Getting out of a funk

Generalized feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction...

What is a funk? I have referenced this term for sadness since I was 18 years old. I remember having a mini spiral journal that said "fat lil notebook" on it. On my breaks at Coffee News, where I learned the fine art of foaming milk- I would scribble thoughts down about roommate drama, and crushed feelings while chain-smoking Camel Wides. An entry would start with, "I'm in a funk," and proceed with all the happenings in underground rave culture. At that time, I didn't have much insight into what that really meant, but felt a generalized feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction with life. I would later come to know the meaning of depression intimately, but a funk, now that's something altogether different. 

A funk is an impermanent state of dysphoria (that dissatisfaction business). Dysphoria is generally a passing (not always) mood that feels horrible when you're in it. What makes this different than the dark space I call depression, is that a funk is like the appetizer wetting your palate for a trip down the dark rabbit hole. You don't have to go there. There's a bit of control at this starting point. There are typically two options when acknowledging you're in funk-a-licious space. 

Listening to Radiohead...

1) Hunker down in your house listening to Radiohead while looking at photos of days gone by, and find yourself weeping in a corner before the day is out. This route is a particularly bad idea, because depression can sink in here, and can turn a funk- into a very dark place.


2) Bust out your fire plan for moments like this, filling your day with pleasurable activities that elevate your spirit until you forget you were bummed to begin with.

It seems like a no-brainer right? Well it literally took me until I was in my 30's to figure this out. My fire plan has changed over the years, but it's nearly perfect in it's current application. Now, because of my history with depression, I have an advantage. I know myself really well. Where some folks might take a week of feeling blue before they even notice the problem. Me, I can feel it at the first sign, like the flu. We all know what it's like to get the body ache, sore throat, and chills. There is no doubting what that means. Sure, we all deny it by saying "I'm not getting sick! I'm not getting sick!" But at some point, you have to admit defeat- and sink into bed. This is very similar. My face starts to feel heavy, like smiling is harder. My thoughts become more pessimistic, but very subtly, and I get tired. This girl is a busy, type A control enthusiast (I don't like the word freak). If I actually slow down and feel tired- Houston, we have a problem! When I notice these things, it's so on. Time to rock the fire plan.

Top five ways to beat the funk...

1) Do not, I repeat DO NOT stay in your house. Sure, your house has things like blankets and Netflix, but this seemingly comforting atmosphere becomes a lair of sadness when you're in a funk. You must escape. GET OUT!

2) Go to a place where people are. Granted, this is the last thing you actually want when you're blue, but being around people has a powerful effect on your mood. My favorite place is used book stores. The smell of old books is like aromatherapy for me, and the people that are also in the store- are clearly awesome. Coffee shops are another good one. Setting up a laptop, book, or journal while listening to music, and people watching is on my anecdote list. 

3) Nature. I'm by no means a hippie or an outdoorsy person. I detest sweat, and uncontrolled temperatures. However, I firmly believe that nature has a healing effect on your soul. I can't tell you why, but I know that it works for me. A walk by the river, or hike in the foothills, and it's like I'm insta-better. 

4) Exercise is a far cry from enticing when feeling down, but those endorphins are powerful little buggers. They work as a natural antidepressant. Take a quick trip to the gym, or kill two birds with one stone (not really, birds are precious), and do your nature thing, you're already exercising! BAM!

5) Call one of your people. Your tribe. These are the ones you can be vulnerable with and say, "Hey love, I'm having a crap day. Can you come over for a 90's chick flick binge? I have Diet Coke!" Your tribesperson will jump at the chance to help pull you out, because it's in their job title. Plus- they love you unconditionally. It's a win for everyone.

Your funk doesn't stand a chance...

Funks pass. Be gentle with your spirit in times like this. Treat yourself like a cherished friend, because you are. There is only one you. Take the time to nurture yourself. I give you permission. As much as I love Radiohead, it's so much better to listen with a smile on my face. Next time you notice your bad day swallowing you whole, fight back. Make a fire plan unique to you. Your funk doesn't stand a chance.