ve been in a major slump.
I’m going through a severe lull of motivation when it comes to my training, my business, and even this blog. I’m not quite sure what is wrong, but something is off. There hasn’t been any changes to my life’s circumstances (other than some changes at my marketing job), so it’s hard to pinpoint the source of my stagnation.
I felt a small burst of inspiration towards the end of December that faded with the holiday lights. I feel like I’ve been running against the wind ever since; every little action feels like a huge effort. Tasks that were easy and joyful, like blogging or posting on Instagram, suddenly feel overwhelming. And the tasks that were already stretching my comfort zone even in my best moments became downright impossible.
I slipped into a funk.
I usually put on a brave face and keep chugging on with a smile, but I think it’s important to talk about a downturn in energy and motivation as it is a reminder that we are all human and a natural ebb and flow is normal, even when it feels like shit at the moment.
I am not writing this so that you feel bad for me or to complain about how hard my life is, because it’s not. I am writing this to be transparent because even fitness professionals and health coaches have lapses in motivation. Writing is therapeutic for me, the simple act of writing, and therefore processing, my thoughts helps me to feel better, so thanks for indulging me.
I’M RELYING ON HABITS
I write a lot about healthy habits on this blog, and it’s time like these that the work of building habits pays off. When healthy living runs mostly on auto-pilot, then motivation or willpower is not needed.
Despite my backslide in motivation, my meals are generally healthy, I walk most days (my dog wouldn’t have it any other way), and I exercise at least a couple of times a week. I’m not going above and beyond in any endeavor, but I have already set the baseline of my healthy lifestyle, it runs (pun intended) almost on autopilot.
Building healthy habits while I was feeling good is paying off now. Falling back on healthy habits feels comfortable and safe.
I’M LEANING ON FRIENDS
Let’s remember that occasionally feeling down is normal. We all have lapses in motivation. Staying in touch with friends, and resisting the temptation to hide from the world is the key to feeling better.
If my husband can make me laugh, my mom can tell me how great I am (aw, shucks ma), and my best friend can listen to me vent without judgement, I know I have the support to move forward, even when I don’t feel like it.
I’M SHOWING UP
Do you know I work out with a trainer? Even coaches need coaches. It’s nearly impossible to be objective about your own training. Even in the best of times, an outside perspective is helpful.
When life gets tough a twice-weekly appointment at a gym ensures that I always make time for my own workout. It’s a fact in this industry that trainers often struggle to find time for their training and programming. In between training my clients, being a wife, working a marketing job, writing this blog, and being in a funk, I’ll easily blow off my own workout. But when I have a training appointment, I am accountable to someone else to show up.
I am also training for the Cowtown half marathon; having a goal in the near future has been keeping me on track (although I’ll admit I’ve been doing the bare minimum in my training).
I’M EATING WELL
My nutrition and mental health are closely linked. When I eat like crap, I feel like crap, both physically and mentally. I am eating as well as possible and limiting alcohol to make sure I am not adding to my to funk by eating poorly or falling into unhealthy coping habits.
If I want to feel well, I have to eat well, because it’s a terrible cycle. If I eat poorly, I feel bad. I feel bad, so I don’t work out. I didn’t work out, so I feel bad. I break the cycle by eating well and moving my body at least a little each day.
I’M NOT MAKING BIG DECISIONS
When I’m feeling this way, I know that it’s not the time to make any life-altering decisions, because this feeling, although it seems ongoing, is temporary in the grand scheme of my life. Despite questioning why I continue with all these side projects that have felt energy-zapping rather than energizing, I will keep moving forward and save major life decisions for when l I get into a clearer headspace.
This feeling is a temporary cloud that will blow away with the next winds of life. Sometimes these mental blocks come right before a breakthrough, so while I’m not feeling my best, I’m hopeful that it will be even brighter again on the other side.
I want to be honest about how I feel because it would be too easy to hide behind a new blog post on how to improve your running performance (more of that to come this week). If I talk about it, it might help someone else who is feeling the same way. You’re not alone.
*Just a quick note. I originally wrote this post at the end of last week, after nearly two months in a negative headspace. While this wasn’t the intention of the post, I think it bears mentioning that I have been feeling a little better and I think I know why.
I had been taking a hemp oil pill every day since December. I’ve read/heard a lot of accounts of how hemp oil can help reduce body aches, anxiety, and inflammation, so I purchased hemp oil pills from a trusted third-party-tested supplement company.
I woke up Saturday morning and decided on a whim not to take the pill, and by the middle of the day, I already started feeling a little better. By Sunday I swear the negative cloud that had been hovering over me for two months had almost wholly disappeared.
I found this strange, as I heard so many stories from people on how it reduced their anxiety, not increased it. I did a Google search and found only one article that said that there were some reports from a small percentage of people that experienced an increase in depression and anxiety from hemp oil. Of course, it’s my luck not to be in the small percentage of people who win the lottery instead.
I’m not suggesting hemp oil is bad for everyone (I am not saying that at all), but apparently, it wasn’t right for me. It just goes to show that we are all different and we can react to foods and supplements differently. It’s an important reminder that as in any diet or supplement, what works for your best friend, your co-worker, or a guy on a podcast may not work for you.
I am almost in disbelief that I have been ‘suffering’ for two months when the solution appears to be so simple. It’s only been a couple of days off of it, so I hope my renewed energy and motivation continue.
Has anyone experienced anything similar or am I lone weirdo? Don’t answer the weirdo part.