How to get out of a funk

Sometimes you just feel weird. Maybe you feel a bit disconnected from the people around you, or you’re having an “off” week. You aren’t quite depressed, but you’ve definitely felt better. It happens to the best of us. The good news is: if you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk, you’re at least aware that something’s off—and recognizing that is the first step to getting back to your best self.

So you’ve identified that something isn’t quite right, but can you figure out what it is? Take a look at your current situation. Has work been more stressful than usual? Did a friend say something that really rubbed you the wrong way? If you can pinpoint something specific, try to step back from your emotional mindset and problem-solve a bit. Maybe you can talk to your boss about redistributing some projects, or figure out how to let your friend know they upset you. If there’s something concrete that has you feeling off, chances are there’s a way to lighten that load at least a little bit.

But more often than not, when feeling a way that we can only describe as “in a funk”, we can’t figure out what is underneath that. Maybe there really isn’t anything specific causing it. That’s okay! We all go through periods of time like this, so don’t force yourself to identify a cause if nothing comes to mind—you’ll only add to your stress and discomfort. In this case, sometimes the best thing you can do is wait it out. There are a few things you can do to speed this process up and get you back on track.

  • Rest—if you need it. You may be genuinely burnt out. Or you’re someone who keeps busy to avoid truly feeling negative emotions (we’ve all been there). It may be tough to slow yourself down, but taking time to rest is so important. You need to decompress and balance your mind before you hit a wall. But needing rest isn’t the case for everyone, so:
  • Stay busy—if you need that instead. Some funks lean more towards apathy and lack of motivation. If that sounds like you, don’t let yourself slide into complete isolation. Stick to a daily schedule. (It can be as rigid or as loose as you want—even just planning meal times helps!) And build in time for activities you enjoy. It may feel easier to stay in bed and zone out while scrolling through social media, but that may just dig you deeper into your low mood.
  • Keep moving forward. It’s more effective to change your actions than it is to put things on hold until you feel better. For instance, catching up with an old friend may seem like way too much effort right now. But it may also lift your spirits! Take baby steps toward the changes you want to make.
  • Set a new goal. As humans, we all crave a sense of purpose—and we often lose that when we’re in a funk. Your new goal doesn’t have to be anything big. (Baby steps, remember?) But it should truly matter to you, so put some thought into it! Ideally it will be something you’re excited about too—setting a goal to clean your room is great, but it may feel like just another task on your list. Try something that gets you excited, like starting the book that’s been on your nightstand for months, learning a new hobby, or meditating for a few minutes a day.
  • Plan something exciting. Having something to look forward to can make the tough days a little easier. If you’re stuck in a rut, get something fun on your calendar! It can be as big as starting to plan a vacation for next year or as small as making a pact with friends to get to your favorite dinner spot together soon.

Remember: bad moods are a part of life and completely valid, even if you don’t think there’s a “reason” for it. Just being aware that you’re feeling a little off can help you from being consumed by it. Keep taking steps forward and don’t lose hope—it may take some time, but know that you will come out on the other side!

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