“You don’t need a new day to start over, you only need a new mindset” –Hazel Hira Ozbek
You guys…I did it! I told myself I was going to change my mood and get myself out of a funk…AND I DID IT!
Last week I took a short “me” break and didn’t post because I got into a funk, don’t we all! I actually felt “guilty” because I had just posted the week before on comparing, and the very next day I was doing it. I was struggling with life, then started to feel bad about feeling bad, because I know people have it worse. Then I started to feel bad about feeling bad about feeling bad because I just posted about not feeling bad for feeling bad and then it just started to spiral into funkness. Wait, was that too many feeling bads? [And yes, funkness will be used as a noun in this blog]! Ok, moving on.
I usually exercise to get myself out of a surly mood and decided that a run was out because I wasn’t in the mood to get cold and wet, so instead I would get hot and sweaty at hot yoga and clear my head. An hour later, looking like I just hopped out of a swimming pool, I stesp outside, take a deep breath and I felt…still like crap! Damn it!
I felt my surliness increasing because yoga was supposed to “fix” me. As I’m leaving the parking lot headed back home, I see a homeless man with his backpack and sleeping bag, wearing an old green army jacket, a grey ballcap and holding a sign that you could now no longer read as the cardboard was soaked. I reached down for my purse, remembering that I actually had cash thanks to a scratch ticket win. Crap! I left my wallet at home because I was in a rush to get to yoga. A wave of sadness filled my heart when I drove past this man sitting in the cold rain/snow. As I was 50 yards past him a car almost hit me and my surliness came back.
When I got home I walked inside and went to my office and sat in my chair feeling blah! I took a few deep breaths and then I said to myself, “Enough! Do you LIKE feeling this way Jasmine? No? Then do something about it!” There is science behind bad moods and I needed to change those crazy chemicals in my brain. I needed to get my serotonin balanced, pump up my dopamine, and I need to get those endorphins revved. I was on a mission to get out of my funkness!
How do I get out of my funk?
- First: Shower off my actual funk! Ok that helped a little, now I’m dressed and ready to start this.
- Second: I wrote down the things that were irritating me, upsetting me, making me sad. All the things that could come to my head quickly in that moment.
- Third: I wrote down 5 things that I was proud of that I have accomplished in 2019.
- This backfired on me. As I wrote down those 5 things I started analyzing each of them saying, “WOW, that’s it? I should have done more, these are sad accomplishments”. This was due to my surliness because now looking at my list, it’s pretty damn good!
- Fourth: I wrote down things that make me feel good.
- Eating Pizza (I told myself no pizza during the week, so this was out)
- Running/working out/getting into nature (There was still rain/snow mix out and I didn’t want to slip on a run, plus I just did a hot yoga class)
- Laughing (I tried it, forcing myself to laugh out loud, wasn’t doing it for me today)
- Doing something kind for someone else…DING DING DING!
- Dancing…DING DING DING!
Reviewing my list “doing something kind” stood out and I wanted to go back and give that homeless man some money, some food and a rain poncho and then I would come home and dance. YAY, I had a plan!
I got out a note card and began writing, “I hope it helps a little and can bring some joy to your day. May tomorrow be a little brighter for you than today. You are in my thoughts”. I then enclosed some money, my note and added one of the inspirational cards I purchase from Amazon, sealed it up and hopped in the car.
“May tomorrow be a little brighter for you than today”
As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized that almost 2 hours had passed so there was a chance he might have moved on, but it was still worth a shot. I drove to where I saw him before and he was gone, no luck. I checked the adjacent shopping center, but he was nowhere to be found. I had this feeling of sadness that I wasn’t able to give him anything, then I quickly snapped out of it and said, “Jasmine, he is somewhere out of the rain and snow and hopefully warm, that’s a GOOD thing!”
Setting the envelope on my passenger seat I thought maybe I didn’t see him for a reason, I might encounter someone else on my way home that might need my note and the money. I headed back to my house not feeling accomplished when “Freedom”, by George Michael, came on the radio. I started a little car dancing, nodding my head and wiggling my shoulders. I was stopped at a red light, waiting to turn left when I realized I was now really moving and singing out loud. I looked to my right and the lady in the car next to me was just watching. I got a huge smile on my face, which in turn made her smile, and I turned left still dancing and singing, “I think there’s something you should know, I think it’s time I told you so”.
When I got home once again, I started to feel defeated because I was trying so hard to get out of my funk and it wasn’t really working. I looked back at my list and I knew my second bullet would make me feel better. I decided that I was going to go snowshoeing the following morning and clear my mind.
The next morning I woke up feeling slightly better, I knew that snowshoeing was going to be good for me, but then thoughts of sadness creeped in as I began thinking that the last time I went snowshoeing was with my ex-husband. “Nope, get out of my head thoughts…I’m doing this!” I knew not only the snowshoeing would be beneficial, but also the whole process of the day:
- Leaving at whatever time worked for me
- Picking the spot I wanted to snowshoe
- Driving there by myself, making any stop along the way that I wanted to
- Taking in the beautiful Colorado scenery on my drive
- Getting strapped into my snowshoes by myself
- Stopping along the trail whenever I wanted to snap a photo or just take a deep breath smelling the pine trees and crisp air
Guess what? All those things happened! And then bullet 3 from my list happened. This selfie is of me laughing after I just dropped my phone in the snow as I was using the tree as my tripod…side note, I’m pretty sure I could write a whole blog on how to use “tree-pods” and other things in nature if you don’t have a tripod handy.
I only encountered one person during my entire trek. I was getting out of my car and a gentleman from Ohio (however, I believe originally from Germany, unless I’m severely confused on what an Ohio accent sounds like) was mesmerized by my snowshoes, he’d never seen them before. After we briefly chatted, I embarked on my 3 hour adventure into the beautiful Colorado wilderness and was in my happy place.
As I was packing up my snow shoes and getting ready to go have a late lunch by myself (which I was excited about) I felt it…I felt my funkness gone. I had done it! It might have taken a little longer than I planned this first go around, but I did it! Now were all of my problems gone after I did my good deed, car danced and went snowshoeing, HELL NO! But I had a choice, I could have just stayed in my funk or I could try to get myself out of it. I didn’t want to feel how I was feeling and I honestly had never purposely had a plan to get myself out of a funk before, so it was worth a try. Usually things just organically happen; something will make me laugh or smile or I get an unexpected call from a friend that cheers me up. Never before had I actually had a plan, and the motivation to follow through with the plan to get myself of my funk.
What are some things you can do if you are having one of those days? First things first, before you try any of these, you have to actually want to change your mood. We all have days where we just feel blah and you don’t have the energy to work on getting out of it, and that is ok. So, this is when you are ready to get yourself out of it, or at least give it a try.
- Feel it: Acknowledge how you are feeling and that you want to change it. Make a list of things that are eating at you and are the cause of your funk. Remember to not compare here, you know there are people that are struggling more than you, but right now is not the time to compare, list those things that are causing your funk. Even if it’s “small” and you think it’s not “worthy” of causing funkness, write it down.
- Do something for someone else. Do Good, Feel Good. I wrote a whole blog on it. Even if you just leave a note for someone who might be having a bad day, research shows doing something for someone else lifts us.
- Reach out to a friend: Call a friend, go see a friend or do something nice for a friend, connect with someone else who you know can lift you. Maybe they are in a funk too and you didn’t know, and by you reaching out you’re helping their funk.
- Lists: Make a list of things that make you happy, do one of them. If it’s eating pizza, eat the pizza!
- Smile: Smiling is contagious, no really! Sensorimotor stimulation in our brains causes this. Try it, smile at someone and see what happens! I did this at the grocery store the last time I went, only 1 person didn’t return my smile, I had a 88% success rate, not too shabby!
- Music: Dance if you like, sing if you like to sing or just put on upbeat music that gets your body moving on the inside.
- Get outside: Going on a run, walk, hike or even just breathing fresh air is shown to help with your mental health.
- Laugh: Forcing yourself to laugh can feel silly but there is a lot of information out there on how it can work. Or just turn on a funny YouTube video.
- Clean/organize: You are saying, “Umm, excuse me?” Yeah yeah, I know. Some people have a feeling of accomplishment after they clean or organize. If you aren’t motivated to do that, even try purging your inbox, it’s a form of cleaning.
- Do something creative: Paint, draw, write, take photos, cook…use your right brain. Try writing your name with your non dominant hand, come on try it!
I feel like “Mission Cure My Funkness” was a huge step in helping me get out of bigger funks in the future. We all know that life is full of ups and downs and that funk is just going to happen, but maybe now I will feel a little more prepared with how to get myself out of that funkness, just a little bit quicker next time.
Remember that you will never get today again. If you are in a yucky mood today, you have 2 choices:
- Stay in that mood, or
- Try to change it.
If you want to stay in it today, that’s ok, we all need to give ourselves grace to feel those bad days, but when they start to linger into multiple days or weeks, it’s no longer just a bad day and it’s not good for our mental health to stay in that funkness too long. If your funk is sticking around on day two, why not give a few of the things listed above a try, they might not work…but you will never know unless you try.
P.S.: I found someone to give my envelope to, and I already have another envelope ready to go for the next person I might encounter.
Remember, You Got This!