5 Things To Do When You Feel Defeated And Depleted

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Originally published 10/5/17

If you caught my September recap you know I took about a month off. Yes, part of it was unplanned due to the terrifying hurricane that was heading my way, but the other half was for our longgg overdue honeymoon.

Here's the truth though, in August I started preparing for my time off. Getting all my ducks in a row, checking things off my to-do list, putting a team in place to step in while I was away. Only, then the unexpected hurricane derailed my life for two weeks. And the team I was trying to put in place had some unforeseen challenges with not enough time to work through them.

I had been planning for my two weeks off for months. Letting every partnership that came in my inbox know it was coming, and really thought things were going to be a breeze. What I hadn't planned for was four weeks off. As if I wasn't stressed enough several deadlines were getting pushed and people were asking me to work during my vacation… and then severals partnerships fell through.

Much like our wedding, our honeymoon felt very anticlimactic. I was looking forward to it, but have this sadness about it that I can't place my finger on. Truthfully, I feel guilty saying it, thinking it, and even feeling it. I got to spend two beautiful weeks in Hawaii – in paradise. I thought I'd come back bursting with creativity, so excited and ready to tackle anything that came my way, but instead, I feel defeated and depleted.

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So while I'm writing this post for actionable tips for you guys, it's also a pep talk to myself.

Here are 5 things to do when you feel defeated and depleted:

Set a deadline.

It's okay to feel your feelings, in fact I believe you have to feel them or they'll come out sideways down the road. Give yourself room to feel, but then a set a deadline to get back to the real world. And I'm not talking about for a day, I mean plan on being a consistent adult for a few days… in a row. 

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Find Meaning.

A lot of you know that Man's Search For Meaning is a book that's been a guiding light in my life. Through every obstacle, we have to connect to our why in order to find the will to push through. Feeling defeated is the Universe's way of challenging us to give up or get on.

TBH, for the first time since I started blogging a year and a half ago, I started having thoughts like, “What am I doing? Should I even keep going?” As I write those thoughts out, tears come to my eyes. Partly out of fear that no one would care, and partly out of sadness because I don't actually want to give this up and partly out of fear that it could all go away in an instant. – I think instead of giving up, I need to reconnect with my why. The things that fell through recently are related back to a larger plan I started losing sight of. Something  I need to revisit and define.

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Lean on your network.

I'm a bit of a lone wolf, ever since my pre-school days. In high school, one of my best friends said to me, “Rach, you change friends more than I change my underwear.” And it's true, I don't let people in easily and I don't let them stay in for very long. But one of the greatest gifts of blogging has been finding a group of woman that have experienced similar challenges with friends, particularly other women. Talking to them these last few days has really helped me keep my head up and move forward. Aside from leaning on them for my own stuff, being there for them instead of just sitting in my own ish has been even more helpful.

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Remember there are always more fish in the sea… and that you're not everyone's cup of tea.

HA! Ain't that the truth? People will not always understand or care to understand who we are, what we've done, or where we've come from. And that's okay. Because for every person rejecting us, there are five more out there who may inspire us and be a better fit for our lives.

What would your younger self think?

While in Hawaii there were tons of little kids everywhere I turned. I spent many an afternoon watching them jut down the water slide, in awe of fish in the sea, and just generally looking at the world with pure joy and amazement. It was beautiful. Think, what would your six year old self say if she saw your defeat on your face or heard about your feelings? Chances are you have a lot she would look up to and be inspired by.

[RELATED] Advice To My 18-Year-Old Self

Know that through defeat and difficulty, comes the most beautiful transitions.

Truthfully, it feels like I was begging the Universe for this pain. Before going away, I started to panic a little bit, my life had become too normal. Too status quo. Too hunky dory. Things were fine, they were good, I was content, and bored. I felt a little panicked because I was so okay that I didn't know what to do or write. I tend to live best in a little bit of chaos and through every hurdle, I know there is an opportunity for a beautiful transition and growth.


The Truth About Fear & Perfectionism & How To Beat Them

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The Confused Millennial’s 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

12 Things To Do When You Don’t Want To Do Anything At All


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46 thoughts on “5 Things To Do When You Feel Defeated And Depleted”

  1. Finding meaning is the point I’m at right now. With everything I have going on I wonder why I’m even blogging and realizing I’m not pushing myself creatively. For me, the best ideas always come when I’m not thinking of blogging. It’s a tough place to be in but one that will always end!

  2. It is so important to have a group of close friends to rely on and share life with, I couldn’t get by without my besties, we call ourselves the ‘sisterchicks.’ Blogging can be overwhelming and I find it good to take a step back and remember the why and then narrow my focus to fit that goal.

  3. Naomi Destiny David

    Such an inspiring read! Through defeat and difficulty comes the most beautiful transition…thanks for sharing!

  4. What great tips! Frankl’s book, “A Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of my favorites – so inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is such an amazing post, I think these are feelings that we all experience at least once in our lives (if not more) and I love that you said it’s important to let yourself feel these emotions. That was such a great tip, because if we don’t let ourselves feel those feelings they are going to come out much worse later on!

  6. Thanks for sharing your insight on these feelings I know we all have experienced at one point in our lives. I agree that finding meaning is definitely helpful. I find that I go to my network after I focus on what I can do to help myself in that situation first to get some perspective and clarity. Thanks for sharing more on this, girl!

  7. Hey Rachel, such an inspiring post with so many good tips! I feel as though being a blogger its quite hard to express those types of feelings to a lot of people in your life because they simply don’t understand, so I definitely think its really important to reach out to others that experience similar things to you and build that network!
    I also find that journalling/writing down why you are feeling defeated often helps you to see it more clearly for what it is and move past it mush easier. Then its also great to look back on that again to know that you can get past those feelings and move on to much better things!

  8. I feel you, girl. September was so rough – and that hurricane definitely had a lot to do with it! I’m so glad you finally got to escape to Hawaii for your honeymoon! Getting through the tough times is never fun, but there’s always something wonderful waiting on the other side!

  9. I think that everyone, at least in the South, was in some way affected by the hurricane! Even though we weren’t in the path, it was still so emotional and scary for so many people. I think these are all great ways to get the spring back in your step!

  10. Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    I needed this post! I’ve been following similar motions to try and get out of the rut.

  11. “People will not always understand or care to understand who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve come from. And that’s okay.”

    I’ve learnt this over the years, and also especially now as I’ve recently launched a business, and boy does it help me put things into perspective and not sweat the small stuff. I’ve learnt to better manage my expectations of others (even friends) (aka try not to have too high expectations?!) and it actually pushes me to do things on my own that I didn’t quite believe I was capable of.

  12. This is a great post. I especially like that you said understand that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I used to get so upset if I thought someone didn’t like me. Yet, I don’t warm to everyone I meet. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with them, they’re just not, as you say, my cup of tea.

  13. Such a lovely post! I feel like that at least once a week! It has gotten better lately but you can never have too many tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Great post! I love the blogging community. Everyone so supportive and helpful. And if they’re not, its because, as you mentioned, they just don’t understand who we are or what we do, and it really is ok!

  15. I love this post. The point that really spoke to me most — What would your younger self think? That is such an important thing to remember.

  16. I love this post SO much. It came at the most perfect time. I’ve been feeling so defeated with blogging and just life in general lately, but I have to remember that it gets harder before it gets better. I know good things are coming!

  17. Christina Bruner Polovich

    Believing in yourself is the most important thing you can do when you are feeling down and out.

  18. These are great tips. Throughout the past year I’ve been getting these feelings about blogging and have had to step back and remind myself that it is just a hobby and shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun.

  19. I feel like this at times too – and don’t really know why. Really looking into the meaning of why this feeling is there is a helpful one – and then addressing it head on. I’m also bad at leaning on a network – as I hate asking anyone for anything. Your advice is so helpful – and I also nominated you for the 2 awards. Good luck!! xo

  20. I understand your feelings, Rachel! These are great tips to get through them, though! I especially love the one about wondering what your younger self would think. It really helps to put things in perspective!

  21. Magen Daniella Golden

    This is great motivation. I often struggle with feelings of doubt and if I’m not careful it really gets to me.

  22. Ha! My younger self would look at me in amazement and disappointment. That girl had it going on. 😉 She always knew she’d become a writer but settle down?! Never! Free spirit here so deadlines… naw… not our thing but we learned we can’t live without them.

  23. Definitely know how you feel! While I didn’t take off for vacation, I did take some time off just to give myself a break from everything, and when I was done I honestly felt worse than before. I was thinking to myself “why am I even doing this?”. Reconnecting with your why and setting deadlines to keep yourself going definitely help. Hope you get back into the groove of things soon!!

  24. Must be something in the atmosphere, because I have definitely been feeling this way myself! I understand the anticlimactic feeling – that’s how I’ve felt since earning my doctorate degree in June – such a huge accomplishment, took 7 1/2 years to get there – and now it’s like ‘Meh’ no big deal!! I think that’s partly due to the fact we haven’t had the finances to even go out and celebrate or do anything really special all summer into the fall.

    But setting deadlines, finding meaning, and leaning on our networks (and close family and friends) are all excellent suggestions, especially significant for me.

  25. I really needed to read this today. I’ve been feeling this way a LOT lately and, luckily, I’ve had a great support system to lean on.

  26. I love setting my own deadlines because it gives me a set time to get my ish together and get thigns done! These are such great tips!

  27. Sorry to hear you felt your much anticipated honeymoon was anticlimactic! These are great tips to beat the blues though! Leaning on your network is something I need to be better at too – I tend to hold things in when I’m feeling sad or disappointed.

  28. I think those moments of defeat are good times to disengage with everything, as much as you can, to take some time to determine the next phase. We can’t always be “on”.

  29. This was me a couple weeks ago. I called a friend and she was so supportive and gave me a different look on my issues. She also mentioned finding the meaning behind why I started what I did and to really focus on that.

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