Two weeks ago, I was in a right old funk. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees, and I could see myself spiralling downwards emotionally. I had just come back off my summer holidays and I guess I had a bit of the holiday blues. I also had a big event coming up where I had to get myself into a super organised space and be a top of everything. I didn’t feel like getting myself into that space. I just wanted to stay in my holiday mode and not confront reality and my resistance was adding to the downward spiral. When my PA, sensing my apathy, dared to mention that the event was only two weeks away, I just glared at her. I wanted to be left the hell alone to wallow. Ever felt like that?
Sadness is not all bad
We all get into a funk every now and then and this is completely normal. Unfortunately, we now live in a society where we have to wear our happiness as a badge of honour so we daren’t show it when we are feeling sub-optimal. This is such a great shame because life is full of ups and downs and there should be no shame in feeling a bit down. As Carl Jung stated:
‘Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness’
Sadness also, believe it or not, serves a function. Research by Professor Joseph Borgas shows that sadness can improve memory, reduce judgmental errors, improve motivation, and result in more effective interpersonal strategies.
It is not all bad news when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and think that your dogs are plotting a coup against you.
3 Tips to get you out of your funk
1. Acknowledge that you are in a funk
There is no point pretending everything is fine when it isn’t. You are not fooling anyone so you might as well come clean. By acknowledging it, you give the yourself the space to deal with it. Sometimes just acknowledging it is enough to start moving you out of that space.
By acknowledging it, there is a also a nod to your self-esteem and self-validation. You honour yourself enough to acknowledge that everything is not alright but you have the courage to know that you will come out of it. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want to do like cry or punch a pillow or whatever works for you.
Yes move. Get yourself out of the house and go for a walk, jog or run. Do yoga. Go for swim do whatever form of exercise tickles your fancy. If you are in a funk because you are feeling frustrated, try kick-boxing. It doesn’t matter what you do but you have to move to release endorphins which will change your mood. I once heard the expression ‘you never see a depressed person going for run’! Think about it, when you are feeling low, you just want to contract and curl into a ball. Exercise cuts through stress and anxiety like no other. It is like it opens a windows in your brain and lets in fresh air. There are now tonnes of science backing the link between exercise and mental wellbeing. Don’t get hung up on how you move just do something that you love and preferably makes you sweat.
3. Do something Spiritual
A lot of people balk at this because they think they have to go and burn frankincense and myrrh or start chanting. Writing in your journal can be a spiritual experience and so is going for walk in nature.
Praying and meditating we all accept is spiritual but when I am in a funk, meditating is the last thing I want to do. I just want to sit and whinge exactly when I need to step up my meditation practice. My husband swears mowing the lawn is akin to meditation for him as he feels at one with nature. Whatever that spiritual thing is for you, dial it up when you in a funk.
The point about doing something spiritual is, you are in funk because you are caught in a loop in your head. You need to take the focus off yourself onto something bigger than yourself to give you a different perspective.
I do this thing where, when I am feeling low, I look around to see who I can help. I start sending texts to people letting them know I am thinking about them. It takes the focus off me and my little ‘woe is me’ world.
So now two weeks down the line, I managed to get myself out of my funk and face my reality head on. I delivered my event successfully and I am now walking around feeling almost invincible. It is hard to believe that only two weeks ago I had my head in my hands!
Whatever it is, always remember that ‘this too shall pass’.