Have you been getting discouraged by watching the highlights of your friend’s ambitious life?
Do you wish people would be more honest about the days they are caught in a funk?
Do you look for practical ways to take care of your mental health?
Do you want to be able to walk through a funky day and not get stuck in it for too long?
We’re much too quiet about the uncomfortable topics around feeling depressed. Because of this, we often use unhealthy methods of trying to feel better — whether that’s binging on pizza and sweets, “word-vomiting” on social media, or constantly looking for the next relationship to make us happy.
Feeling funky for a day or a week used to take me out for a long time. I had no idea what to do. I got so STUCK. I didn’t realize I could DO anything to change how I felt.
Can you relate?
If you’ve been feeling funky, this is for you.
Recently, I woke up feeling funky and depressed. Maybe it was just the good old “January Blues”.
Instead of staying in bed, I dragged myself outside with my daughter to the playground and opened my journal. I just started with the first thought on my mind and kept writing until I was out of words.
That took a while because, if you know me, I have a lot to say. I’m an artesian well of feelings and ideas.
After I finished writing, I just sat and stared at a pine tree. That tree was just… THERE.
I started noticing the scars in the bark of the tree. I started thinking about how this tree had survived many winters — many days of January Blues. I noted the places where it had been cut into and stripped down. Yet here it was, reaching it’s needle filled branches into the sky, thriving on a gray winter day.Trees are so sustainable because they have deep roots.Click To Tweet
They have learned to dig down and find sources of water to drink from when their environment on the surface is bleak.
Establishing Daily Healthy Habits Keeps Us Grounded
Over the past few years, I’ve been learning how to dig down and find my roots. A couple weeks ago I wrote about establishing a habit of waking up early. Each of us cope with our funk in different ways.
Since I’m allergic to caffeine, I have to be creative to get an energy/clarity boost in my mornings.
Take this morning for example:
- 1. Exercise. This morning I took a long walk in the crisp winter air.
- 2. Drink tea. When I got back, I made myself some herbal tea with ginger that revitalized me and made my tummy feel awesome.
- 3. Use essential oils. I rubbed a drop of peppermint oil on my neck and a drop of lavender oil into my ears. This combination always works to give me both clarity and energy and calms my emotions. It’s kind of magical.
I Asked My Friends How They Cope with Feeling Funky
Several weeks ago, I popped into Facebook and left a question on my wall: “What do you do to combat funk + depression?”
I loved the response. Within minutes I had over 20 thoughtful comments on my post. I sorted all of the amazing feedback I received and organized them into these 10 practical steps to turn any funky day around.
1. Get Outside and Exercise
Exercise. The treadmill does wonders. Also yoga, of course. —Erika
Taking a break and getting out in the fresh air always helps me! —Regina
Go swimming. Soak up some sun. —Jean
Exercise of some sort: running, yoga, hiking. —BexSome days you just have to create your own sunshine.Click To Tweet
Exercise. Get enough sleep, sometimes coffee. Go OUT, explore something new, meeting up with a friend, and spend time in nature. —Joella
2. Eat Well
Drink water. —Lisa
Making sure I am eating well and staying hydrated is important for me! —Bex
Pssssst, sometimes all you need is good comfort food. Have a big bowl of warm soup: Tap here to get Regina’s favorite soup recipe.
3. Practise Gratitude
Gratitude turns what we have into enough.Click To Tweet
“One of the things I do when I’m down is to deliberately think of what I like – chocolate and fresh flowers, fall colors and tromping thru fallen leaves. The more I think, the more grateful I feel and the more things come to my mind.” —Barbara
I turn to my #1000 gifts journal. Even if it’s the last thing I want to do. It often cures whatever ails. It cuts to the heart of my discontentment, ungratefulness or bad attitude. —Suzanne
4. Journal it out
“I try to refocus by spending time reading or getting out of the atmosphere that is trying to drag me down. I journal, which took me a long time to realize it was a good tool to use.” —Valerie
If it’s a deeper funk than a few deep breaths will take care of, I pull out my journal and some chocolate. Writing down my feelings helps me so much to process and then let it go! —Regina
Write down ways [you’ve] seen the faithfulness of God. —Bex
I journal—ask myself questions. Maybe I just need some me time (feed my soul) etc. Sometimes I get the answer, sometimes not. But I’m okay with that. I try not to focus too much on how I feel. I know that as I remind myself of whose I am I will again find peace, and I say ‘this too shall pass.’ — Aunt Barbara
I first pay attention to my thoughts. I truly believe that the way we feel has more to do with what we are dwelling on in our thoughts then what we are dealing with. After I find the thoughts that are helping me feel bad I choose thoughts that counter them and literally think myself happy.—Tequea
5. Get Creative
Anything creative always helps. Drawing. Painting. Baking. Anything creative. —Kasie
I have to do something creative. —Nece
Today I bought a card for a friend and it wasn’t quite pretty enough so I pulled out my glitter paints and went to town. Evidently to make my life happy all I need is glitter, sparkles, and the sweet aroma of candles wafting thru the air. —Melissa McGie Wieler
Move around and take pictures. —Gail
Do something creative like designing a card for a friend. Watch something on YouTube that makes you laugh. —Joella
Combine journaling and getting creative by starting an art journal. Check out this mixed media art journal by artist, Toni Burt.
6. Give Yourself Time to Process
Usually, for me, it means taking some alone time… maybe in the form of a quiet walk or relaxing in my bedroom, guilt free. —Gloria
I’m learning to allow myself space to be still. Most often my funk comes from too much going on even if it’s just inside my head. Time and space and permission to sit and be is a huge thing for me. —Jessica Hoover Derstine
Writing is therapeutic for me. And getting out of the house. I learned more this summer about just sitting and being still and allowing nature to “calm me.” Which sounds so trivial, I know, but for me, when I’m out, I’m always DOING – taking photos, running, walking or SOMETHING. I find so much peace in just BEING! —Amber
Yesterday I was soooo in a funk and really sad. I sat in bed, cried, and then watched Veep on my ipad for a few hours. I think just giving myself permission to cry and be a potato instead of working or distracting myself with some work, helped me in the long run to move through those emotions. —Amira
My mother died in August and that and the family drama around it led me to a major crash. I couldn’t seem to rid myself of the pain and was lugging it around like a suitcase, I couldn’t even get out of bed, until I realized, the pain was not me. The pain was something separate; to identify with it was unbearable and I cut it loose. Still have bouts but feel more in control and the empty places left by the pain are filling with joy and peace. Sounds so ‘groovy’ but living it has been eye opening. Hope this helps. —Pamela
I make sure to cry/or let myself feel the feeling for a bit. I’m a repressor. So many times in life (especially in the military), you just have to keep surviving and just keep waiting (for hubby to get back or a new assignment or household goods or whatever). But I find if it don’t cry when I need to, it ends up worse when it’s suppressed. And then after I cry I can move on. —Heather
7. Use Essential Oils + Good Scents
Peppermint shampoo, yes! I order Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat from Lucky Vitamin or Iherb. Oh, and if I’m anxious or stressed I apply or take a sniff of geranium oil. It smells lovely and it’s relaxing. —Joella
I had a funk day yesterday. Got out my oils and am headed for a more productive day today. —Christinna
Light a candle. —Jean
Diffuse oils. —Bex
I’ve been using essential oils more intentionally. —Amira
Light candles. —Melissa
8. Declutter Your Space!
When I dig out stuff to sell, I dig deeper in my life clutter and get rid of something [that’s not helping me]. —Jessica
9. Help Someone, Starting with Yourself
We are the best person, and sometimes the only person that takes care of us. A mother is always taking care of everyone else. If she is wise, she will become excellent at finding ways to take care of herself. I wish someone would have told me [this] at the beginning of my marriage. —Brittany
Clean up. Take a shower. —Gail
I like to find a way to get outside of myself… like exercise or giving to other people. It also helps me to be vulnerable with those close to me about what I’m going through. —Ruth
When I was younger, listening to music was the most cathartic thing I did for troubled, dark days. I would lose myself in music. I remember crying into my third baby, with music pounding all around me. I still love music but I think I’ve gotten wiser in understanding me and what keeps me stable. I’m really bad at sticking to the plan when it becomes overwhelming. And then I hate how I always give up. So, lately, I’ve been forcing myself to push through and finish. And it is beyond healing and gratifying. —Linda
10. Surround yourself with inspirational people.
Sometimes, I stalk Facebook/Instagram and remind myself of one of the strong ladies I love. I tell myself, I will not always feel this way. I do something hard that is looming over me. Calling, texting, or seeing [my husband] is one of the most effective things I can do. —Lisa
Connecting with friends [and] time with [my husband] or my kids brings perspective. —Amber
How Do You Cope When You’re Feeling Blue?
Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.
This is documentation of personal feedback I received in a Facebook thread on my wall that I then re-organized into categories of steps that were recommended for self care. The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or implied as a diagnosis or treatment.