Are you suffering from a mid-year slump?

This week marks the start of the second part of the year. It's a great time for reflection says Dr Michelle O'Driscoll
Are you suffering from a mid-year slump?

But this week marks the middle of the year, the start of the ‘second half’. How are you feeling? Picture: Stock

THIS has been a mixed bag of a year to date, with a wide spectrum of experiences; some uplifting and full of hope, others disheartening and demotivating, all unique to each one of us.

For the most part we have ploughed through, gone through the motions, doing what we can with what we have.

For this reason, we may be experiencing a mid-year slump or dip in motivation.

January is a typical time to ‘start fresh’ and begin again with great intentions and plans. But this week marks the middle of the year, the start of the ‘second half’. Sports teams use this time to regroup, touch base, re-evaluate and boost morale in that all-important team huddle, often the turning point for how the story goes. And this is something we too can practice, now at the half-way point of the year, or indeed at any time throughout it.

During that break in proceedings, which may look like an hour on your own with a journal, or escaping on a walk without headphones for a change, it can be really beneficial to reflect on what has been in order to plan for what’s ahead. This self-awareness is the foundation for any sort of change, and begins with some internal auditing. Spend some time thinking or writing about the following questions:

What have you valued most?

Consider what have been your highlights these past six months, what has put a pep in your step? Is it time with family, engaging with new people, throwing yourself into a work project? 

Ask yourself what made your heart sing in the first half of this year. Then ask yourself have you been doing enough of that?

 If you’re feeling weary at the moment, are you tired because you’re doing too much, or because you are not doing enough of what brings you joy?

What has been most challenging?

There’s little to gain from glossing over the cracks or ignoring the pitfalls along the way that you’ve encountered. Every one of those provides a learning. 

What have you really struggled with? How has that manifested, whether it’s through withdrawing, conflict, missing deadlines or something else?

Knowing the signs that you’ve had trouble coping in some way is important information for early intervention in future challenging situations. Knowing, too, what helps in those situations is vital, and incorporating those strategies into your action plan.

How have you been speaking to yourself?

During those lows, and the highs too, how have you been speaking to yourself? Have you been supporting yourself with quiet encouragement, or putting yourself down with internal snide remarks? Have you built yourself up with words of compassion and self-belief, or torn any confidence to shreds with criticism that you wouldn’t dream of offering to anybody else?

Trying to enjoy life and all that it has to offer while fending off the inner critic can be like rowing against the tide. Switch the momentum by reminding yourself of all that you’re worth and all that you contribute.

Change the commentary, and watch that change your experience.

What am I able to change/let go of?

There’s so much all of us would absolutely love to change in life — but the issue lies with what from that list is actually controllable.

Focus your energy on your patch, your own changeable factors, rather than the external stuff that is beyond influencing on our part.

Similarly, do a mental and emotional clear-out of the things that are beyond control and actively let them go. Decide to drop the weight of guilt or anger, regret, or fear of failure, and feel the difference in the load that you carry into 2021, part two.

You can be sure that true success at the end of this year will be in the form of a feeling, rather than a place or a thing. So having addressed the above questions, and before running back out onto that pitch, pose one final question for yourself — in another six months, as 2021 comes to an end, how do I want to feel? At ease? Content? Happy? Confident?

Knowing how you want to feel is the direction to put into the sat nav for this journey through the second half of the year. Once you’re clear on where you’re going, you’ll be able to work out what you need to do to get there.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Michelle O’Driscoll is a pharmacist, researcher and founder of InTuition, a health and wellness education company.

Her research lies in the area of mental health education, and through InTuition she delivers health promotion workshops to corporate and academic organisations nationally.

See www.intuition.ie

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