I've been in a funk.
No real reason, no crisis, no specific event that caused it. Just a general funk. I think most of these funks actually have no specific cause but it doesn't mean we don't waste precious hours trying to figure one out, right?
("What does it mean that I feel like this? Should I be making some drastic life changes? Am I upsetting the universe? Did I do something horribly wrong?")
You might be familiar with this kind of utterly useless but nevertheless loud inner dialogue. I wallowed in it for a few days.
And then I decided to get out of the funk.
Yep, I actually pretty much literally said this to myself.
And then I did some things that I wanted to share with you because they worked. I feel better. No, life is not suddenly full of pink unicorns and cotton candy clouds, but I felt better. More alive, less in a funk, back to some pep in my step.
Here they are, my 5 Small Steps To Help You Get Out of a Funk:
1. Acknowledge that you're in a funk. Researchers have found that when we're feeling any kind of negative emotion we can make it less severe by acknowledging it and labeling it. So give yourself permission to be in a funk and acknowledge you're in one and feeling (fill in the blank of how you're feeling).
2. Do something that you know makes you feel really good. Yes, a week in Hawaii would make most of us feel great, but let's get a little more realistic. I'm talking about something simple and doable. For me this means a yoga class with one of my favorite teachers, a walk somewhere really pretty with my family (with many, many snacks along the way), or watching a fun movie with my husband on a Sunday night instead of catching up on work.
3. See or talk to someone who makes you feel awesome. Some of us have a tendency to retreat and isolate ourselves when we feel down. I used to do this, believing that I want to just power through it. But it's not the right move. When we connect with another human, we automatically shift some attention off ourselves, and we feel less alone. I got lucky that one of my dearest friends was in town in the middle of my funk and we got a chance to hang out for a few hours.
4. Do something new. To shift how you feel you have to shift some energy around you. And one of the easiest ways to do this is by doing something new for you. It feels good to learn something new and it helps your brain shift into that activity rather than ruminating on your funk. Read a new book, go to a museum or simply to a part of town you don't often visit, paint, draw, cook something you've not made before, check out a workshop or an online class in something you're curious about... the list is endless. The only requirement is that you're doing something you don't usually do.
5. Get moving, preferably with music. Research shows that just 5 minutes of walking and fresh air can improve your outlook. I walk every day and I can attest to this, especially on rare days when I don't get a walk in -- I'm pretty much a nightmare. When you're feeling off or down, a brisk walk outside, with some music that energizes you, can do wonders. Try to commit to doing it every day until you feel better (and then you'll probably commit to doing it for way longer.). If you'd like some music ideas, check out my Awesomeness Sampler playlist on Spotify.