Periods of not feeling quite like ourselves is common. Understanding why it’s happening and engaging in reconnection can help put you at ease again.
We’ve all been there — those moments when you don’t fully feel like you. Sometimes these moments are fleeting, lasting a day or two before disappearing on their own.
Other times, the feeling settles in, creating an overall sense of being disconnected from yourself. You may not be able to pinpoint exactly how or why; you just know something feels “off.”
But why does it happen, and how can you move past it?
Going through periods of not feeling like yourself is perfectly normal, and there are several reasons why you could be feeling out of sorts.
This sense of disconnection may be the result of:
- Hormones. Both men and women experience hormonal changes that can have you feeling like it’s “Opposite Day” with different mood, stress, appetite, and sexual function than what’s typical for you.
- Stress. Experiencing stress can seriously affect your physical and mental health, as well as your behavior. When you’re overloaded by stress, your sense of self can shift, causing you to act or feel differently than you usually do.
- Major life changes. When a milestone such as switching jobs, moving, or having a baby, happens in your life, your focus can be pulled from yourself and placed on other things. This can cause you to neglect your own wants and needs. It can also have you feeling lost.
- Loss. Grieving the loss of a friend, family member, or even a pet can prevent you from enjoying the things you normally do, which can lead to feeling detached from yourself.
- Changes in relationships. When you’re in a new relationship, you may often strive to make your partner happy. In doing so, your personal coping or soothing techniques can be sidelined in favor of pleasing your partner.
Similarly, going through a breakup or change in relationship status can cause you to feel as though you don’t know who you are without the other person.
Overall, these causes are largely situational, and you can regain your sense of self over time by taking active steps to work through your challenges.
Other times, an underlying condition may be behind why you are not feeling like yourself. Feelings of disconnection are a common symptom of several mental health conditions, including:
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- depersonalization-derealization disorder
- bipolar disorder
If you suspect that a health condition is affecting how you feel or behave, you may want to consider seeking the advice of a medical professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Regaining your sense of self can take time and intention. If you’re experiencing a stretch of feeling out of sorts, the following positive steps may help bring you back to feeling like yourself again.
Grounding is a way of managing negative thoughts or feelings by focusing on the moment you’re in. As
According to a small 2015 study, grounding may also help elevate your mood.
Researchers worked with 40 adults divided into two groups: those doing a grounded activity and those doing the same activity without grounding. After a set amount of time, those who were grounded showed noticeable improvement in their overall mood, while those not practicing grounding techniques did not.
There are many ways to get started with grounding techniques, both on your own or with a healthcare professional.
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground.
- Take slow, deep breaths.
- Relax your shoulders.
- State the date and time.
- Comment on what you observe in your current surroundings.
- Remind yourself that you’re in a safe space.
- Continue to breathe, relax, and observe what’s around you.
Actively creating time and space for hobbies, activities, or other actions that bring you joy can help you navigate back to your sense of self and like yourself, wherever you are in your life journey.
For instance, if you usually enjoy cooking, try carving out time each day to prepare a meal. If you normally crave movement, consider hitting the gym, making time for a daily walk, or taking a dance class. Or maybe you love books but your “to be read” pile is mounting up; you might schedule dedicated reading time into your routine.
Engaging in self-reflection is not only great for getting back to you, but it helps nurture your overall sense of self-awareness.
One self-reflection activity is journaling. Keeping a journal has many benefits, from reducing stress to helping you find ways to cope with traumatic events.
Journaling allows you to better understand your thoughts and feelings as you reflect on your daily life, your relationships, and your outlook on the world around you.
We may all go through bouts of feeling out of sorts or unlike our usual selves. This can be caused by pivotal life events, hormonal changes, or mental health conditions.
Engaging in positive activities designed to help ground, reflect, or reconnect with who you are and the moment you’re in can help in moving past these feelings.
If you find that you’re unable to reorient, however, something else may be going on. Speaking with a therapist or medical professional can help; they can give you an accurate diagnosis and work with you to form a treatment plan.