Recently I have been coaching people on how to lift those grey-skied blues. Here’s some go-to advice for shifting those heavy and funky feelings to brightness and lightness.
10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funk and Fast!
1. Check out your biological balance. Take an inventory:
• Are you going to bed at a decent hour? How is your sleep?
• Are you eating well and keeping your blood sugars stable?
• Could you be Vitamin D deficient or are your Vitamin B stores low? • Are you stressing your liver with too much alcohol and processed foods?
• Are you dieting or not eating enough calories?
• Our bodies work hard to keep a chemical equilibrium at all times– but sometimes we need to consciously work on helping with that process.
A chemical imbalance can (and will) absolutely affect our moods. So good sleep, nutrition and self care are not a panacea– they are critical in helping us regain emotional balance. If you are struggling with sleep, it’s really important to address it. Be mindful of what works for you and which foods make you feel worse, then respect that knowledge by doing your best to nourish yourself well.
2. Do time with the issues. As much as we would like to be able to simply transcend our worst mental and emotional struggles, we need to acknowledge them and take a look. Ignoring them is completely useless– our issues will continue to grow and upset us until they have our full attention. Acknowledging negative emotions is not the same as indulging them. Our feelings are there to help us understand and explore the situation better. Don’t let them run you over; allow them to guide you. It is helpful to write them down. Start with a feeling: “I feel disappointed” and then go further– “I feel disappointed about….” Go deeper again. Whatever the feeling, it is completely worth the time and energy to spend a little longer defining it more specifically. Remember that specifics are more manageable than vague feelings. Do not be afraid to identify whatever it is that you are angry, sad, scared, or frustrated about. These feelings are valid and need to be acknowledged before they can then be released. If you are struggling to identify your feelings, consider talking with a friend, spiritualist or life coach to help bring some clarity to what you are experiencing. If you discover that you have a lot of fear that is creating your funk, it’s time to release them for they then can become a source of what is to follow and we don’t want to create fear based realities.
3. Write about it. Journaling is not just for sentimental types! Writing down your thoughts can be extremely helpful in crystallizing your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t matter at all what you write about– just put down whatever comes to your mind. This has an incredibly clarifying and freeing effect. At the beginning of the day, you get to notice and release all of the things that are clouding your mind as you begin. This process is very helpful for me whenever I feel stuck creatively or overwhelmed with my work or any other kind of funk.
4. Create something. Using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring understanding to the parts of your life that you cannot logically comprehend. Likewise, there are things that you cannot express through words– so use your creative side, engage your senses, or move your body through dance as a way of expressing yourself. This could also come in the form of learning a new skill– which helps get us out of our heads and more into our bodies. I like to express myself through my pottery class and of course, writing songs and acting.
5. Channel your energy in a positive way. When I am feeling upset about something, my house usually looks cleaner than usual. Frustration really gets me cleaning, as does trying to problem-solve. If you are feeling stuck, consider your surroundings– are things piling up around you? What is your living space doing for your mood? Clearing out clutter and improving your environment can really help you shift your own energy, and focusing on a task like this can also give you space to think and work some things out. The other resource is for letting go of clothes you no longer wear. One thing that keeps me from clearing clothes out is the knowledge that these garments are worth something, and it makes it hard for me to just get rid of them but once I do I feel lighter and freer and that is worth something in itself!
6. Get Bodywork. Have you ever heard the saying, “We carry our issues in our tissues?” It’s true. Getting massage or energy work, or acupuncture from a talented practitioner can be extremely helpful as you navigate life changes and difficult situations. Releasing tensions in your body helps in also letting go of tensions and anxieties in your mind. I have witnessed powerful personal transformations as a result of effective bodywork treatments. I particularly recommend Cranio Sacral Therapy and my personal favorite is my body miracle worker – John Godfrey. If you are interested in his services, email me! A hot bath with Epsom salts is also a powerful way to relieve muscle tension, stress and helps detoxify the body. The salts are an incredibly inexpensive way to go. Meditation is an excellent mind-body exercise to help you release stress and restore internal balance as well as creative visualization, which is incredibly powerful and works in just a few minutes!
7. Give in to it, for a time. Make an appointment with yourself to be in your funk, and to explore those feelings. In the past, making a mixed tape (or CD) of songs that I felt embodied my emotional feelings, helped me. I listened to that music, and felt those feelings until they eased. This is the opposite of the advice most of us get. “If you’re feeling sad, put on some peppy music! Dance it out!” Although that can work sometimes, but I feel this approach is more of a band-aid than a healing process for what you resist persists. My go-to is often to clear my schedule, ask for the space I need from my family, buy myself some flowers, and take a hot bath. There may be weeping, there may be a sad movie; there may be some chocolate cake involved. Whatever feels right to you for nurturing yourself and allowing yourself to be where you’re at is what you need. Giving yourself space for self-reflection and expression is the way to move it out of your space. It’s a case of unexpressed emotions that hasn’t been given its own time to be expressed that lingers and doesn’t shift until you allow it to come out.
8. Give to others - be with others. In this era we are in, isolation can prevail. We’ve given so much time to the electronic age we have forgotten how to connect to one another. Connect with friends again in person or participate in a class or group activity. Even getting out where there are other people can help lift spirits. Kindness can also heal, and gratitude does, too. When you begin to feel sorry for yourself, make a point of doing something kind for someone else. Reach out and thank someone for the joy or nourishment they have brought into your life. This will take your mind off of your own issues and open the world up to you just a bit. And guess what? Kindness and good deeds are proven mood-lifters! Even making a donation to a good cause helps. So it’s totally worth making a point of doing it daily
9. Go outside and move your body. Taking a walk in nature is helpful in many ways. Invite a friend to walk with you if you want, and then you get three-for-one therapy: community, exercise, and talk therapy. I like to walk alone and think– it can be very clarifying. For me, there is no bad mood that can’t be dispelled by a walk in nature. Sometimes when I get there I am very skeptical about whether or not it will work, because I’m feeling so bad. But it always does,every time! Exercising increases the oxygen available to your brain, and helps you to solve problems. So when you feel stuck or overwhelmed, take some time to see something beautiful, breathe deeply and move your body outside.
10. Play! Playing or having fun may feel like the last thing you want to do. But it can be so helpful. Laughter is an incredible stress reliever, and going out and doing something frivolous or silly helps put life back into perspective. This is also a great way to bring your family into your life when you have been brooding. Watch funny movies, look for good stand-up comics, play silly games with your kids. Do cartwheels if you know how– being upside down once in a while is good for you, too! Whatever it is that makes you smile, laugh, or forget about all the things that are on your mind– do more of that, and make it a priority.
Know that the times of sadness, inertia and “funk” are a really normal part of life. There is nothing wrong with you, and it’s important to have times of reflection to process big and small changes in life. Give yourself plenty of grace, and reach out and ask for help when you need it and always know, I am always here for you!