Have you ever been in a funk? I’m sure you have—we’ve all had that feeling of tiredness, lack of motivation, and just feeling blah. You’re not sad exactly, but you’re not filled with joy. Hope and thankfulness seem beyond your reach and there’s an undefinable sensation of life passing you by.
You’re just not feeling it, because you’re not feeling much at all. If you don’t do anything about this gray-day feeling, it may go away on its own or there’s the chance that it may linger and get worse. The last thing you want is for this dull day to turn into a bad day.
When you’re in a funk, it’s as if you’re in emotional suspended-animation—the things that would normally make you feel happy or excited, just don’t. Getting up seems like a chore and putting yourself out there, an impossibility. You have a generalized attitude of “why bother?”
You want to know how to get out of a funk, but the thought of doing anything seems beyond your capabilities. The good news is that you’re not powerless; there are some easy tips for how to get out of a funk and feel happier, more motivated, and optimistic.
How to Get Out of a Funk
Identify your feelings:
If you’re in a funk, it’s a good idea to recognize and make a plan of how you’re going to deal with it. You need to be clear, so take a minute to think about what you’re feeling. “For the moment, be mindful and in the here and now,” says Stephanie Flores, Reiki Grand Master. “Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. You may find that feeling stuck or stagnate is something you need.”
Recalibrate your thinking:
It’s helpful if you don’t look at your feelings in terms of good or bad, but as a way to discover more about where you’re at right now. Maybe you’re in this funk so that you can see things that aren’t working in your life with a new perspective. Feeling blah and disinterested allows you to be truthful with yourself—you’re not as emotionally invested as you’d normally be. Give yourself permission to throw out the ideas and methods of how to get out of a funk that weren’t working. Start from scratch.
Get up and follow your normal routine:
When we’re low-energy, it’s tempting to just want to stay in bed all day and not do anything. However, if you’re feeling funky—and not in a good way, getting up can help get your energy flowing. Getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and having your morning beverage (coffee, tea, green smoothie) may seem like no big deal but they’re baby steps toward how to get out of a funk.
Get one thing done:
The other day, I went to the post office and sent off some books I’d promised to send to a couple of friends. A small thing, right, but I felt like a rock star for doing a chore I’d put off. The feeling of accomplishment can give you life. Author/musician Adam Cole says, “Getting something done, anything can move me along. Often the funk has been triggered by this small task that, for some reason, is daunting me, like paying a bill or asking someone for a favor. If I can do that, it helps a lot, but even if I can’t do that, doing something that gets me closer (like cleaning up or organizing or making a plan) can improve my mood.”
Resist numbing yourself further:
You’re not feeling that bad but you’re not feeling that great so it can be tempting to drink a little too much wine, eat some bad-for-you-food, lose time on the internet, or over-indulge in your drug of choice (yes, I know it’s medicinal,) but now’s not the time to self-medicate because it won’t help you feel better and it may ultimately make you feel worse.
By focusing on something pleasurable in the future, we remember the promise of tomorrow and it helps us learn how to get out of a funk. It can be something tiny like making a plan to reconnect with an old friend or booking an appointment for a massage—anything that you really enjoy. What always helps me is planning a vacation. Right now, I don’t have the budget to go to Hawaii, however, making plans for a dream Hawaii trip helps to lift my spirits. Besides, my thinking about it in such detail could manifest it into coming true.
Connect with people:
Sometimes a reminder of how we’re loved and needed by others is crucial when exploring how to get out of a funk. “Connection is crucial to fighting the blues, so get close to someone,” says Psychotherapist Kristina Ferrari. “Often when we’re feeling blah we tend to avoid people or isolate ourselves but being around those we love—a best friend, romantic interest, supportive parent or child—tethers us to the here and now which is essential for getting out of our own heads.” You may not be able to access an abundance of self-love when you’re feeling blah; so, let others love you for you.
Talk about your feelings:
It can sometimes be challenging to express your emotions when you're in a funk because it may not sound like that big a deal. You don’t want to come off a complainer or whiny baby. The truth is, your feelings are valid. Besides, that’s what friends and therapists are for—to talk about your feelings without judgment. “Talking about our feelings, via journaling, a chat with a friend or co-worker or seeking out a mental health professional can be immensely beneficial,” says Kristina Ferrari. “Our feelings need a vehicle of release. If we keep them bottled up inside or attempt to suppress them, they will seek out ways to get out which are often destructive to our overall health.” Our friends are a healthy resource for us. You’re always there for them when they need it; so let them return the favor.
Regulate your self-talk:
Is your critical inner voice making you feel even worse? Is it telling you to snap out of it or is it even more negative? It may feel as if you’re numb right now, but actually, you’re in a very vulnerable place and you need to build yourself up from the inside out. Your self-talk needs to be focused on the positive and how to move forward, not thinking about the mistakes you’ve made or how you failed. “Our thoughts aren’t neutral. They either lift us up or drag us down,” says Paula Onysko. “The moment you shift the internal narrative, your energy can begin to rise too.”
Do something creative:
When we tap into our creativity, we connect with our inner child—you know, the part of you who loves to have fun and looks at the world with wonder and awe. Being creative is another way to express our feelings in a safe space and can help alleviate any tension or stress we may be having without even being aware of it. So, go to that painting party, take a photography class, or get to work on writing that book you’ve always said you were going to write. If those kinds of projects feel like too much pressure, then do some crafting or show off one of your other creative talents like wrapping presents or flower arrangements. Let that creative spark fill you with positive energy.
Spend some quality time with your pets:
We all know how good it is not only for our pets but for ourselves too when we spend time with them. It can calm you down, help you to de-stress, and make you feel loved. If you have dogs take them for a walk, or if cats are more your jam, just holding and petting them will do you a lot of good. I find that even spending a small amount of time with my cats is always a mood booster.
Give to others:
One of the proven methods for how to get out of a funk is by doing something that isn’t you-centric. Do some volunteer work, participate in a march, or offer to babysit for your friend. Doing for others helps us to get out of our heads and be present to what’s happening around us. Margaret Paul, Ph.D. says, “Caring about others is fulfilling and meaningful. It’s hard to feel blah when you are offering love and caring to another.”
Spend time in nature:
Sometimes just getting outside and taking some deep breaths can help center us. If you can, go to the beach, the mountains, or the woods and take in the beauty. Stephanie Flores says, “I go for walks in wooded areas or by a river. The movement of the water is a great physical visualization of movement. Meditating by the running water helps me with moving my own energies.”
Focus on gratitude:
It might be difficult to see, but there’s a lot of good happening in your life right now. Make a gratitude book or a list of everything that’s going well—anything that will make it easier to focus on the positives of your life. You might be surprised that even though you thought everything was tanking in your life, in actuality, it’s going extremely well. Don’t just look at the things that you have, think about the things that you’ve accomplished in your life, the tough situations that you’ve handled. Think about the moments of incredible happiness, and the small moments of contentment and satisfaction that you’ve experienced. You’ve got a lot to be grateful for and the best news is that more fun, laughter, exhilaration, and good times are coming your way! This is how you get out of a funk!