I found myself in a huge funk the other week. It came out of nowhere and landed all over me like a huge, heavy, wet blanket. I have no idea where it came from, what triggered it and why it decided to invite itself into my week and completely imbed itself into my entire being.
I know about getting the blues, experiencing grief and being down. I get that. I know what to do with that and those triggers. This was different. I couldn’t figure out the trigger and I couldn’t seem to shoo it away in the normal ways.
I am by nature a positive person. I work at not letting circumstances overrule that positivity. But, since this is real life and we live and breathe and have feelings, at some point our little rose garden will get some rain. If that rain turns into a funk, we have to have some tools in our back pocket to deal with it.
I have gathered together a few tools that have helped me get out of funks at times. Sometimes some work and other times others work. You may have your own toolkit, or you may want to add to it. Here are some of mine:
Things I Try to Get Out of a Funk
1. Check out what’s going on physically.
First of all, it’s important to take an inventory of how you are taking care of yourself and what’s going on physically.
- Are you going to bed at a decent hour? How is your sleep?
- Are you eating well and keeping your blood sugars stable?
- Are you getting Vitamin D? WE NEED SUNLIGHT!
- Are you stressing your liver with too much alcohol and processed foods?
- Are you dieting or not eating enough calories? WE HAVE TO FEED OURSELVES!
- Are you stressed by work, life, children, parents, or ALL of the above?
- Are you getting exercise? ENDORPHINS are the BOMB!
Our bodies are. miraculous things. It works really hard all day long but we have a job to actually HELP our body do that work. A chemical imbalance definitely affects our moods. So good sleep, nutrition and self care are absolutely critical in helping us regain emotional balance.
2. Just give in to it.
This one may surprise you. If you ask my boys, they would tell you that my first response would be to “buck up” and deal with it. I am definitely a buck up kind of gal and have done that plenty. I have also done plenty of “busy” to get through a funk or down time. Sometimes, though, the best thing to do is to just let it be. Feel the feels and know that this is just a funk and it is temporary. You will get through it and come out on the other side and get back to yourself. During this particular funk, I could only describe it as being “not myself”. So, while I could feel it settling in and hanging out with me for a few days, I knew that at some point, the funk would have overstayed its welcome, and go away.
Acknowledging the funk and whatever negative emotions are going on does not mean the same as indulging them. Sometimes I find that just acknowledging them, telling the feelings/funk that you know it’s there, is a good thing. You aren’t going to let them overwhelm you, and if you acknowledge them you might even be able to pinpoint why they decided to show and park at this particular time.
** SET A DEADLINE.
If you do decide to just let the Funk come visit and let it be what it is, then you need to set a time. You can have the funk move in, settle in, cover you like a blanket, but you have to be the dogmatic host. Set a timer or a deadline on the funk. During that time you can wallow, process, analyze, feel the feels, be angry, sad, even a bit bat s&*t crazy, then when the time is over, call a friend, take a bath, go for a walk, hug on someone, do whatever you need to fill your cup, and get on with something meaningful that can occupy your head space and make your body feel good, so there’s no room left for the funk.
4. Create something.
I recently read that using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring understanding to the parts of your life that you cannot logically comprehend. I discovered this over the past two years. I’ve always been a little creative, but had let a lot of that go in the busyness of raising children, working, being all the things that I needed to be. Writing here, cooking, making recipes and creating workouts filled a little of that need, but I began painting again after years of not. It has been a big gift in helping me get through some chaotic times and minor funks in the past couple of years.
Creating something, learning a new skill helps us get us out of our heads and more into our bodies.
5. Get busy.
Sometimes simply gettting busy, cleaning, cleaning out, doing something positive where you can see the progress is so therapeutic. I remember after my brother died my house was the cleanest it ever was. I cleaned out our garage, our attic, took every item and piece of furniture off of our screen porch and cleaned every bit by hand, and then tackled the boys’ closets, then I picked weeds for hours in the blazing sun, anything I could possibly do, I did.
It was a great time to think and process while scrubbing, throwing out, organizing and sweating.
6. Go outside and move your body.
The endorphins from a workout have always worked wonders for me. When I am in a funk, even if I don’t feel like working out, I make myself get some form of exercise. Good music, being around others, getting outside, working up a sweat, running with my dog, any or all of these things work.
Scientifically, exercise increases the oxygen available to your brain, and helps you to solve problems. Getting outside in nature, breathing fresh air, getting that sunlight and vitamin D, moving your body are always healing for me. Even better is to get some exercise or walk in with a friend. Talking, sharing, and laughing can take up the space the funk was trying to consume.
7. Do Something Different
One of my goals for the year was to do more things out of my comfort zone. When I made that as a goal, I had absolutely NO idea the amount of things I would be doing this year FAR out of my comfort zone! In this case, I am meaning it a little differently. During my recent “week of funk” I received an invitation fairly out of the blue from an acquaintance. Now, let me just say I am not one to be invited to stuff. I am pretty much a creature of habit and tend to be a homebody during the week. And ordinarily if I was invited to get out of my home on a Monday night, after the time change, so it’s pitch black dark, AND being in a funk, AND receiving the invitation from someone I know as incredibly sweet, but not a good friend, I would have quickly found some excuse. I’m just being honest. But something nudged me to say yes. To get out. Do something different.
That was the very best thing I could have done to get myself out of this particular funk. (If you are wondering I was invited to The Grove which is hosted by Shelley Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta). That night, Louie Giglio also joined the team and the topic was anxiety and depression. While I do not have anxiety and any depression I have is situational, not clinical, it was still an on point topic for my particular week and my particular funk. There was definitely a reason I was there, a reason I said “yes” to an invitation that got me out of my comfort zone, and to which I would ordinarily have said “no”.
So, I say, take that chance, say “yes” because sometimes getting out of your comfort zone may be what your particular funk needs at that particular time.
So, here’s the deal on this post. While I am an incredibly positive person, I don’t want to come across as a hypocrit now admitting to getting in my own funks. During life, there will be times or seasons of sadness, inertia, and funk. It is a normal part of life, and actually means that you are living a life that you care about, have feelings about, and are affected by. Those are all good things. Who would want to go through life like a robot, or the tinman and not have feelings?
This is when you give yourself grace and time AND when you reach out to talk about it. Talking to friends, a counselor, a mentor, doing your own thing or trying some of these to get yourself out of your funk, in your way and in your time, is what I hope you will do. Suffering in silence, wallowing, getting deeper in a pit or letting the funk move in and take up precious room and time in your life is NOT what I want for you.