Slowly Sipping Coffee

What do you do to get out of a slump?

Lately, my brain has been pretty frenetic and it’s hard to get it to calm down enough to focus and write a decent blog post. I think most of the concentrating/focus gets used up during the day, as I’ve been fairly busy at work recently redoing and updating some geomodels. It’s not bad, but there is a lot of tedium involved that takes a lot of focus and thought or you’ll be spending tomorrow redoing the work you spent today doing. This has carried over at home too, as I find I’m more prone to be tired, like really tired, and that leads to a grumpy Mr. SSC which no one enjoys having around. So my question to you is, have you gotten into these “slumps” and what did you do to get out of them? Here’s what I’ve been trying and isn’t working so far.  

What could be causing my brain drain?


I’ve upped the exercise game a bit from where it has been the last month. I signed up for another half-marathon in October, and am almost 3 months away from that, so I started training again. Since I let my running drop off and I was running for running’s sake and not paying attention to pace, distance, etc… I’ve started getting back into running shape.

Also, since we joined a gym a couple of weeks ago, I’ve incorporated swimming laps and kickboard workouts into this new regimen. I do 1000m mostly freestyle, and then 200m with a kickboard. I’m trying to boost my cardio more with the swimming and distance and get stronger legs with the kickboard. So far, my core and biceps seem to be reaping the benefits as they’re the only things that are sore… It helps me feel more tired, but a good tired, so I don’t think lack of exercise could be the culprit.

I feel like this after a good workout

I feel like this after a good workout


Maybe it could be diet, but I don’t think I’ve dramatically upped my portions or changed my eating habits. I find that I can definitely eat loads of food when I get bored or anxious. Lately, it’s more of an anxious feeling all the time rather than bored. I swear it’s like my mind is a restless pacing tiger, hmm maybe more like a mouse on a wheel – constantly going, but getting nowhere. I can’t think of any diet related things that could cause that.

Maybe it's more like a lurking gator, just waiting for something to attack

Maybe it’s more like a lurking gator, just waiting for something to attack

Lack of Sunshine?

I don’t think this is it either, as I’ve gotten plenty of sunshine lately, and I’ve even gotten moved from an interior cave office into a window office again – yeah!! Lately, all I’ve been watching is a whole lot of thunderstorms which is pretty cool in my book. I’ve also been doing a decent amount of yard work and gardening, so I have been getting some sun every day, and I run outside so there’s that. Probably not a sunshine deficiency…

Sleep or Lack Thereof?

I’m not great on getting to bed early, and since I do wake up at 5:20am everyday you’d think I would go to bed early. I’m usually in bed and going to sleep by 10pm, sometimes earlier, but not usually later. I know it’s only about 7 hrs but I don’t feel like I need more sleep when I wake up and I’m not tired during the day. I do get woken up by my youngest daughter during the night at least once though. Last night was 8 times although 6 of those were within the same hr as she kept coming into the room at 10 minute intervals between 1am and 2am… She wanted a hug, or to get covered up (which I just did 10 minutes previously), or a kiss, or to tell me her knee has a boo-boo from where she fell down at school, hmm is that 6 things yet? She used to sleep so well, what happened?!

Any other thoughts, because I don’t have any. I feel like I’m just constantly frustrated but don’t know with what. That in itself is frustrating, GAH!! Hahaha, what a cycle let me tell you. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because I don’t know what to try anymore, or stop trying.

If only I knew what to let go of....

If only I knew what to let go of….

Do you ever find yourself in these sort of slump/frenetic moods? How do you get yourself snapped out of them? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

36 thoughts on “What do you do to get out of a slump?

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      With Mrs. SSC’s new schedule I am home an hr earlier, actually almost 2 hrs earlier. So that helps with getting to water the garden with the kids and do family dinners together. Then I don’t go exercise until they’re down for bed which is 7-7:15 for our youngest. It leads to exercising between 7:30-8pm but it’s not too bad really. Mrs. SSC and I hang out after that, and on Fridays and other times, but maybe it’s that.
      Mrs. SSC thinks it may be more restless with not knowing what to do with that new ly acquired free time. I’ll have to think about it and post an update. :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Those are good ideas. I have been trying to find new running routes for that exact reason, just something different to look at.

      Those are some good points in that article to recover harder and not soldier on. I can feel when I try that soldiering thru approach, it seems way less productive and beneficial than just turning everything off and going to bed.

      1. Edifi

        New routes are good, so are running clubs. Lake Houston Wilderness park has some decent trail for running, and the annual pass is dirt cheap.

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          We’ve looked at going up to Lake Houston, because it’s one of the closer outdoor areas to our house. I have a few state parks really close, but they don’t have great trails for running, well one is all paved and mostly in open areas, and the other one is more suited for strollers, families, and stays fairly heavy trafficked even though it’s in the woods and would make nice running trails. Come to think of it, there is a park near me that has good trails and i’ve never seen people on them, minus an occasional mountain bike. I’ll have to try there while there is still daylight to run those. Thanks for the great idea!
          I don’t know that I feel confident enough to join a running club, or that I’d enjoy running with other people. I’m just not there yet with it. :)

  1. Lucky Girl

    Have you tried mindfulness or meditation exercises? I have a tendency to get worked up over things and then my mind just won’t quiet itself, so I have to find a way to push the “reset” button. I haven’t done much work on mindfulness but when I do try something I find it helps.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      You and Mrs. SSCwith the meditation and mindfulness suggestions. :) Okay, I’ll try her app for meditation that she’s been pushing on me for a while now. That seems to be a good route to go. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Like you, when my brain works itself up and just won’t calm down, I also need a reset button, I am just having a hard time finding one that works lately.

      1. TheMoneyMine

        I would definitely try meditating a little bit :) Try 10min a day, every day, for 5 days, before breakfast. That’s what I did when I felt overwhelmed last year and I eventually came to enjoy it.

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          I think I’m going to have to give that a try. Mrs. SSC found an app that worked well for her as far as getting her into meditating and it starts at 5 minutes and goes up from there. I’ll have to add that in and see if it helps. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Our Next Life

    You didn’t list “getting old”! Haha — just kidding. The ophthalmologist just told me yesterday that I need full-time glasses for the first time ever because: old. So it’s on my mind!

    It sounds like you’re experiencing some burnout, which is a cyclical thing that’s hard to avoid, and you just have to wait it out. Does that seem possible? Once every other year or so I hit a period when I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed, and I know that I just have to muscle through it. I find that a routine helps, and I make myself do the things in the routine even if they feel like a chore or I’m too tired, and that regularity eventually gets me through it… not that I enjoy working out or hiking when I feel exhausted, or having to work for that matter. Oh, and you have to make yourself get more sleep — can you sleep a smidge later than 5:20??

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, Old age, it could just be age. If only there was an old man grey beard emoji. :) I felt like I was getting old after having kids, talk about wearing you out, yipe!!

      Mrs. SSC feels like this happens a couple of times a year, whether work is good/bad, slow/busy, family life is good/bad so maybe it’s something else. I think it could be a combnation of things now having put more focused thought towards it. Yes, busy at work with a lot of thought and deliberate process involved probably doesn’t help, but I think too part of it stems from missing my dad. Between Father’s day a while back and the anniversary of his death in another week or so just has him at the back of my mind and it’s been restless. It’s been 8 years, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

      I have made myself work out on days I haven’t wanted to and then once I’m running or swimming I feel a lot better. I’ve also taken days off when i ahdn’t planned it, for recovery etc.. and those are nice too. As far as sleep, I could get to work whenever I want, up until about 9am, but then I’m there until way later, so instead of 6:30-3:30/4, it would be more like 7:30-5, or 8-5:30 type of schedule. I would be able to see the kids in the morning, but then i’d get home right around bedtime, and I’d lose out on family dinners and that extra hour or two I just got back with them. At least for now, this schedule is the easiest I’ve had, and sure beats the hell out of getting up at the same time, and not being able to elave until 6:40 after I’ve dropped the kids off at daycare, and then get home around 6 pm. Blech… :)

  3. Elsie @ Gundomoney

    My personal experience has been that sometimes in life you just go through a slump. It doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by anything, sometimes it just happens.

    Some days I feel like I have no direction or I’m unmotivated. On those days I tell myself I’m not good enough, that people don’t care about me, or that I’m not successful.

    When I get like that I do one of two things

    1) Help someone else. Just getting my mind off myself and my pity part makes me feel better or at least distracts me

    2) I do something that scares me. That could be taking the bus instead of my car to work, reaching out to a stranger or an acquaintance at work to talk, or speaking publicly in from of my church congregation. When I get outside my comfort zone I grow and I don’t feel so stuck.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Those are some good tips, thanks! I’ll have to think of something that scares me or find someone to help out,a ctually, I did do something that’s a bit scary, in that I signed up for a trivia team with 4 other co-workers at our Employee Appreciation Day today. It’s Jeopardy style and I’m probably more of an introvert in those settings, and it will be played on a stage so I’ll be “spectated” by the crowd, and since I plan on doing a lot of spectating, this was pretty out of the box for Mr. SSC. :)
      I think pushing myself out of my confort zone to get a reset is a good idea, I’ll keep that one in my bag of tricks for next time too!

  4. Stockbeard

    I’ve had that problem for a while, and I thought Early Retirement would fix it for me…

    In all seriousness, I get that as a result of being extremely active at work, and I feel like my body/mind is trying to overcompensate on the other side when I’m home (burnout?). Some people have suggested it might be a mild form of depression too, have you thought about that?

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I have thought about the depressiona aspect, but it doesn’t feel like depression or if it is it may be more manic depression and I’m on a mild manic cycle. :) My mind feels restless and anxious, but my body feels tired, maybe that is depression. When I’ve dealt with that before it felt different and I didn’t have the restless brain syndrome, I just wanted to be left alone, and wasn’t motivated to do anything, or want to do anything. It’s something worth giving some thought to though because at least that’s fairly treatable. :)

  5. Pia @ Mama Hustle

    A few thoughts:
    1 – I’ve noticed that my restlessness decreases when I’m eating much cleaner than I am right now. For me, that tends to be gluten-free, dairy-free, tons of veggies, healthy fats, and a fair amount of protein. YMMV.

    2 – Could you try a completely different hobby? Whether it’s painting or knitting or gardening or whatever- just something to knock your brain out of its “usual” patterns?

    3 – Or a different recovery method? Maybe adding in yoga, meditation, specific mobility-related exercises one day a week? I know you’ve just started swimming, but maybe more recovery (or even more varied recovery) will contribute to a more peaceful state.

    When I was working out hard with a lot of life stuff on my plate (full-time work, full-time MBA student, two kids, spouse, etc.), I found that a day of active recovery (going for a walk in the park alone, or doing mobility exercises) made a huge difference in how I felt physically and mentally.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I could go the cleaner eating route and see how that works with my body. I know Mrs. SSC would be on board as she’s mostly vegetarian anyway, and we try to eat cleanly as it is.

      The different hobby is a good idea, and similar to a suggestion from Mrs. SSC. She thinks that because of the extra downtime at home, it’s amplifying the restlessness because after dinner the kids play upstairs. We watch them and hang out up there with them, and get engaged if they want, but they like playing with each other, so then there can be an hour just sort of hanging out twiddling your thumbs so to speak if they’re wrapped up with each other. Other days, I’m a jungle gym, and there’s no way to keep them off of me, or we’ll play games, but that tends to vary. Her point was that maybe if we did something “for ourselves” during that time when they’re wanting to do their own thing it would help me get more mindful, and not amplify this anxious/restless feeling. Whether that’s playing music or something way more mindful like coloring, yes we have lots of books and pencils, or even like you suggested a new hobby like drawing. We ahve the supplies, and I used to like drawing flowers and things, but haven’t tried that in over a decade. It could be a good way to be mindful, slow my mind down, and focus on something that’s pretty new to my brain.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Mr. PIE

    The notion of chasing my mountain goat kids up and down mountains for the next two weeks is a mixture of excitement and horror. They just don’t stop. And I do. Often.

    Sleep- always been a light sleeper. Something living in our attic or roof drainage ducts right now and can’t pinpoint where the heck it it is coming from. Whatever it is, whacking it over the head with a large broom would lessen my stress and improve my sleep.

    Diet – I can highly recommend lashings of ice cream, plenty outdoor grill food (2-3 times a day if you can), the occasional (ok, I am lying here) beer for a week or two. Our upcoming vacation should help with that goal.

    You may wish to avoid anything to do with Brexit (unless it is of the British humor variety) and the price of oil. Oh you know an awful lot about that one anyway. Strike from the advice. Strike the advice giver.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Chasing anything up a mountain sounds exciting, okay maybe not anything, but getting to enjoy the mountains with the kids is an experience I’m looking forward to.

      I am also a light sleeper and can fall back asleep, generally as quickly as my head hits the pillow, unlike Mrs. SSC who is up for another hr or more when she gets woken up. So, since about 4 yrs ago, that’s been my gig. :) As ar as animals and sleep disruption – some stupid moockingbird has moved into the tree directly outside the bedroom window and that idiot bird starts yowling around 4am most mornings. Being a light sleeper I just want to find something and shoot it… I use yowling, because it’s more like a rooster crow mixed with a sick cat with the horrid calls it belts out to let everybody know he’s awake. Stupid bird…

      I’m not a huge dessert eater, but I will be doing plenty of grilling and having an occasional (I’m lying too) beer over the holiday weekend. Ours will be a bit more extended to celebrate our oldest’s 5th birthday. Where did 5 years go? Man that goes quickly.

      Except for getting a 5-7% discount on a few stocks I was picking up with my allowance/fun money, I’ve dialed back the Brexit coverage. It is interesting the lead “Leave” backer doesn’t want to be the PM though. Like the dog that chases cars and then finally catches one and is like, “Crap, now what do I do with this car?” :)

  7. Elephant Eater

    I was totally getting myself totally burnt out on everything about a year ago and stumbled upon the book “Essentialism” by G McKeown that really has been transformational to how I look at and think about things. (Not to tell you to read a book right now while you have a million other things on your plate.) One quote sort of became a mantra for me, “Less but better”.

    We got really caught up in the whole FIRE thing and felt we had to get there ASAP. Our blog was starting to take off and I got caught up in that. Our daughter was getting to the age where she was really fun but also taking much more time and energy than she did as a baby. At the same time, we wanted to stay active in our hobbies and do a good job at work. In the end, everything was getting half ass effort and results were predictable.

    We really stepped back and talked about what we want long term and what was most important right now. We then got much more purposeful about making decisions in line what we said was important in the short term while building a lifestyle condusive to the most important things long-term.

    We’re still far from perfect, but by focusing on doing and wanting less and systematically simplifying life, we have been progressively more satisfied and happy. At the same time, performance in all areas has actually gotten better b/c when we set aside time for specific things, we are actually able to be present in the moment of doing them. “Less but better!”

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I like the “Less but better” mantra and remember when that showed up in your blog a while back, probably a long while, but it stuck in my head somewhat. I just need to get more mindful and apply it more. Maybe I don’t need to look into interviewing for the Team Lead position at work…

      The blog has been going over a year now, and while it is still awesome, man does it take some time to keep going. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but less but better can definitely apply here. I find myself writing when I get moved to write about something as opposed to wanting to make sure I get out at least a post a week – sorry readers, all 30 of you, lol. I noticed if I am not into what I’m writing you can tell, so I have about 10 or more half written posts that I’ll come back to when I’m more passionate about that subject. :)

      Our long term goals and short term goals are coming together and overall life hasn’t been better. I have to say i plan on applying “Less but Better” and get back to enjoying the things I’m doing and not worry about everything else. Thanks for the book recommendation, a used copy is on its way to the house. We will both probably end up reading it, but Mrs. SSC may make it through it first, lol.

  8. Olga King

    I live in Austin, TX these days, but I am a mountain person (moving in 3 years back, again, circumstances). I find myself in a slump often, much more than allowed. Especially once summer hits, what is, like, 9 months out of the year! By July I am a dead walking zombie. So, my escape is just that – escape. I plan my life around trips to the mountains every 6 weeks to recharge. Good luck! Love the “eat clean, sleep more, work less, pick a new hobby” too for more easy access to “recovery”!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I read a quote in Trout Unlimited magazine yesterday that went, “Mountain people are mountain people, whether those mountains are in Montana, Monongahela, Tibet, or Tongass.” I thought, yeah I can agree with that. While I love the Rockies, something about the Appalachians feels more comfortable and inviting, and lookinga t all of those pictures of the small brooks among trees made me realize how much I miss hiking around in little brooks or spring creeks pitching a nymph to some brookies. :( Soon enough though, soon enough.
      We try to plan escapes from the TX heat and Gulf in general, but it gets way more complicated and expensive with the kids. I loved hiking 14ers out in CO, because it was just what you said, like a soul recharge anytime I’d get on top and get to just look around and appreciate all that beauty.

      These days, I try to find recovery where it’s most accessible, and am looking forward to trying to apply some of these suggestions. Theere will definitely be a future follow up post to see how they worked out and how things have changed/stayed the same, let’s hope it’s not stay the same. :)

  9. Jacq

    I agree with try a change of diet, sometimes just to change things up.
    I usually try to connect with friends – making a few calls, or plans in person. Especially to do something new or different. Sometimes it’s the plans to do something I’m looking forward to as well.

    If work is in the end what is causing it, and you acknowledge the tedium, sometimes it’s finding the light at the end of the tunnel, that you’ll have something fresh & new to do at a point in the future. I regularly asked managers to be added to new methods, new projects. I was on a method that the testing took 4 days and had a < 50% passing rate, the failure started to bleed into my emotions. I finally got on something that took 4 hours and had a 90% pass rate, got others trained on the 4 day, so I could have a break. Very instrumental in getting back to a good place mentally.

    Being in a new role, at a new company, with different managers has made drastic improvements. :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      I have been looking at changing the work aspect as well. There is a lot going on around here and a lot of opportunity to step up and volunteer for different projects. I have been making a small push towards some different work than what I’m currently focused on, but we’ll see how that plays out as there is a lot of shifting people, projects and responsibilities around recently.

  10. MyMoneyDesign

    Whenever I feel like how you’re describing, I just try to take a step back and enjoy spending time with my family. Eventually that leads to something that will spark interest and motivation once again.

  11. Tyler @ I Am The Future Me

    I go through this all the time, but for me it’s because I have been slacking on my exercise and I just start doing that again and the problem goes away. I also find that if I don’t drink enough water throughout the day that I feel the same way. I drink coffee for a boost but I always double the amount of water so for instance if I drink 1 cup of coffee I drink 2 cups of water to balance it.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I find drinking water during the day can have a similar effect on me as well. I find myself taking my water bottle along anytime I get tea and fill it up, and that keeps me on a nice ratio of water/tea/coffee. :)

  12. Prudence Debtfree

    Something is in the air because this is the 3rd post I’ve read on this theme this afternoon. One possibility is the crazy things that have been going on in the world. The massacre in Florida; the jaw dropping politics of the U.S.; Brexit . . . You might believe that you have these things processed, but maybe that’s not the case. I hope that you find your peace again. I appreciate your transparency. (And I hope your daughter sleeps through the night again soon!)

    1. Mr. SSC

      I hope she starts sleeping through the night again soon as well. 😀

      Yeah there could be a myriad of things in the back of my mind driving this restless feeling, even if I think I’m “fine with things.” I’ve come across at least one of those and that has helped quiet things down, a little, and finding someone over the weekend to talk to about all of this has helped a lot as well.

      1. Prudence Debtfree

        I’m so glad that you were introspective enough to “come across at least one of those” things that are unsettling you and that you took the next step of actually talking to someone about it. That kind of humble wisdom is rare. Now for your daughter’s sleep . . .

  13. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    I don’t have to much additional advice to give, except to keep in mind that we all go through phases. I sometimes get really angry and frustrated at work, which makes me totally unproductive. It may take a while, but my mood will change. In the meantime, there are a ton of great suggestions above – this community is awesome for when you need a little support <3

    1. Mr. SSC

      We do have a pretty great community to draw from for support and you guys ahve been great with advice, tips and just being there for me to write to as more of a cathartic exercise than dishing out my “take on personal finance.”
      I feel my mood coming around to normal again but it was definitely hastened by the comments I got from this post.

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