Every task seems like a chore. You’re getting half done in twice as much time as usual. You’re not getting excited about much. Every little imperfection around you gets under your skin. Welcome to the annoying and confusing state known as a funk. Basically, getting out of a funk can feel like crawling out of a hole when your arms and legs aren’t working. But many people find that a few very simple fixes help them up.
The first thing to do when you’re in a funk is to make sure you’re practicing basic self-care, life coach Desiree Wiercyski tells Bustle. Ask yourself when you last ate, what you’ve been eating, what you’ve been drinking, and how you’ve been sleeping. “Not eating makes you tired, gives you less energy to do things, and ultimately triggers negative thinking and emotions,” she says. “Certain foods, such as those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna, help facilitate the production of serotonin, which helps improve a low mood. Running on coffee may be doing more harm than good. Caffeine reduces serotonin production and increases your central nervous system activity, which really just paves the way for anxiety. Getting too much or too little sleep can definitely negatively affect your mood.”
Keeping this in mind should help you avoid funks in the long-term, but in the short-term, here are some ways to get yourself back on track.
Given all the endorphins exercise releases, it’s one of the simplest fixes to a bad mood. And there’s an added bonus: “What a lot of people don’t know is that light exercise like walking or stretching has been shown to support creativity, which helps in developing a new perspective on whatever it is that’s got you down,” says Wiercyski.
2Make A Gratitude List
“When you’re in a funk, your brain is exaggerating the bad, and it’s your job to challenge those thoughts and amplify the good in your life,” says Wiercyski. One easy way to do that is to write down what you’re grateful for, or even just make a mental note of it.
3Try New Things
Putting your brain in an unfamiliar situation can provide a “reset,” says Wiercyski. Try visiting a website you don’t normally read, taking a different route to work, or eating something new to shake things up.
4Set Small Goals
Ask yourself what would make your day a good day, and try to accomplish modest goals, like going to the gym after work or texting two friends, says clinical psychologist Stephanie Kriesberg, PsyD. Just knowing you’ve accomplished these small things can leave you ready to take on even more.
5Remind Yourself How Far You’ve Come
When you’re in a funk, it can feel like nothing’s worthwhile because you’re not making any progress toward your goals, says Kriesberg. But once you remember how much progress you’ve already made, things will start to feel less bleak.
6Plan Something Fun
If you know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, your funk will feel more tolerable. “It could be as simple as a local wine festival, a lunch with a friend, or more importantly, a weekend away,” Deborah Duley, MSW, psychotherapist and founder of Empowered Connections, tells Bustle. “Doing new things, including experiencing new scenery, can be very effective in shifting our thought patterns, especially the ones that are causing us to feel in a funk and/or sad.”
"Many studies have found that being surrounded by nature improves kindness and makes you happier," says Rosebelle. Even just a brief walk around the block in the sun can brighten up your day — literally.
And remember, funks are temporary. Even if you can’t get out of it now, you eventually will.