Every now and then, I get in a funk. It’s not quite a depression, but it’s a place where my motivation is lacking, my thoughts spiral down into old could’ves and should’ves, and I have some trouble focusing on what’s going right in my life. Generally, I’m an optimist, but we all have our moments of sadness and regret. I’ve been there recently which is why I haven’t been publishing on this blog. My mom used to tell me, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I suppose I took that to heart and haven’t wanted to rain on anyone’s summer. I have been writing, just not publishing, and I think I’m at the tail-end of the funk, and I thought a good way to get something back up on this blog would be to share a few things that helped me not spiral down into a full-on depression.
1. Literally, count your blessings. Every day, I either write down five things I’m grateful for, or I mentally check them off. I have a gratitude journal that saw some pretty heavy usage during my divorce, and I have used it consistently throughout the past six years. I know we hear that we should do this all time, and I think we’ve heard it so much that we maybe ignore it now. But it really does help get your headspace right. Sometimes, I’m simply thankful for another day on the planet. Sometimes, something extraordinary has occurred like when I fell in love again. Focusing my mind on the goodness in my life has been a safety raft through many stormy times.
2. Get outside. Fresh air, sunshine, and even some rain on your face can really be a funk-buster. I personally love to be anywhere near the water. It feels like home to me, and it restores me. Any time the sun shines here in the Pacific Northwest, I at least sit out on my deck and watch the hummingbirds come to the feeder while the dog lies in the sun at my feet. We often eat dinner out there at this time of year maybe having grilled something delicious out there as well. Nature is a healer.
3. Move your body. My wonderful partner and I love to cook – and eat! About a month ago, I realized the heaviness I was feeling inside was manifesting itself on my outside. I have tweaked my diet a bit, but the movement piece is key for me both mentally and physically. I know from past experience that I feel better when I’m moving my body on a regular basis. And this truly only needs to be 30-60 minutes a day. I can take a walk, do some yoga, ride the stationary bike a friend just gave us, or run on my treadmill. Movement gets the energy in the body going and makes it possible to shake off some funk.
4. Find and USE a spiritual practice. Pray, meditate, play with your tarot, go outside and howl at the moon. Whatever fills your spirit with joy, do that! You’ll know you’ve found your thing when you find peace in your soul from doing it. I’ve written about using sage and incense in my home. I have always loved candles and ambient lighting (Alycia, I know you’re laughing about that up there!), and I have recently incorporated the use of essential oils into my life. Why? Because it feels calming and peaceful to me. Find your spiritual thing and use it.
5. Surround yourself with those who lift you up. It’s really easy to get caught up in toxicity. Try to ignore it. Hang out with those who are on a path of growth and healing. Follow social media accounts that inspire you. Read books that fill you up and bring you joy. Cultivate relationships that bring out the best in you. And in return, try to be someone who lifts and inspires. It’s good for all of us.
6. Finally, know the funk will pass. Funks come and go, y’all. Nothing in this life – including this life – is permanent. If you need to shut your bedroom door and cry for three days to feel better, go ahead and do it. If you need to call your mom, or a friend, or a therapist to get past it, do that. We all need help sometimes, and there is no shame in that. At my lowest point, I wanted to die, and I leaned on ALL THE THINGS. I had to because I was hanging on for dear life. I’m grateful for those people and books and websites and therapists and meetings because they helped me get through it.
Funks suck. They drag us down and sometimes bring out the worst in us. I just remind myself of these things when I’m in one, and usually, that helps. Funk-busting ain’t easy, but we all need it every now and then.
May the Funk-Be-Gone be with you.