For those of us who suffer with a mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety, we are all too familiar with the funk.
However, you do not even need a mental disorder, just a beating heart, to have experienced the funk.
The best way I can describe it is a period of time, whether it be for a few moments or many months, where you feel unbalanced, unmotivated, hopeless, restless, overwhelmed, fuzzy, the list could go on and on.
Perhaps the worst characteristic of the funk is that it shows up unexpectedly and without notice. Like an uninvited guest showing up at your door right after you get out of the shower, you are unprepared for it.
It hits you like a bag of bricks and you are left asking where it came from? And even more puzzling is why it showed up?
I was hit with a funk a little over a week ago. Thankfully, it only lasted for about a week (though it was a very long week I might add).
In retrospect, there were events and situations in my life that had potential to throw me into this funk. Unfortunately, I was able to spot them only after the funk had made its exit. My revelation was about seven days too late.
It was not a terribly dramatic event that threw me into a funk but rather a few subtle life changes that I perhaps was not prepared to deal with.
As a result, I was sleeping horribly, mentally exhausted, had trouble focusing, and basically felt my mind was wrapped in a cloud.
I needed clarity.
This was my first mistake. I was constantly thinking, “I need to get out of this funk. The cloud needs to disappear. I need to focus so I can be productive. I simply do not have time for this.”
While in a funk-state of mind, I think these are similar to thoughts many of us have. As humans, we do not like to feel bad. So we tell ourselves to knock it off and get into a positive mind set.
Oh, if only the mind were that easily trained.
We think that finding clarity should be simple so we demand it be that way. Then, when we find ourselves struggling to find peace, we get frustrated and overwhelmed. Now we have exhausted even more energy from our already exhausted body and mind.
So what should we do when we find ourselves in the funk? We simply cannot just sit there and wait for it to pass. Who has the time for that? And who would want to?!
Doing nothing is not the solution but neither is actively seeking out a way to make the problem disappear.
Trying to think your way out of the funk is almost as unproductive as sitting there waiting for it to get out of your way.
What my weeklong funk taught me is that sometimes there are forces that take over that we simply cannot control.
Personally, I deal with anxiety and have for some time. As much as I wish I had the control to simply make the anxiety stop altogether, I have learned that is a super power I do not possess.
Instead of spending time controlling my anxious thoughts, I have found activities that bring me joy, calm, and help to quiet some of my anxious tendencies.
Telling myself, “Don’t be anxious, don’t be anxious!” makes me a heck of a lot more anxious.
So why then do I think that demanding myself out of a funk will work?
Feeling sad and overwhelmed and all the emotions that come along with a funk is a truly unpleasant experience. But do not make it worse for yourself.
Next time you find yourself in a funk, do not fight it. Remind yourself that it is simply a series of emotions that you do not need to chase away immediately.
Keep in mind that attempts to fight the thoughts, will only perpetuate them.
So what should you do?
I found there were little things I could do that brought some relief. I took a walk to buy some fresh flowers. I cooked myself a good meal. I ordered a new drink at Starbucks.
By no means are these profound solutions. But who says it has to be? Perhaps an accumulation of small steps will lead you out of the funk.
For me, finally getting a good night’s sleep and a hot shower helped me to see through the fog a little better.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever you choose to do, whether it be getting out of bed long enough to buy a coffee or take a shower, I guarantee it will make you feel better than just lying there demanding yourself to be better.
These small acts can seem so strenuous when you are feeling so low but I promise it will be worth the effort.
Do not fight the funk but rather find the little things that will make you feel better while you are in it. More often than not, these ‘little things’ will not only make you feel better but will also shorten the duration of the funk.