Most of the time I am relentlessly optimistic. My inner wonder woman emerges when I start to feel beaten down, reminding me of my resilience and my ability to positively impact my little corner of the world. Typically, I find joy even when times are dark. Plus, I love to laugh.
But, Sunday, I woke up in a funk.
Call it pandemic blues.
Call it post-debate, pre-election anxiety.
Call it uncertainty-overload.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in a funk, I take it out on myself. My inner voice gets mean: I am not doing enough. I am not valuable enough. I am not a good enough friend or leader or ... whatever. I am letting people down. I am letting myself down.
Here’s the thing: I would never, ever in a million years talk to anyone else the way I talk to myself. I see the good in others, even when they are struggling. I believe in the importance of self-care and self-compassion, and I know it’s necessary to feel things deeply, even the bad things.
In other words, it’s not the funk that’s the problem, it’s the way I talk to myself about it. I am certainly not alone in settling into a funk these days, and I imagine many of you also turn on yourselves when this happens.
For years, I've kept a list of some practices for myself for these moments. On Sunday, simply choosing a couple of these activities helped me silence my mean self-talk long enough to move through the funk and gloom.
I hope they are helpful to you, too, as thought starters. Here they are:
1. Read a favorite book or genre. Nothing like immersing yourself in the trials and tribulations of someone else to make your own angst disappear! Whether it's mysteries, science fiction, romance, or something else, reading fiction is a great escape.
2. Cuddle or snuggle with a pet. The science backs this one up. The unconditional love that a pet gives is soothing to our soul and having that one creature think you are amazing on your most sucktastic days can be just the thing to end the funk.
3. Go for a walk, preferably in nature. The grandeur of nature, even if it's just a few mature trees, helps to put our temporary human problems into perspective. As the Persian adage states, "This too shall pass."
4. Play a game. For me, the great escape was Candy Crush. A couple of hours of that, and I was ready to re-tackle the world. Again, it just shut off that mean-girl part of my brain that made me feel less. One cautionary note here, though, is that some games are designed to be addictive and are very hard to stop playing. Eventually I had to go cold turkey and delete Candy Crush from all my devices.
5. Do yoga. It's good for your body, your mind, and your spirit. If I really pay attention and immerse myself in the poses, it's quite a workout as well. I like to truly earn that shavasana at the end (where you rest and relax).
6. Eat ice cream. OK, so it's not good for the body, but it is good for my soul at least! My current favorite is Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk and a bowl that savored (usually by myself) has a comforting effect on me that can lift me from the doldrums.
7. Vent and moan to a girlfriend over a glass of wine. This lets me get things off my mind by verbalizing them (yes, I'm an extrovert) and connects me to another human that I enjoy spending time with, too. I can always count on my best friend to commiserate for a while and then kick me in the butt to relight my resilience.
8. Sit still in the sunshine. Science puts in down to the sun helping our bodies produce Vitamin D; I don't care what it is, I love to sit with the sun on my face. I fully acknowledge that I live in a colder climate and that my southern readers may think I'm crazy. But it's fall as I'm writing this and I will take a sunny 60 degree day anytime I need my spirits to be lifted.
There you have it. The top eight things I do to hop on the train out of Funkytown. Of course your list is probably different, but the important thing is to be prepared AHEAD of time so when the suckies strike, you don't wallow too long and have a go-to list available.
So the challenge this week is to make up your list and have it in a handy place (like, say, your smart phone!)
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Sometimes I can't tell if I'm in a bad mood or if everyone around me is really freaking annoying.