When you feel low or in a funk, it’s not any fun.
You want to feel more like your normal self, but you just can’t seem to shake the low or blah feeling.
I’m not sure what your funk looks like, but for me, it usually means feeling low in energy and motivation, and often I generally feel bad about myself in some way. I don’t necessarily know what I feel bad about either. Not helpful, right?
When I’m feeling blah, I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t feel like smiling, and overall, I just feel like a slug.
In the past, I’d often get angry at myself when I was feeling low, wondering why I just couldn’t shake the crappy feelings and go back to being me, the way I normally felt.
I wanted to feel only the highs of my life, and not the lows.
Somewhere along the way, I must have decided it wasn’t ok to have blah feelings. Somewhere along my journey, I thought I should be feeling happy, energetic and motivated all the time (that would be exhausting, right?).
Part of this subconscious operating system comes from our childhood when we were told what to do and even how to feel sometimes. Don’t cry. Don’t be angry.
I think many of us learned that our feelings weren’t ok. If our emotions were bad, then maybe we were bad for having those feelings. Must be better not to have those feelings then, right?
Even though there’s nothing wrong with having negative feelings, most of us don’t learn to feel our feelings or to just be with our feelings. We aren’t comfortable with them.
Honestly, it wasn’t until the last few years (I’m 56!) that I finally realized that life has natural ups and downs and that there’s nothing wrong with me when I’m feeling down, and that it’s ok to feel blah.
Discovering it’s ok to feel crappy has actually helped me to feel less crappy.
If I feel low, I can now accept my feelings for what they are. On the other hand, I don’t want those feelings going on for days, if they turn into a real funk. Then I want to move past those feelings, so I can get unstuck.
Over time, I’ve been fortunate to experience fewer of these low periods, and when I do have them, they don’t last for as long, and I’m able to bounce back quicker.
Although I might fall into a funk now and then, I’ve learned that by following a few steps, I’m able to feel better sooner. Next time you’re feeling blah, give them a try.
STEP 1: Heart-to-heart The first thing to do when you notice you’re in a funk is to put on your life coach hat by having a conversation with yourself. While you’re doing this, pull out your therapy hat and pay attention to your feelings too.
Ask yourself some or all of the following questions:
- What’s going on?
- Is something on my mind that’s bothering me?
- What am I really feeling, deep down?
- What is my body and my behavior telling me I’m feeling?
- Where did these feelings come from?
- Is this just a temporary feeling, or is it something else?
- Can I move past this, or is there something deeper going on?
Try to identify what you’re feeling and why. If you can’t put your finger on the issue, don’t worry about it. Either way, move on to the next step.
STEP 2: Accept your Feelings or Do Something Once you’ve got a better idea of what’s going on, make a decision about what feels like the best response for you. Accept your feelings or do something to try and move past them.
Accept your Feelings: You can choose to accept the feelings you’re having and avoid pushing yourself to get past them. By staying in the present and giving yourself permission to feel your emotions, you’re being kind to yourself. You can sit with your feelings and not judge them.
You can say, “I’m in a bit of a funk right now, and that’s ok.”
Doing this will help you feel more relaxed and remind you that it’s ok to feel down sometimes. Something else that can help you accept your emotions is to remember that the low feelings won’t last forever. You might have to just ride them out.
Do Something: If you just can’t seem to be present and accept your emotions, or you realize you need to explore your feelings a bit more or just shake them off, then your next step is to do something to move past those emotions.
Here are a few things to do when you need a boost to move beyond your funk.
- Support: Reach out to someone for support. I’ll often talk with my husband because he’s a good listener and often has a perspective or insight to share. Talking about whatever’s going on in your head can give you clarity on what you’re feeling or why you’re feeling that way.
Reach out to someone you can count on for support. If you can’t think of anyone, try finding a facebook group or other online chat space to connect with people.
- Journaling (written or audio): It can be very therapeutic to journal out your thoughts. You can write out your feelings on paper or on a device, or you can try making an audio recording. I journal out my thoughts either on a Google doc or in a voice memo on my phone. 90% of the time when I do this, I make a discovery or have an aha moment that leads me to see things in a new way and feel better soon. Give it a try if you haven’t done this before.
- Breathing/Meditating: Take 10 minutes or more and lie down or sit in a relaxing position. Use Youtube or an app like Calm, and find a guided meditation that fits your needs. Topics like motivation, encouragement and getting out of a funk are out there to help you.
- Move! Move your body. If you can get outside for some fresh air at the same time, even better! Go for a walk or a run. Too cold, or you just can’t get yourself out the door? No problem. Move your body in your home. Walk on the spot. Walk up and down your stairs. Do some yoga. Dance your ass off to some loud tunes you love. Find a Youtube video with some exercises to get moving. When you get your blood flowing, you will feel better.
These suggestions are only a few of many things you can do to get you moving past a funk. I focus on them because they have worked for me many times, especially reaching out for support and journaling.
A few more things that can give you a “pick-me-up”:
- Have a hot shower.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Do an activity you enjoy (drawing, painting, baking, knitting, etc.).
- Watch funny videos or memes online
- Have a nap.
- Have a good cry.
Remember that it’s ok to feel blue, but you don’t want that low feeling to go on for too long. Gauge your feelings and decide if you need to sit with them, ride them out or do something to move past them.
If it seems like you’re living with a constant, underlying stress, then I encourage you to take a closer look. Consider taking a deeper dive into finding out your precise stressors and how you can greatly control them in A Road to Calm: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Discover your True Stressors and Shift to Calm.
I wish I had taken a closer look much sooner in my life. I’m certain that the years of stress I tolerated contributed to my breast cancer diagnosis in 2020.
Wherever you are at with feeling low, remember that your funk won’t last forever.
Live your true life,
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