Have you ever been stuck in a terrible funk that just wouldn’t shift? I don’t mean a rut, I mean a crappy mood, a general Charlize-Theron-in-Young-Adult ‘why bother?’ feeling. Lately, I just can’t shake it.
Unlike being stuck in a rut, my ‘could you be bothered?’ mood isn’t because of a bad break-up, getting the boot from a job I loved or a run-in with nightmare relatives. It’s just there. In many ways it’s easier to get out of a rut because you can change jobs, move to a new place or do whatever it takes to give you a change of scenery. Getting out of a funk and changing your mood is a bit trickier.
In this blog post I’m sharing a few simple, mostly free, things you can do to lift your mood and get out of a funk. Of course, it goes without saying that if you’ve been experiencing low moods for an extended period and it’s affecting your life negatively, it could be a sign of something more serious so you should consider chatting with your GP about it.
Here are a few tips to snap out of a funk:
Call that person you’ve fallen out of touch with or that you’ve been meaning to email. I’ve turned into that awful person who forgets to text back or replies to emails two weeks later. I hate it. For weeks now I’ve been meaning to send an email to someone I used to work with and I keep putting off the inevitable ‘sorry for the delay…’ email even though I know I’ll feel better when I just send it. When you’re in a grumpy mood, the last thing you want to do is muster conversation but chatting to someone, especially someone you’ve fallen out of touch with, will be a welcome distraction from what’s going on in your head.
Write a 500 word bio about yourself, who you are, what you’ve achieved and what you hope for the future. It’s a lot harder than it sounds to write about yourself in the third person but this exercise is a good way of putting things into perspective. We regularly forget what we’ve actually done in our lives and with this tip I guarantee you that you’ll realise you’ve done way more than you think in your life. Credit to The Fringe of It podcast for this tip!
Mix up your routine. Whether you work 9-5, you’re freelance or you’re a stay at home mom, you have some type of routine. When you’re in a funk, this routine can really grate on you and make every day feel tedious. When this feeling kicks in, I try to mix up my routine in small ways that won’t throw my life into chaos. As I mentioned in my digital detox tips post, I stopped going on Twitter first thing in the morning because it made me feel drained. Sometimes I’ll get the train instead of the bus home or I’ll walk a different way into town. There are loads of things you can do here, from trying a new café each morning instead of your usual Starbucks to popping into a museum you think is just for tourists for half an hour after work.
Talk to a stranger. Why are we so weird about talking to strangers? OK scrap that, I know why. They’re usually weirdos. But YOU be the weirdo. A fortnight ago I was having a really shitty day and as I was standing in M&S, glancing over the day’s newspaper headlines, an older gentleman struck up conversation with me. I normally have my headphones in and have no patience for strangers but we ended up having a fascinating conversation about his career as an actor. This sounds ridiculous but as I walked out of M&S to get my bus in the rain, I felt completely uplifted from our unexpected chat.
Do something for someone less fortunate. You can run wild with this one. Use your Twitter platform to draw attention to a charity event. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Donate sanitary products to your local women’s shelter or homeless charity. Start a conversation with a neighbour no one seems to bother with.
I know it’s such a cliché but… This Too Shall Pass. In 6 months from now, you won’t be feeling this way. Chances are you won’t even remember that you felt this way or, if you do, you’ll laugh at how overdramatic you were being. Focus on positive memories and dig up old photos of better times as a way to remind yourself that you didn’t always feel this way.
Rewire how you view your moods. Inspired by this Science of People post on how to snap out of a bad mood, I stopped berating myself for being an antisocial grump and instead recognised that I’m in control of my life, my mood and how I feel. Instead of being consumed by feeling low, listen to some mood-boosting music (hi there, Chemical Brothers), reach out to people IRL not just through a smartphone screen, listen to a wellness podcast or try a wellness technique like EFT (tapping) if you’re experiencing anxiety. I personally find list-making and planning to be weirdly relaxing (am I alone on this?) so buy a snazzy new notebook and start listing realistic goals or a bucket list you want to achieve as a way to focus your thoughts in a positive direction.
Keep things in perspective. Everyone gets into a funk at some point, it’s not special or a big mystery but the important thing to keep in mind is that it’s temporary and you have the power to change it.