Do you ever just have one of those days? You know, the ones where you can’t seem to get out of your funk. I say funk because I can think of no other word that encapsulates the feelings of apathy, frustration, anger, boredom, sadn ess, distraction, impatience, woe. Well there are more I am sure, but I am not here to be a Thesaurus. What I am here to be is real.
So I decided that I would post when in a funk. Risky you might say. Some would say this will come back to bite me. Others may say don’t share your funk with me, it might be catching. You are right. On one level if I focus too much on my funk then I stay in it. On another level if I hang with you and let this foul smelling energy waft your way you will eventually feel it to. It is not my wish to stay in nor to share it.
A: feel OK when you happen to fall into one yourself, and
B: are around a person you care about who also is in one.
The top ten signs that you are in a first rate funk…
- Just earlier you were feeling fine, upbeat and chirpy.
- People would describe you as ‘not your normal self’, whatever that may be.
- Suddenly small things become big things.
- Other people’s idiosyncrasies set you off.
- Your emotions are on a wild ride.
- Social engagement interest rapidly drops down the scale-you don’t even tweet.
- Sleeping or curling up in a chair are your top fun things to do.
- Ice cream and tv cheer you up.
- Everything you do is an effort.
- You know your self so well you just know you are in a funk.
How to get yourself back and out of your funk
Here are a few ideas. These ideas are from my integration and amalgamation of experience, learning, formal studies, reading, stories and experimentation. These ideas are not necessarily sequential steps nor equal in duration. What I mean is that I reserve the right to say the suggestions below work for me, so they may be worth a go. If you want more official and serious references to techniques that are grounded in research or mentioned in someone's book, then send me an email and I will gladly connect you to some great resources. So consider the following and see what works for you.
Foster self awareness
For me change starts with self-awareness. We can’t go from a place we don’t want to be to one we want to be without being fully aware of where we are at right now. In terms of funks, it is far better for you to know when you are in a funk and then self manage than it is for others to point out the obvious downward shift in your mood. So start by checking in, paying attention to you and your own behavior. If that does not work than go ahead and ask someone you trust who is honest.
OK, so you know you’re in a funk. To try and force your self out of it or deny it only goes against the natural flow of your emotions. Much like a tug o war, if you resist the experience you likely will make it worse or stay in it longer. So diffuse the tension just a little by actually acknowledging to YOUR SELF that you are in a funk. This also means not judging yourself in any sort of negative manner for this state. Instead you are in effect following a mantra of sorts such as “I acknowledge and allow my self to fully experience my current emotional state.” Ok, this may be a long one, so try your own.
Embrace the state
Much like you would sit with a friend who is not feeling well, choose consciously to be with your funk holding a nurturing and supportive mindset. This means just sitting and noticing what is happening within you. Notice how you feel, what changes, what thoughts, feelings and bodily experiences come to your awareness.
Engage and explore
Here you are simply choosing to interact with the funk. Almost imagine that the funk has an identity itself. Wonder why it’s here, what it needs, when it was visiting with you last time, any patterns. Not overly analytical, more curiosity and wonder.
Appreciate what this funk may need to teach you about a situation, the way you are currently living your life, your reaction to an experience, etc.
Don’t just stay in your head. Get into the body experience. Notice your emotional state. Even check in with your sense of meaning and purpose and whether you are on track or not. The funk may have many layers to it.
A good dose of rest or even sleep may be the equalizer. Sleeping on it and addressing your funk in the morning gives both you and the funk time to balance out. In a balanced state your state may seem more manageable and less extreme.
Often being in a funk precludes us from treating ourselves with kindness. In such a state it is even more important to apply a generous dose of self care. In particular, take time out. Take time out in a way that is supportive to you. For some this may mean some quiet time alone. Others may need a good conversation over coffee with a friend.
Pampering is not just reserved for girls going off to get their nails done. No in this case sometimes we need to treat ourselves to something special and out of the ordinary. The effect may be to shift our state from lack to have. In the have state we can then focus more on feeling good about ourselves.
Shake things up
It also may be helpful to get some motion happening. By shaking I mean doing something with your body that creates movement. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a mad cyclist. Simply heading out for a walk at any pace will get things moving. You may also like the idea of throwing on some music, listening and even dancing. Just try to move.
Be in your passion
We all have hobbies, interests and passions. Sometimes a funk can be a sign that we are not spending enough time with what makes our heart sing. So get the paintbrushes and canvas out, or go out with your camera and play tourist, cook a new gourmet dish. Just be in the experience of what brings you joy in the moment.
The steps above can be applied more than once. In fact checking in with your state and gaining more awareness is useful any time.
On a more serious note
Sometimes despite all the above a funk doesn’t go away. In fact it grabs a hold of us and develops into a full blown depression. Depression is one of those topics that is often unspoken but so prevalent and real for many. Depression visited me as it has a few others I know. I even wrote “I choose life, I choose to live” in January 2009 with reference to a previous low patch.
Seek out and ask for professional support and advice.
A good place to go for help in Australia is a colleagues resourceful website www.iambackfromthebrink.com.au It has a wealth of references to resources available. Though an Australian site, there is a page with international references.
The silver lining is you
From reading this post I hope that you remember your humanity. We all experience the full range of emotions. These emotional experiences will vary from person to person and vary in their triggers. The person who is best positioned to look after you is you. You are the one who truly knows when you are not right. You are therefore the one who can get things on track, whether on your own or with a little help from others.
You also are the support when asked or needed for others who just like you have funky days.
So go on and be in your funk when you need to be, just don't stay there.
Let's go there...