We all have days when we feel off. Maybe we can’t quite put our finger on it, but something feels different — we may not be as productive at work, feel more irritable than usual, or just have a general sense of unease.
If this sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone. Whatever the case, it might be time to take a closer look at what’s happening and what to do about it.
Here’s what experts say you should do when you don’t feel like yourself:
Jocelyn Hamsher LPC, CSAT
Professor and Course Creator | Licensed Professional Counselor, Courageous Living AZ
Many of us go through days or even seasons when we don’t feel like ourselves. Whether it be due to stress, illness, or busyness, we look touch of who we are.
While we may eventually get back to feeling like ourselves again without doing anything, we can use a few strategies to connect with ourselves better.
Slow down from the busyness of life
Busyness is one of the biggest obstacles to being in touch with self. Whether it be with work, home life, social life, or the never-ending to-do list, we can easily become a human doing instead of a human being. However, to really get to know ourselves better and attune to our needs, we need to learn to slow down.
Whether that means actually tasting our food instead of inhaling it, checking in to notice how we are feeling or what we actually think, we need to be intentional about connecting with ourselves daily — which means slowing down.
Journaling: Write out your thoughts and feelings
One of the best ways to really know what is happening within ourselves is to free journal or answer journal prompts focused on checking in and connecting with ourselves.
When we take the time to actually write out our thoughts and feelings instead of pushing them to the side or allowing them to flee as quickly as they came, we are not really doing them justice.
However, when we take the time to formulate our thoughts and reflect on the WHY behind what we are feeling, we are better able to connect to our authentic selves.
In this case, if we are not feeling like ourselves, we may choose to journal around the following prompts:
- When was a time when I really felt like myself?
- What is different between now and when I do feel connected to myself?
- What do I need at this moment to feel more like myself?
- What are some barriers impacting my ability to connect with myself?
See a therapist
While I am clearly partial, I do believe seeing a therapist is one of the best ways to connect with yourself. A therapist will challenge you to notice what is going on inside of you, have you connect with your emotions, and challenge dysfunctional thought patterns.
We don’t know what we don’t know, and we can only take ourselves so deep without help. Therapy is a great tool to utilize to help challenge old patterns as well as identify barriers.
Related: What to Talk About in Therapy (60+ Examples from Therapists)
Be connected with your community
Community is a vital part of life and connection. When we are connected with others, the connection provides us an opportunity to be seen and valued for what we bring to the table.
Having a strong community also allows accountability when we are acting outside of our authentic selves or our norms. This accountability allows us to reflect on our thoughts, feelings, and choices.
These are just a few of the many ways to reconnect with yourself. It doesn’t need to be timely or costly, but it does need to be intentional and reflective.
Founder and CEO, My Thriving Life Academy | Author, “A Superwoman’s Guide to Recovering After Divorce“
We all have off days. Maybe you slept poorly the night before, or you’re feeling under the weather. Maybe you’re just in a funk. Whatever the reason, there are times when we don’t feel like ourselves. And that’s OK!
But if you find that you’re not yourself more often than you’d like, it might be time to take a closer look at what’s going on.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re feeling off:
Check in with your physical health
Taking care of your physical health is crucial for feeling your best mentally and emotionally. If you’re not taking care of your body, it will be hard to feel like yourself.
Be aware of your eating habits
One of the first steps towards better physical health is being aware of what you’re eating and when. Keeping a food diary can be incredibly helpful here; it allows you to track how much and what type of food you’re consuming on a daily basis, as well as how it makes you feel afterward.
Being mindful about what kinds of food you’re eating is important, too; research has shown that diets high in processed foods are linked to increased risk for obesity and other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Focus on whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Movement matters; exercise regularly
The next step in staying healthy physically is getting regular movement throughout the day. This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym every single day; even walking or stretching for 10 minutes each morning can have huge benefits for your overall health.
You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive memberships; simply getting up out of your chair every hour or so will help improve circulation and reduce stiffness or soreness in your body over time.
Regular exercise also plays a huge role in keeping your body healthy; aim for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week, if possible!
Schedule regular appointments with your doctor
The best way to ensure your physical health is to check in with your doctor on a regular basis. This includes annual physical exams, follow-up appointments for any chronic conditions, and any other tests or treatments that are recommended by your doctor.
Not only will these visits help you monitor your health, but they also give you an opportunity to ask questions about any new developments or changes in your lifestyle that could influence your well-being.
Get more sleep
Don’t forget about sleep! Sleep plays an incredibly important role in our overall physical health — research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes than those who do get enough rest each night (7-9 hours).
So make sure to set aside plenty of time each night to rest up — your body will thank you!
Check in with your mental health
It’s no secret that mental health plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. But while we all know how important it is to have a healthy mind, many of us don’t take the time to check our mental health on a regular basis.
That’s why I’m here to remind you that it’s always a good idea to take stock of your mental health every now and then!
Take small steps in making time for yourself
The first step towards taking stock of your mental health is simply making time for yourself. This could mean setting aside 10 minutes each day or scheduling an hour each week just for you.
No matter what schedule works best for you, make sure to permit yourself to take care of yourself first and foremost.
Pay attention and acknowledge whatever comes up
Once you’ve set aside some time, take a few minutes to observe what’s happening inside your head and heart. How do you feel? Are there any thoughts or emotions that are dominating your current state?
Acknowledge whatever comes up, even if it’s uncomfortable — you don’t have to act on anything unless you want to!
Focus on solutions
After observing and acknowledging what’s going through your head, focus on exploring solutions that might help move things along and bring some relief. What small steps can you take (or continue taking!) that will help support your mental well-being?
Taking note of these kinds of action items will help keep everything organized as you continue improving your mental state.
Get help to check your mental state
If you’re experiencing any changes in your mental health, it’s important to reach out for help. A therapist can help you get to the root of what’s going on and provide tools to help you feel better.
A coach is also a great resource that can help you shift your mindset, identify your blind spots, and assist you with attaining your goals. Checking in with yourself is something everyone should do regularly — not only when they’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out!
Taking stock of our mental state is essential for living an intentional life filled with joy, purpose, and meaning — so don’t forget about it when life gets busy!
I hope these tips gave you some insight into how to check in with yourself more often so that you can stay connected with your emotional well-being throughout the year!
Check in with your relationships
Our relationships have a big impact on our well-being, so it’s important to make sure that they are positive ones. If your relationships are causing more stress than joy, it will be difficult to feel like yourself.
Be present and show appreciation
The best way to show that you care about someone is to give them your full attention when you’re together.
When you’re spending time with them — whether it’s going out for dinner or just watching TV — be sure that you are present in the moment and actively listening when they speak. This will show them that their words matter to you and that you value their presence in your life.
Related: 50+ Reasons Why Listening Is Important
Additionally, be sure to express gratitude for the other person’s presence in your life — this simple act of appreciation can go a long way toward strengthening your relationship!
Communicate with others clearly
When communicating with others, it’s important that everyone involved knows what is being discussed. We all come from different backgrounds and perspectives; as a result, we may interpret things differently or make assumptions without realizing it.
To ensure understanding between both parties, make sure that each person has an opportunity to speak freely without interruption or judgment so that everyone can feel heard and understood.
Clear communication also involves staying open-minded during conversations; try not to get stuck on one opinion or idea but instead remain flexible so that more creative solutions can be discussed together.
Related: Effective Communication: How to Improve Your Communication Skills
When checking in with someone else, always remember to treat them with empathy and kindness.
Try not to jump straight into problem-solving mode but instead take the time to understand where the other person is coming from by asking questions about their feelings or experiences rather than making assumptions about them or jumping directly into offering advice or solutions prematurely.
Showing compassion doesn’t mean agreeing with everything they say; rather, it means validating their emotions and providing support even if you disagree on certain points.
Check in with your career
Do you enjoy your job? Do you feel like you’re doing meaningful work? If not, it can be hard to feel good about yourself outside of work. If your job is something that doesn’t align with your values or make you happy, it might be time to consider a change.
No matter how overwhelmed or frustrated we get with our jobs sometimes, it is always important to remember why we chose our careers in the first place. Taking some time every now and then for self-reflection can help keep us motivated and focused on our long-term professional goals.
Be honest with yourself about what you want
The first step of self-reflection is being honest with yourself about what you want from your career. Are you looking for more money? More prestige? More freedom? More responsibility? Be as specific as possible when answering these questions; the more detail you can provide, the better!
Evaluate your progress
Once you know what you want from your career, it’s time to evaluate your progress toward achieving those goals.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Am I making enough money?
- Am I doing meaningful work that I enjoy?
- Do I feel like my skills are being utilized properly?
- Do I feel appreciated by my boss and colleagues?
Answering these questions will help give you an idea of where you stand with respect to your career goals.
Take action to move forward
Once you know where you stand, it’s time to take action! If there are areas where you feel like you could be doing better, make a plan for how to improve them.
Maybe that means taking on more responsibility or going back to school for additional qualifications; whatever it may be, make sure that the action steps are realistic and achievable within the parameters of your current job.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for support if needed; having extra guidance can go a long way toward helping you stay on track with your career goals.
There are many factors that can contribute to feeling like yourself again. Checking in on your physical, mental, and emotional health is a good place to start.
Additionally, taking stock of your relationships and career can give you insight into whether they are contributing to your overall happiness. If you find that something isn’t aligned with who you are or what you want in life, don’t be afraid to make a change!
Lisa Honig Buksbaum
Positive Psychology Thought Leader | CEO, Soaringwords | Author, “SOARING into Strength: Love Transcends Pain“
Acknowledge your negative feelings
The biggest gift of COVID was that I learned to acknowledge my negative feelings and sit with them instead of shoving them as far away as possible. That’s the epiphany. End of story.
Yet it happens to be one of the most radical discoveries of my life. You see, many of us have been socialized to be fine.
The familiar conversation goes like this:
- “How you doing?”
- “I’m fine.”
No matter what’s actually going on in your life, we all know the drill. We’ve all got the script. We’re supposed to be fine. No one really wants to know what’s happening, right?
Well, that’s not accurate, and here’s why this recurrent loop is problematic.
When we think that we are expected to stuff our negative emotions or experiences to keep the status quo and appear as if we always have our act together, regardless of what might be actually happening in our lives, we add more stress to our allostatic load.
This is a fancy name for the way that toxic, prolonged stress impacts the body’s function. In other words, pretending to be perfectly fine when we feel far from it actually creates an unfortunate and dangerous schism between ourselves and our true feelings.
So instead of quietly sitting with our feelings — recognizing them, perhaps naming them in the privacy of our thoughts or internal dialogue with the kind, loving, adult part of ourselves — we feel shame and despair.
Reach out to a trusted person
Self-disclosure can lessen the sense of shame and alleviate the burden of carrying around a lot of negativity. When we open up to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional, it can help restore us to a healthier place of well-being.
Reframe the situation, but don’t deny it exists
When we feel out of sorts, depressed, anxious, or frustrated, it colors our perception. This means that the irritant or problem can frequently get blown out of proportion.
That’s where taking a few minutes to walk briskly, taking a ten-minute power nap, or doing something you enjoy doing can help lift your spirits.
Typically, I know I will start to not feel like myself around holidays and special anniversaries. At these times, the loss of my brother and only sibling twenty-five years ago and the more recent death of my father bring forth feelings of grief and sadness. I allow myself to feel these feelings.
I recognize that I am not feeling myself when tears suddenly start to flow while walking in the neighborhood, working on a project, or for no reason at all.
Say something kind to yourself
Then, when I realize the upcoming lifecycle event or occasion, I tenderly say something kind to myself, such as, “It’s okay, Lisa. Feel these feelings. I love you.”
This method allows me to let the feelings pass through me instead of arm wrestling with them, which strengthens their hold on me. Within some time, it could be a few minutes or a few days, I come back to myself and then have the opportunity to pause and appreciate that I do not live in constant pain.
Swimming through pain is not my default, and this realization is the true gift. When I allow myself to experience deep sadness, it gives me a heightened appreciation for the times in the rest of my life when I can walk in gratitude and more positive emotions.
Wherever you are on your journey today, know that the only constant is change.
Self-awareness and self-compassion allow you to restore yourself to the best version of yourself, appreciating life’s joy even more because you also know what it’s like when you feel far away from this place.
Related: How to Deal with Emotional Pain, According to 24 Experts
Licensed Life and Career Coach
“I don’t even know what my interests are anymore.”
My client spoke those words in our first session, and although it didn’t surprise me, it still cracked a piece of my heart. She has spent the last 15ish years establishing herself in a career she isn’t sure she likes anymore or even liked to begin with.
Between advancing in her working life and raising her kids, she didn’t leave any room for nurturing herself, which plays a big role in what she refers to as her meaning crisis.
There are seasons in our life when we feel like we are wandering in the dark. We feel like we are not ourselves, something is not quite working, and we feel “off.”
Perhaps there is this sense of “There is something more. Something in me that wants to be expressed. Something more I’m meant to contribute”, or a feeling of being someone you are not, living someone else’s life, or simply a feeling of being disconnected from yourself.
In a world that constantly pulls us in a million different directions, it’s fairly easy to lose our connection with ourselves.
A lack of work-life balance, overworking, putting everyone else’s needs above your own, following ‘shoulds,’ saying ‘yes’ to things that don’t feel right, and operating on autopilot may all be reasons why you have traveled a long distance from your heart.
So how do you come home to yourself when you feel so disconnected?
Give yourself grace, knowing it’s human to go through seasons of feeling lost.
These thoughts/questions you’re having can seem highly individual and highly personal because we each doubt ourselves privately and therefore believe we’re alone in thinking this way. But they reflect a universal truth about what it means to be human, to be delicate and tender. To lose ourselves so we can find ourselves again.
You can get through it, and you’ll be met with a stronger, more confident version of yourself on the other side of it.
Spend time with yourself
You may feel like you don’t even remember how to do that, but I encourage you to push through this first hurdle, grab a pen and paper and think about big or small moments in your life when you felt truly connected to yourself when you felt vibrant and alive.
These questions may spark ideas for things you could do to reconnect with yourself:
- Where were you?
- Who were you with?
- What were you doing?
- What was so special about this moment?
Restore and nourish your body
Feeling like you are living someone else’s life (like being in a job that isn’t a right fit for you) can take a toll on your health and well-being.
If you’re overworking or have a poor work-life balance, you’re probably feeling drained and depleted.
You may do what most of us do when we feel this way — numb your emotions through food, endless scrolling through social media, alcohol — you get it. Any distraction that helps us check out emotionally in order to survive.
On top of that, not being happy with where you are in life often interferes with deep, restorative, restful sleep.
Focus on self-care
Make sure you prioritize sleep and rest, make home-cooked nourishing meals, and make space for movement. We take care of things we love, and showing up for yourself in these ways will help restore your relationship with yourself.
Bring joy back into your life
During challenging times, our tendency as humans is to see everything in a negative light. Bypass your mind’s negativity bias by filling up your cup and doing things that bring you joy every day.
It doesn’t need to be something big. It can be simple, daily little things.
Think about what momentary, sensory experiences give you a sense of comfort, joy, and appreciation:
- Is it the evening light that comes through the windows?
- The smell of fresh coffee brewing?
- Your child’s laugh?
- Lighting a candle?
- A walk in nature?
- Listening to the birds early in the morning when the world is still asleep?
- Baking banana bread or apple pie?
- Listening to music?
- A hug from your best friend?
Soak these moments up, and pay attention to them, as they already exist in your life. Where you can, invite more of those experiences into your life.
Take a break from social media
Unplug yourself from someone else’s life and trade comparison with self-connection. If you’re not in a great place with yourself now, the quickest way to make yourself feel worse is to scroll on social media. It’s too easy to fall into the comparison rabbit hole and think that everyone else but you has it all figured out.
This may also free some time (social media can be a time-sucker) and mental energy to do activities that nurture your relationship with yourself.
Related: 25+ Benefits of a Social Media Detox
Set clear boundaries
More often than not, feeling like you have lost yourself is a result of not having clear boundaries. If you have the tendency to please others, you might abandon yourself in an attempt to serve others’ needs.
Because you are afraid of missing out on an opportunity, letting people down, or being perceived as difficult/inconvenient, you might be saying “yes” to everything and everyone.
Start valuing yourself in relation to yourself (not in relation to others), start saying “no” to what doesn’t serve you, and prioritize and advocate for your needs. These seasons of wandering in the dark are challenging and deeply uncomfortable. You may try to rush through them as quickly as humanly possible.
But know this: The stuckness you’re experiencing now may be the gift that points you towards discovering your own unique voice, connecting with what brings you meaning, and finding your song in life.
Christina Powell, LPC
Psychotherapist | Owner, Mental Perk Therapy
What does it mean to not feel like yourself? When we don’t feel like ourselves, it can definitely feel like we are out of sorts. What does it mean to ‘not feel like yourself,’ though?
You may feel a sensation of being out of your body, like a robot, like you’re not really in control of your speech or behaviors, numb towards your interactions with others, or sensation that your emotions are dulled.
While we all are capable of feeling this way, sometimes, it can become a bigger issue:
- Dissociating. Feeling detached from your surroundings or your body.
- Derealization. A form of dissociation where you particularly feel detached from your surroundings. You may feel like objects or people aren’t real. When experiencing derealization, you are typically aware that it is not normal to feel this way.
- Depersonalization. Depersonalization is another type of dissociation where you feel detached from your body and/or identity.
Severe stress, depression, or anxiety are all causes of dissociation. These differ from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or psychosis, where hallucinations and delusions make it difficult to differentiate from reality.
Related: What Does Dissociation Feel like, According to 8 Experts
If you feel that any of the above issues are persisting and causing you distress, please seek help from a medical professional, therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist.
How to start getting back in tune with yourself:
Use progressive muscle relaxation to get back in tune with your body
The idea is to progressively tense up muscles and then relax them. A very simple way to do this is to start at your toes and move your way up the body to tense and relax as you sit in a chair.
Do something you enjoy
We need to get back in tune with our emotions, and one of the best ways to do this is to do something that you know you have enjoyed. When in doubt, if you truly can’t think of something, find something that makes you laugh. The more belly laughing, the better.
Related: How to Make Yourself Happy
Take a break from technology and get into nature
This may look like leaving your phone at home and going for a walk, bike ride, or hike. You can also grab a book and sit at a park to read in the shade. Grabbing a friend, going for a coffee/tea, and having a nice chat without technology can also help us get back in tune with our social lives.
Do something creative or expressive
Try your hand at some art, drawing, photography, or music to express yourself and bring more emotions to the surface. Being creative allows for a more free-form thought process, allowing your mind to have a tangible outlet as your emotions come back to the surface.
When we’re tired, all of our mental faculties diminish. There is a reason sleep deprivation is literally a torture tactic! Evaluating your sleep hygiene is a great place to start.
Removing electronics from your night routine is a number one priority most of the time. We all do it, play on our phones or tablets — but that light ruins our bodily response to release those sleep hormones we desperately need.
Healthy eating and hydration
I know, I know, this is always on these lists. I promise it’s important. What we fuel our bodies with helps all of our systems to act like a well-oiled machine.
When we don’t have the physical energy to exert, it usually means our mental energy has already been depleted. Being in a healthy state gives you the advantage of getting mentally well.
Recognize where your stress comes from
Stress causes so many issues, and one of them can be feeling unlike yourself or that you cannot seem to get back to a state of balance (or baseline as we like to refer to it in the mental health world).
Once you can recognize stress patterns — whether from relationships with others, work, or school — you can start to take baby steps toward eliminating stressors or changing circumstances.
Get into spirituality and integrate them into your life
If spirituality isn’t for you, I understand. However, many people have some form of spirituality they follow, and finding ways to integrate them into your life can help you find some community and humanity.
It can put you back in touch with yourself and with others, spurring emotionality and connectedness.
Start thinking about therapy
It may be time to start thinking about therapy. Therapy can help you to more deeply analyze patterns within your life that may be leading to these feelings.
You’ll also be able to explore more specific coping strategies that can help you find your way back to yourself.
Related: How to Know if You Need to See a Therapist (50+ Signs, According to Therapists)
Author | Certified Life Purpose and Confidence Coach
Identify your feelings
When we don’t feel like ourselves, it’s important to identify what we are feeling so that we can find ways to address those feelings in a healthy manner.
Put words to the discomfort — sadness or simply feeling “off” for the day.
The more we learn to identify what we are going through, the easier it will be to walk through it and get back to feeling like ourselves again.
Cry — release your emotions
Sometimes when we aren’t feeling like ourselves — we are holding on to emotions that need to be released. Release them with a good cry. Let the release of your emotions help to heal the part of you that is currently struggling.
Related: The 7 Best Books for Emotional Healing
When we cry, our bodies release endorphins (the happy chemical), and this release can aid us in not only feeling better at that moment but also putting us on a path to getting back to ourselves.
Vent to someone you trust
Never underestimate the power of a good vent! When we don’t feel like ourselves, it’s good to take time to “talk it out” with someone you trust.
When we talk about what doesn’t feel right within us, it provides an opportunity for immediate release and an opportunity to see the situation in a new light. It also gives another person a chance to love you until you feel more like yourself again.
Dr. Ketan Parmar
Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots
Recognize that you’re not alone
Feeling like you no longer recognize yourself is an incredibly isolating experience.
It’s important to remember that this feeling of disconnection is very common and can be caused or exacerbated by things like stress, transitioning into new life stages, battling depression or anxiety, going through a traumatic event, and more.
Talking to friends or family members who you trust about what you’re going through can help alleviate some of the loneliness and confusion surrounding this feeling. Opening up to someone else also lets them know that it’s okay for them to open up about their own experiences as well.
Reexamine what matters to you
If we are constantly bombarded with external influences from the media, friends, and family, it can be challenging to remember what matters to us personally.
Take some time to reflect on what your core values and beliefs are. What do you stand for?
If certain aspects of life are no longer serving you, consider making changes. We all have the power to make decisions that will help shape our lives into something we can truly feel proud of.
Get in touch with nature
Nature has a way of soothing us and providing us with perspective during times when it feels like everything else is spinning out of control. Spending even just a few moments outdoors can give you the clarity you need to regain your footing as you figure out how to move forward.
Taking a walk in nature, visiting a local park, or just sitting outside to enjoy the fresh air can help you start to feel more connected with yourself as well.
Find ways to treat yourself
It’s important to recognize when we need additional self-care and kindness. What activities make you feel relaxed and centered? Once you’ve identified some of these activities, make an effort to incorporate them into your life on a regular basis.
This could mean anything from taking time for yourself for an hour each day, having an indulgent spa night once a week, or finding ways to practice mindfulness and meditation. Anything that helps bring balance back into your life will be beneficial in restoring how you view yourself.
Talk it out with a professional therapist
Sometimes it can be difficult to sort through our emotions and thoughts on our own, which is why talking to someone can be helpful.
If you’re struggling with feeling like yourself again, consider meeting with a professional therapist or counselor who can help guide the process.
Professional talk therapy allows people to express their worries without judgment in a safe and secure space, which can lead to realizations and breakthroughs that don’t happen as often on your own.
Talking things out can also give you the motivation and clarity needed to make any necessary changes to move forward.
Reaffirm your self-worth
When we feel disconnected from ourselves, it’s easy to forget how valuable we are. Every day take a few moments to remind yourself of your worth. Write yourself a letter or make a list of all the things you appreciate about yourself, your accomplishments, and your strengths.
Related: What to Do When You’re Feeling Unappreciated (According to 20 Experts)
You don’t need anyone else’s approval to recognize how it is to feel like yourself again.
By following these tips, you can begin to restore that feeling of recognition with yourself and start feeling like “you” once more. It may take some time before you are back to full strength, but taking steps toward understanding and treating yourself with kindness is always worthwhile.
It’s important to remember that you have the power to create the life that makes you happiest — no matter what comes your way.
Feeling disconnected from who we once were is something that most of us experience at some point in our lives. However, with the right tools and knowledge, it becomes much easier to keep ourselves centered and connected to our true selves.
From reexamining what matters most to you, finding ways to get in touch with nature, treating yourself with kindness, talking out your feelings, and reaffirming your self-worth — these are just a few of the steps that can help lead you back on track toward feeling like yourself again.
Related: How to Turn Your Life Around, According to 11 People Who Did It
Remember that although it may be hard at times, taking this journey is always worth it in the end.
LOA Life Coach | Meditation Teacher | Founder, The High Vibes Lounge
Pursue a goal that brings you joy
The first thing to do when you don’t feel like yourself is to ask yourself three questions:
- “What do I want?“
- “Why do I want it?“
- “How do I want it to feel?“
When you ask yourself these three questions, it triggers the Reticular Activating System in your brain, the filter of your mind, to seek out those answers. A lot of the time, the stress of life and challenges can get the better of a person.
Outside situations and people can use up your energy, making you feel depleted, and as a result, you lose your sense of self and who you are.
Life becomes more about the negative situations in your life instead of finding satisfaction and fulfillment in the things that bring you joy. You end up giving your attention to things that take your focus away from living a meaningful life.
Related: How to Live a Meaningful Life?
The way to overcome that is by pursuing a goal that brings you joy. The problem is that most people focus on why that goal can’t happen because they feel out of touch with who they are and what they want.
Maybe you want to travel more, but life says you’re too busy or don’t have the money. When you stay in the energy of looking at your limitations without allowing yourself to dream and set a goal for yourself, you continue to perpetuate a cycle of feeling not like yourself.
When you apply the three questions above, you bring more clarity into your life with a better understanding of who you are, not what other people want or expect of you.
Everything you want in life has a feeling associated with it, and when you see that what you’ve been focusing on is not giving you that feeling, you will begin the process of having things come together even if you can’t figure out the hows and see the path yet.
You’ll start to generate a feeling of vibrancy and vitality which will help you create momentum to see your goal come to life. Your emotional state will change, and you’ll start to live the life of who you are, your true authentic self, grounded in that vision.
Teen Wellness and Family Therapist
Take a “me” day
Sometimes it is important to take time to just recharge from a busy week or busy day.
You spend so much time caring for others and then neglecting yourself. Take time to just unplug from the world to relax, rejuvenate, and recuperate from the hustle and bustle of life.
Have more social interactions
You might want to spend some time with friends. Having a great support group/friend group where you can talk and share life issues during challenging times can be great for releasing stress.
Also, having your friends and family remind you to be good to yourself and take time to enjoy life.
Seek out a therapist
When you don’t feel quite like yourself, and it lingers for more than a couple of days, you might want to seek out a therapist to help manage.
Therapists can help you manage and pinpoint the reasons why you are not feeling like yourself.
Therapy is great self-care to invest in improving your overall well-being.
Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers
Remove yourself from unrealistic expectations
You might consider how your propensity for perfectionism, imposter syndrome, or fear of failure hinders you.
Talking this through with a therapist can be beneficial, but you can start by reminding yourself that life is imperfect and that your expectations should be reasonable and achievable.
Self-love is an investment that you can make in yourself. Putting a stop to your inner saboteur can be an excellent place to start.
Instead of being your worst critic, try choosing to be your best friend. Self-love, self-compassion, and self-care practices can help you refuel your energy and motivation.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Maybe you are having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month. It’s probably not as bad as you think it is. But that doesn’t mean that you feel good. In fact, you may find that you don’t feel like yourself.
What can you do when you don’t feel like yourself?
Spend time alone
Giving yourself time to self-reflect might help you realize why you don’t feel like yourself.
Try to notice the differences in your life from the last time you felt like yourself. Are you doing the same things you used to do? Are you spending time with the same people?
Find a new hobby or career
Careers can be more difficult to change, but hobbies are easier since they are done in your free time. Maybe you don’t feel like yourself because you feel bored or you feel like you are missing something.
Try a new hobby to see if this helps you feel more like you.
Related: How To Find A Hobby As An Adult (40+ Interesting Ideas)
Whether it’s someone you are related to or just a person you are friends with, the people we associate with impact how we feel.
If you aren’t feeling like yourself because someone is negative around you or to you, maybe it’s time to remove them from your life.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Stop partaking in actions where you end up comparing yourself to others:
- Are you feeling off because you see others who look more accomplished?
- Are you constantly looking at social media?
Related: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (And What to Do Instead)
It doesn’t matter how much money someone else makes or how quickly they make it. Focus on yourself, and don’t worry about others.
If you have tried the above, but you find that you still feel off, go get a physical. There might be something happening internally that could be impacting the way that you feel.
And if that doesn’t work? Consider reaching out to a professional therapist who can talk you through your feelings and help you determine why you feel how you do. With a little work, you’ll feel like your old self again before you know it.
Dan Bryan and Michelle Bryan
Coaches, Mosaic Concepts LLC | Authors, “Running For The Rest of Us“
Move your body
I know that sounds too simple to be of any worth, but today’s world doesn’t really appreciate the value of movement. We sit too much. Moving around is such an innate part of who we are, as humans, that the benefits are nearly miraculous.
It improves your mood and productivity
Studies have shown that even just a few short walks, jogs, or runs can increase your intelligence by up to 24%. Research has also concluded that these movements improve your mood, body, lifespan, productivity, life decisions, self-esteem, and even your general outlook on life.
Related: How to Improve Your Quality of Life (100+ Effective Ways)
When we don’t feel like ourselves, we all want something that’ll get us back into our rhythm, and a run around the block is one of the quickest ways to jumpstart that process.
Whether your problem is mental, emotional, or physical, movement will help. And the best part is that it’s so simple. It doesn’t require a specific location or expensive gear — all you really need is a place to go and some decent shoes, and maybe not even that. Some run barefoot!
It removes you from the “rat race” of work
Another wonderful thing about going for a stroll is that it physically removes you from the “rat race” of work. This provides a mental separation from all the noise around us, allowing us to reflect, ponder, and reorganize our thoughts.
Basketball Youth Coach | Lifelong Basketball Enthusiast, Info Hoops
Everyone experiences days when they just don’t feel like themselves — when they can’t seem to muster up the drive and energy to do what they need to accomplish.
I’ve certainly gone through those periods many times in the past — still do — and I’ve often struggled to work my way through the funk and get on with my day.
Hit the gym or play sports
One thing that I’ve found that worked wonders for improving my mood and mental well-being was hitting the gym and shooting baskets.
I’ve always been a basketball fanatic ever since I was a kid. I’ve gone through periods where I was more or less involved in the sport, played high school and college basketball, and even coached youth basketball teams.
But even when I wasn’t actively playing the sport or directly involved in any basketball-related activity, I’ve always gotten comfort from holding the ball in my hands and shooting baskets for a couple of hours.
Its benefits go beyond the physical
Athletic activities have many notable physical benefits, of course. Part of the reason why I play basketball is to stay in shape and maintain my good health.
But I realized early on that basketball was much more than just a physical activity for me. It’s an instant mood lifter for me, and I can always rely on it to improve my outlook. Plus, it has absolutely no side effects! It’s also a great way to clear the cobwebs and cast off that mental funk that sometimes gets the better of us all.
I still struggle with stress, pressure, and “the blues” from time to time. I guess that’s just part of being human and existing in this world we live in. But I consider myself fortunate to have found something that can — and still does — give me great pleasure, lifts my spirits, and energizes me to go on day after day.
Peter Kubele Biya
Student | Entrepreneur | Founder, Shikshac
These are the most challenging days. The ones where you feel like a stranger in your own skin. Even breathing feels complicated, and your usual happy self has become a sad version of yourself.
These are the moments when you cannot help but wonder if this is just another phase or something more profound. Something that will continue to plague you for a more extended period.
These are the days when all you want to do is lock yourself up in your room and hide away from the world until everything feels normal again — but that’s easier said than done.
And so, instead, we need to know what to do when we don’t feel like ourselves. Today is one such day for me. So much so that I am writing about it so that maybe one day in the future, I won’t have to remember this moment and how low I felt during it.
Because I believe we all go through these phases at some point in our lives, no matter how content we may seem on the outside.
Speak to someone you trust
This is a significant first step, especially in times of distress. You may not want to unload your feelings on anyone, but if you don’t, chances are you will keep them hidden away from the world.
This can make you feel even worse when you don’t open up, especially if you are someone who has a lot on their mind.
So don’t be afraid to let someone know how you feel, even if you don’t know how they will react. Your friend or family member may be able to help you in ways you never thought possible. You never know what might come of speaking about your feelings until you actually try doing it.
Don’t be hard on yourself
Another easy trap to fall into when you don’t feel like yourself is being hard on yourself. Often, the more we feel out of control, the more we blame ourselves, thinking that if we had done everything right, we wouldn’t feel this bad.
But this is not true. There are a million and one things that can affect our mood, and at the end of the day, it’s not your fault that you don’t feel like yourself. In fact, it’s perfectly normal, and what matters is that you acknowledge this and give yourself the time you need to get back to feeling like yourself again.
Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a loved one going through something similar. This is the best way to help yourself get through this challenging time.
Related: How To Stop Beating Yourself Up
Exercising releases endorphins in the body. These are chemicals that make you feel happy, relaxed, and confident. The more you do it, the more they will be released into your system. And exercising is precisely what you need when you don’t feel like yourself.
Exercise is also a great way to stay healthy, and when you aren’t feeling your best, this is the best gift you can give your body. Now is the best time to start if you aren’t a frequent exerciser. This will increase the number of endorphins released into your system.
And the best part is that you can do it almost anywhere. You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to do it.
Breathing exercises are a very effective way to calm yourself down, and if you don’t like the idea of exercising, then you might find that this work better for you.
You can do them whenever you feel stressed or anxious or don’t feel like yourself. All you have to do is sit or lie in a comfortable place, close your eyes and take slow deep breaths.
Try inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds. It will calm you down and help you relax when you are feeling unwell.
Do journaling; it’s a form of self-therapy
As you may have noticed, all the techniques we have discussed so far are focused on dealing with your current state of mind. This form of self-therapy has been proven to be very effective at helping people work through their issues and feel better.
But it’s not something everyone has the time or the energy to do. If you are interested in this but are too busy or don’t know where to start, I highly recommend the book “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins.
It’s a short and quick read that will give you all the information you need to start this process.
Help others in need if you can
If you are still unsure about what to do when you don’t feel like yourself, this is an excellent way to start helping others and focusing your energy on something positive.
Many organizations need volunteers, and you can easily find one to which you can contribute. Whether it’s a shelter for animals or children or a nursing home, you can do your part to help others get through the day and feel better about themselves.
Not only will this make you feel better, but it will also be a great way to learn more about yourself.
Go out, even if you don’t want to
Our minds are mighty, and we often believe things about ourselves that aren’t true. At times like these, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of self-doubt and negative thinking.
This will only make you feel worse and breaking out won’t be easy. So go out with your friends, go to the movies or do something else that will take your mind off your current state.
As you can see, there are many ways to deal with these challenging days.
It’s important to remember that these are only temporary and that you will get better soon. All you have to do is ensure you don’t fall into the trap of believing that you will feel this way forever.
When you don’t feel like yourself, it can be hard to tell what’s really going on. That’s why it’s important to pay attention when you’re not feeling your best and take action when possible.
Here are some steps you can take to help get your energy back:
Take a break
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a few days off from work or school. This will give your mind and body a chance to relax and come down from the stress or anxiety that has been keeping them up at night.
Try an exercise routine
When we are stressed out, we tend to neglect our bodies because we don’t feel like exercising. However, doing something active can help to relieve some of this tension. It also gives us a chance to focus on something other than the stress in our lives.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make us feel alert and energetic, but it also causes sleep problems for some people who consume too much of it on a regular basis.
If this is true for you, try cutting back on your caffeine intake as much as possible so that you aren’t tempted by its effects all day long!
Find someone to talk to
Talk to someone about your feelings, but don’t do it too much or for too long, or the conversation will become awkward, so keep it short and sweet!
Remember, it is okay if people don’t understand what you’re going through at the moment — just let them know that you are fine and that they are there for support if needed!
Spend time with your loved ones
Whether it be family or friends, let them know that you need some extra attention right now! It will make all the difference!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some mindfulness techniques I can use when I don’t feel like myself?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. Here are a few mindfulness techniques that can help you when you’re feeling disconnected or unmotivated:
Practice deep breathing: Take a few deep breaths, focusing on your breath as it flows in and out of your body.
Practice body scan meditation: In body scan meditation, you focus on every part of your body, starting with your toes and ending with your head.
Practice gratitude: Take time each day to focus on the things you’re grateful for in your life. This can help you develop a more positive attitude and feel more connected to the world around you.
Practice mindful movement: Take time to engage in activities such as yoga, tai chi, or walking meditation where you move slowly and deliberately, focusing on your body and your breath.
How long does it take to feel like myself again?
How long it takes for you to feel like yourself again can vary depending on the person and circumstances. However, with the right support and self-care practices, many people are able to feel like themselves again in just a few weeks or months. Remember that healing is a process, and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way.
What are some common misconceptions about “not feeling like yourself”?
There are some common misconceptions about feeling disconnected or unmotivated. Here are a few to be aware of:
It’s a sign of weakness: Feeling disconnected or unmotivated isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a common experience that many people have at some point in their lives.
It’s a permanent state: Feeling disconnected or unmotivated is often a temporary condition that can be improved with the right support and self-care practices.
It’s a personal failing: Feeling disconnected or unmotivated isn’t a personal failing. It’s a normal human experience that can be influenced by a variety of factors such as stress, mood disorders, or physical health issues.
How do I find a therapist or mental health professional if I need one?
If you’re struggling with feelings of disconnection or low mood and self-care isn’t helping you, it may be time to seek professional help. Here are some ways you can find a therapist or mental health professional:
• Ask for recommendations from friends or family members.
• Check with your insurance provider to see which providers are covered under your plan.
• Use an online directory like Psychology Today or GoodTherapy to find a therapist near you.
• Check with your local health center or mental health clinic for resources.
How can I support a loved one who is going through a difficult time and not feeling like themselves?
If you have a friend or family member who is going through a difficult time and feeling disconnected or unmotivated, there are a few things you can do to support them:
Listen without judgment: Be there for them and listen to what they’re going through without judgment or criticism.
Offer to help: Offer practical support, such as cooking them a meal or helping with errands when needed.
Encourage self-care: Encourage them to practice self-care and pursue activities that bring them joy.
Offer to help them find professional support: If symptoms are severe or persistent, encourage them to seek professional help and offer to help them find resources if needed.
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