We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning and you’re just not feeling it. Life feels blah. You don’t want to go to work. Your colleague or sister or partner annoyed you yesterday and the feelings are still lingering. Your clothes fit funny and your face looks tired. Maybe you are regretting that 9 pm glass of wine or the big warm batch chocolate chip cookies you devoured. You’re in a mental funk and you know if you don’t somehow snap out of it, you’re headed for a long day of self-pity and cranky-town.
Even the most mentally healthy people wake up on the wrong side of the bed some days. It’s normal and it seems to happen to me a few days a month. I’ve trained myself to figure out how to identify it right away and work through a process to turn it around. This has been so beneficial to me because I never or rarely ever let a mental funk turn into an entirely bad day.
3 Ways I Get Myself Out of a Mental Funk and Turn My Day Around.
I Pay Attention to My Thoughts
In my all-time favorite podcast, The Life School Podcast, Brooke Castillo discusses how our feelings turn into thoughts, our thoughts turn into our actions, and our actions turn into our results. Brooke has helped me become more aware of the conversation going on in my head and how reoccurring thoughts can have a big impact on my mood, my day, and my life.
When I find myself in a funk or feeling down I zone in on the thoughts going on in my head. Am I thinking the same thoughts over and over? Are there unresolved feelings that I need to deal with? Am I being too hard on myself?
If I’m in a funk, it is most likely because I’ve let my thoughts get the best of me. Questions I may ask myself are:
- What has changed from yesterday? Did I have these thoughts yesterday?
- Did someone say or do something to me to create uncomfortable feelings in me?
- Am I talking to myself the same way I would talk to someone else?
- Would I let another person talk to me the way I’m talking to myself?
- How was I feeling the last time I felt positive and energized? What has changed since then? How can I get back to that place?
I try to figure out exactly what I am feeling deep down. It doesn’t mean that I try to fix or change my feelings. All of my feelings are valid, but it is important for me to intensify them if I want to make a shift in my mood.
Go to Your People
If digging deep into your feelings and thoughts uncovers an unresolved issue or some form of self-sabotage, I turn to my people. The people that love me unconditionally and want to see me happy and successful. I’m blessed to have many of these types of relationships in my life, including my husband, Brian, as well as friends who I trust dearly.
If working through the feelings and thoughts on my own isn’t working, I’ll go to my people and articulate clearly that I am struggling.
“I’m in a funk. I think it is because of A, B, and C. Can you help me decide if these thoughts are grounded in reality?”
Simple conversations and statements like this allow me to say aloud what I have been wrestling within my mind. This allows my partner, my friends, my people to be a mirror for me. To help me ground my thoughts in reality and steer me in the right direction.
I never feel guilty going to these people because
- I give back to these relationships and show up when these same people need me.
- I’m not going to my people for the answers and they know that I’m not coming to them for the answers. I’m going to them so they can hold up a mirror to me so I can ground myself in reality.
- People like helping the people they like and love. It also makes them feel needed and loved as well. In my opinion, when we go to the ones we love with both our good days and bad days, a true, authentic relationship grows.
Get Out of My Current Situation
Another self-intervention I do when I’m in a funk is to create a physical change of scenery. If you listen to the latest e2e Podcast episode, I told a story about a morning when I was really struggling. I was able to go to my team tennis drills and use the self-pity I was feeling to play some of the best tennis I’ve played in years. I was able to do this because, on the car ride over, I recognized that I wasn’t really doing well mentally and was able to identify where the feelings were really coming from. hint: It had nothing to do with tennis.
I left the court thinking “THIS is why people need to exercise and have hobbies”. Just getting out of my house and forcing myself to have a change of scenery was hugely impactful on the rest of my day.
For me, a change in scenery has always boosted my spirits and distracted me from mental funks. Hitting the tennis courts and seeing my tennis community was enough distraction for my brain to push those negative thoughts away.
If tennis is not an option, I run to Target and browse the selves or I do my hair and makeup and go to the grocery store. A physical change of scenery is such a great distraction for my brain.
Finally, there have been times that these funks don’t go away. I know that is okay too. Sometimes we just have to lean into the tough days and know that tomorrow will be a better day.
If I find that these days are more numerous and I can’t quite shake my funk, I call a professional therapist and get the help I need to get back on track.
We all want to live our best lives, but not every day is going to be the best day you have ever had. Living our days in a funk can feel frustrating. To get out of a mental funk and turn your day around, pay attention to your thoughts, connect with your people and find a change of scenery.