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July 13, 2019

How To Get Out of A Funk

A funk is not the same as a clinical depression, but sometimes, it feels like it.

I remember soon after my son was born, something was bothering me and I was all prepared to sink into a funk for a few days like I always did. But, I had this kid. I remember thinking, how can I be in a funk when I have him?

I think it was one of the hardest adjustments of early motherhood. Life couldn’t just be about me anymore. I didn’t like it. I wanted to crawl in bed and sleep, think and wallow, but my son needed my attention and I didn’t have that luxury.

Remember, this was a funk, not a clinical depression. If it was a true depression, unfortunately even my son’s needs may not have been enough for me to do what I needed to do and just take care of him. That’s a reality of depression and for those who are struggling with this, please get help.

I was actually feeling sad and sorry for myself because I couldn’t be in a funk. I don’t tend to get in those places anymore, because my kids just don’t “allow it”. I also like to think that this has been a place of growth and maturity for me as I have learned how to get myself out of that dark place.

Sometimes you may be feeling a personal funk, relational funk (ugh, those relationships) or maybe it’s a work funk. No matter what type of funk it is, none of them feel good, so let’s tackle getting out of it quickly.

1. Always check your sleep, nutrition and self-care. For me, if I’m not getting enough sleep or good nutrition, I’m going to be cranky or hangry or generally irritable and it’s a lot easier to slip into that place or create life experiences that will trigger a funk. Don’t skimp the self-care. It’s just not worth it.

2. Take the time to think about what just happened. Something triggered this feeling. Sometimes it’s something that happened, but sometimes it’s something that was said or a thought or memory.

I was meeting with my coach the other day and the critique she gave me, sent me on an “I’m not good enough” spiral. It was totally benign, but it triggered me. I had to sit with that and acknowledge what triggered this deep negative feeling that was making me feel like crap. Allow yourself some time to give into it. Don’t skip the step of feeling. If that means you need to take some time, cry, yell, scream, eat ice cream- go for it. Allow yourself to be where you are. The easiest way to get over something is to go through it. People spend a lot of time trying to skip that step. Don’t do that.

3. Acknowledge the darn emotion. Speak it. It’s okay to say, I feel sad, disappointed, angry about…. Answer your question. Don’t be afraid to face whatever the thing is. If you just can’t come up with anything- you are probably in denial and need to sit with it some more and maybe seek out a therapist that can help you get to know yourself a little better.

4. Write it out. know not everyone is a writer. This isn’t about good writing. This is about a real connection that happens with your brain when you get your feelings and emotions out in a different way. And forget sentences. Who has time for that? Just write some phrases, whatever comes to mind- I have a guy client and we are writing his life story in a couple phrases, pieces at a time. It has been amazingly cathartic because his first response was “I’m not a writer and I don’t like to write.” You may want to try starting your day off with writing. You tend to have more access to your subconscious this way. Once the day moves on, your subconscious thought process goes underground a bit, so there is definitely some benefit to writing first thing in the morning if you have the time.

5. Move your body. It’s even more effective to move and talk at the same time, especially if you have something you need to get out. The last thing you should ever ask yourself when you’re in a funk is “do I feel like it?” No, silly, of course you don’t feel like exercising. You just do it anyway.

6. Check your self talk. Nothing can bring us down faster than our own inner critic. I don’t have a psychotic disorder, but I will fight with my self critic in private. I will actually say, “Are you going to let her talk to you like that?” Because if my inner critic were someone else, I wouldn’t tolerate being spoken to in such a negative way. Be your own protector. Rush in and tell yourself she’s wrong and this is why- remind yourself of all the positive that you can think of regarding your situation.

7. Get touched. Or get some body work done. We hold our tension in our bodies. Releasing them in our tissue, helps to let go of them in our minds.

8. Get out of yourself. I can’t say that enough. Research has shown that doing charity work, giving to others, actually treats depression by reducing it in already depressed people. And it increases mood and sense of self worth in non- depressed people. So, give to others. Be kind to others. Find someone or some charity you can help. It’s the gift that gives back.

9. Finally, express Gratitude. This one is hard. I ask a lot of my clients to do this and their first answer is I can’t find anything good about this situation. But when I push them and they think longer, they begin to find good in either the situation, how they handled it, what they are learning or what positive thing it is pushing them to do.

 

So, there ya go. If you are feeling sad right now, Start taking some steps. If not, maybe save this episode for the future. Nobody likes being in a funk. But it also won’t last. You’ve got this!!

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