5 ways to get out of a funk
Feel free to listen to the podcast (9 minutes)
It surprised me how little it took to push me from my usually sunny mood into one of greyness and frustration. All it took was:
- One night of poor sleep
- Not being able to get to my usual early morning exercise class to get me up and out of the house
- Grey, cooler, drizzly “English” weather
- A neighbour using a power tool so I couldn’t record a podcast in my precious spare hour.
I felt stymied. I became aware of a sluggishness settling in my body and mind. I was in a real funk.
So this is what I did to get out of my funk and lift my mood:
- I changed out of dark-coloured clothing into a Barbie-pink dress. And even though it was drizzling I used my cheery bright umbrella to banish the greyness [colour therapy]
- I walked to the nearby urban village nearby [movement]
- I enjoyed my fave warm beverage in new cafe and wrote this blog. I indulged in my favorite pastime of people watching and I felt the comfort of being around other humans (and their dogs) [social connection]
- I walked some more around the local park and hid from the drizzle under the glorious Moreton Bay Fig trees [biophilia and seeing green spaces]
- I bought cat food so that I no longer receive “You expect me to eat that FILTH?” death stares from feline flatmate and the threat of being eaten in my sleep [danger avoidance – creating safety and down-regulating my nervous system]
Please know that I’m not suggesting that this will magically wipe away the symptoms of clinical depression. I do not mean to make light of this serious condition. However, whether you are just in a funk or in the grips of the Black Dog of Depression, these 5 tips might just help you get out of a funk.
If you’ve not been feeling like yourself lately, here are 5 ways to get out of a funk:
Use colour to brighten your mood
In the English language we use colour to describe our feelings. The black dog of depression. Feeling blue. So angry you’re seeing red mist. Colour can evoke powerful emotions in us. Certain colours evoke a sense of energy (yellow and orange), danger (red), and some a sense of safety and reliability (navy) and play (Barbie pink!)
There’s a whole science around the psychology of colour, and how you can use it to inform your mood or what you want to convey. I particularly enjoyed the little coffee table book “The Little Book of Colour: How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life” by Karen Haller.
Selecting colours to wear or have around your home can significantly impact your mood and sense of well-being.
Downregulate your nervous system with simple techniques
Many of us are operating from a place of burnout or stuck in fight/flight (an activated nervous system state). Your thoughts mirror your nervous system state, so it is difficult to feel creative and vibrant if you’re in an activated nervous system state. (Read more about how story follows state.)
Try out these simple polyvagal exercises for calming your nervous system:
Grounding your toes
Move your body
You experience the world through your physical body. Your sense of vitality comes from movement and connecting with other humans.
Reduce the movement, disconnect from your body, and from others and that’s a surefire recipe for feeling lifeless, sluggish and colourless.
Read more about why I get you to move in your sessions.
Get more social connection
Social connection and social support act as a protective element for both your physical and mental health. Good social connection is linked to thriving in life.
Good social connection is associated with:
- A 50% increase in chance of longevity (i.e. the likelihood of a long life)
- A strengthened immune system and better recovery from illness (I’ve written about the link between chronic stress, depression and lowered immune system).
- A decrease in levels of depression, anxiety
- Higher levels of self-esteem
- Connection also leads to a positive feedback loop where you start to feel better about yourself and about others, feeling that you can trust people and feel empathy for them, which in turn improves your social connectedness.
Be in green spaces
Exposure to a natural environment or green space is associated with less depression. This means just getting out and seeing green plants (or having them in your home/office) is going to have a beneficial effect on your mood.
Going ‘forest bathing’ is even more beneficial as the trees give off phytochemicals that improve our health and wellbeing, bless’em.
Tonight I’ll be going to bed early. And woe betide any handyman using powertools at 7am, for they will face the full wrath of this menopausal lady.
Or at least a polite-but-devastatingly-witty request to STFU.