Does this sound familiar? That feeling of uuuggh that you can’t quite put into words because only audible, gutteral sounds give it justice. Lately, I have found that I’m not alone in feeling stuck in a funk. Of course the ongoing effects of a global pandemic doesn't help, but I can't really complain about much in comparison to others who have been more negatively impacted by COVID-19. Many of my clients have expressed similar feelings, so what can we do about this collective malaise during the aftermath of 2020?
I think part of the funk correlates with this time of year. The time of year after the excitement of the holidays have faded but before nature wakes up for spring. Maybe it’s the long, cold winter days that keep us indoors more than we’d like. Sure, hibernation has its benefits, but after a while, I need to feel sunshine on my face and warmth in my bones. And I desperately want to bust out my flip-flops again!
Maybe being constantly reminded about the current state of world affairs is wearing us down. Maybe it’s the stress of tax season and all the emotional and mental energy expended from trying to financially recover after the holidays. Perhaps it’s the news and social media constantly bombarding us with pandemic woes we all would soon rather forget. Unless you are completely unplugged and don’t have a smartphone, computer, or TV, it’s hard to escape. Technology is great for instant gratification (thank you Amazon!) but not always great for our psyche.
In addition, our energy and emotions are constantly influenced by the people and events around us. Sometimes, the funk we feel doesn’t even belong to us. Sometimes, we end up carrying around someone else’s negative energy. Think about it…we are energetic beings with auric fields that extend for several feet around and beyond our physical bodies. This means that we are constantly crossing energy fields with every person we come in contact with, even if they are standing six feet away. Imagine your average day. How many people’s energy fields does yours intermingle with? Just the image alone puts a new perspective on the space we inhabit and share with others. Fortunately, there are simple ways to shake off unwanted energy before it gets out of control. Here are five of my favorite ways to get out of a funk:
Phone a Friend When I say phone, I mean call not text. I realize talking on the phone is rare these days, but healthy conversation with a good friend can immediately elevate your mood. Talking to a trusted friend is extremely therapeutic because by verbalizing your feelings you can begin to clear away the negative energy. Plus, you have the added benefit of another person’s point of view to help you shift your own perspective.
Dance and Sing Blast your favorite song and dance like you don't have a care in the world. Choose a song that makes you smile...that reminds you of a happy memory. You know, the kind of song where you can’t help but move your body and sing every word out loud. I realize I’m dating myself a bit, but I highly recommend Celebration by Kool & The Gang.
Go Outside When it’s cold outside, most of us tend to snuggle up indoors. Put on your coat and spend a few minutes outside every day. Even if it’s only a couple minutes, the fresh air will do wonders for your physical and mental state. Take a walk, hug a tree, listen to the birds, pick flowers, ride a bike, sit on your porch, or simply stand outside and focus on your breathing. Much like plants, our bodies need fresh air and sunlight. It’s no accident that we have a symbiotic relationship with trees. What better way to clear away mental funk then to go directly to the source!
Affirmations This is so much easier than people realize. You don’t have to be a poet or a writer to come up with powerful affirmations. Sure, you can search up affirmations that resonate with you or use an affirmation app, but I find that creating your own affirmations is more empowering. Simply decide what you want or how you want to feel and say it aloud as though it’s already true. If you are feeling down and tired say, “I AM happy and full of energy.”
For more complicated situations, change the narrative. For example, if the source of your funk is because you hate your job, but you're not able to quit, then shift your perspective. Imagine how your mood will change if instead of constantly saying, "I hate my job," you said, “my current job is a temporary path to get me to _________ (fill in the blank with whatever your heart desires).” Now you are focusing your energy on where you want to be, not where you are.
These concepts can be applied to any feeling or scenario. Say your affirmations every morning and write them on post-it notes in places you will see throughout the day. Change your affirmations as needed. Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it, but the more we say our affirmations, the more we believe them, and eventually they can become truth. Everything starts with a thought, and saying them aloud can manifest them into reality. So, ask yourself, which of your thoughts do you want to become your reality?
Treat Yourself Carve out time every day to do something that you enjoy, even if for only five minutes. It doesn’t have to be an expensive activity, just something simple that makes you happy. If you like art, then color a page in an adult coloring book, or better yet, spend time creating art from scratch in whatever medium you prefer. Take a bath with Epsom salt and essential oils. Read a book for pleasure instead of reading material required for work or school. Cook your favorite meal or dessert. Meditate. Journal. Listen to music or make your own. Whatever you do to treat yourself, be sure that the treat is meant for you and not for someone else. Of course, doing things for others feels good, but that’s not the same as treating yourself. You can carve out time for both!
It’s normal to fall into a funk from time to time. The important thing is to not live there too long. You always have a choice in how you respond, and when you take action to revitalize your energy, clarity responds in kind. Whether we intend to or not, we are all affecting the world and each other all the time. This deep interconnection with one another is why our state of mind matters. So, remember, even if you can’t pinpoint the origin of your funk, there are always paths to navigate your way out.