We’ve all had “one of those days” where our brain seems to be on strike.

You simply can’t get yourself to focus on a task long enough to get it done. Or no matter how hard you try, everything you do comes out wrong.

So instead of doing the work, you spend hours scrolling through social media or taking yet another online quiz to find out where your next vacation should be. It happens.

Sometimes the feeling persists over several days and weeks. As your productivity plummets, your anxiety shoots through the roof. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here are some smart tips to overcome a mental slump from none other than billionaire business magnate, Sir Richard Branson.


1. Never feel guilty about taking a break

Taking a break seems counterproductive when you need to get something done. But not taking a break just forces you to drag your mind through hours of mediocre work.

Richard Branson tweeted that you should never feel guilty about taking a break during an afternoon slump.

He wrote in a blog post that “one of the best things you can learn to do is rest, rather than give up.”

A break doesn’t have to be an hour long. It can be just 5-10 minutes where you turn away from your station and drink something soothing while being mindful of your surroundings. Take a moment to be in the moment. When you get back into action, you’ll find that your mind has renewed focus and creativity.

2. When the mind is inactive, make the body active

There’s a saying that “mood follows action.”If your current mood is, “I don’t want to work”, then getting up and doing some stretches or just walking around the house can turn that mood around.

Richard Branson has repeatedly stated that his number one productivity tip is “working out.” His own daily routine consists of tennis games, kitesurfing, and cycling. His body is always up and running, and that spurs his mind to do the same.

Science has also proven that even 10 minutes of exercise can reinvigorate your mind. So kick that mental slump to the side with a little dancing, walking, or playing with your pet.

3. Dig deep and pull through

Sometimes our mental slump is caused by the fact we’re simply tired of working on the same task. It could be your business or a project you’ve been struggling to finish and feel like you can’t do it any longer.

Branson once wrote about a moment during a cycling challenge when he felt completely worn out and unable to continue. But then his son cycled past, and Branson felt a final surge of energy. He managed to cycle 45km in an hour while whooping like a schoolboy, ultimately crossing the finish line.

At the end of the post, he refers to an old Navy SEAL idea that suggests we have the potential to dig deep and shine even at our most exhausted. He also mentions the “40% rule,” which states that when our mind tells us we’re done, we’re only really 40% done. Branson concludes his insightful post by saying,

“In the dark moments, we all have the power to pull ourselves up to keep going.”