I’ve had some humdinger days at work recently…it appears that the whole world has lost its damn mind. Collectively. I’m not sure what’s in the air, but I hope it blows on. One of the issues that I’ve been dealing with lately is bullying. I HATE a bully like you would not believe, and it takes a lot of restraint for me to keep it together and not go off on the bullies and rip them a new one. Having to be the adult and the professional sometimes really sucks. Please promise me that you’ll never be a bully, ok? Meanies suck.
My own attitude this week hasn’t been the best, either…and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve been feeling like I’m a nuisance to everyone around me again, feeling like I’m in the way, that I constantly screw up…all of that old stuff. I forgot to do something at work this week – I remembered before it was too late and got it taken care of, but…I’m still disappointed in myself for forgetting. Which is dumb, because I’m only human, right? Grr. I’m a frustrating individual.
I was at work late last evening at an event, and while I was driving home, I became so full of sadness (and my eyes so full of tears) that I ended up just pulling over and taking a minute. I was annoyed at the rest of the world who seem to have life come so easily to them, while I must struggle every single day. I was frustrated at how really, really hard I work and try at everything I do…my job, my family, relationships – and yet I still feel like I fail. I got angry at myself for feeling this way – I do have a lot of great things going on around me, but for whatever reason I am still feeling blue. Perhaps it’s my shoes for today?
I believe I need a kick in the arse….any takers? I found this article today about getting yourself out of a funk – it’s good!
10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funk
1. Check out your biological balance. Take an inventory: Are you going to bed at a decent hour? How is your sleep? Are you eating well and keeping your blood sugars stable? Could you be Vitamin D deficient? Are you stressing your liver with too much alcohol and processed foods? Are you dieting or not eating enough calories? Our bodies work hard to keep a chemical equilibrium at all times– but sometimes we need to consciously work on helping with that process. A chemical imbalance can (and will) absolutely affect our moods. So good sleep, nutrition and self care are not a panacea– they are critical in helping us regain emotional balance.
2. Do time with the issues. As much as we would like to be able to simply transcend our worst mental and emotional struggles, we need to acknowledge them and take a look. Ignoring them is completely useless– our issues will continue to grow and upset us until they have our full attention. Acknowledging negative emotions is not the same as indulging them. Our feelings are there to help us understand and explore the situation better. Don’t let them run you over; allow them to guide you. It is helpful to write them down. Start with a feeling: “I feel disappointed.” and then go further– “I feel disappointed about….” Go deeper again. Whatever the feeling, it is completely worth the time and energy to spend a little longer defining it more specifically. Remember that specifics are more manageable than vague feelings. Do not be afraid to identify whatever it is that you are angry, sad, scared, or frustrated about. These feelings are valid and need to be acknowledged before they can then be released.
3. Write about it. Journaling is not just for sentimental types! Writing down your thoughts can be extremely helpful in crystallizing your thoughts and feelings. One practice I especially recommend is writing “morning pages,” as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. The idea is that you write freehand first thing in the morning, filling three pages every day. It doesn’t matter at all what you write about– just put down whatever comes to your mind. This has an incredibly clarifying and freeing effect. At the beginning of the day, you get to notice and release all of the things that are clouding your mind as you begin. This process is very helpful for me whenever I feel stuck creatively or overwhelmed with my work or parenting, or any other kind of funk.
4. Create something. Using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring understanding to the parts of your life that you cannot logically comprehend. Likewise, there are things that you cannot express through words– so use your creative side, engage your senses, or move your body through dance as a way of expressing yourself. This could also come in the form of learning a new skill– which helps get us out of our heads and more into our bodies.
5. Channel your energy in a positive way. When I am feeling upset about something, my house usually looks cleaner than usual. Anger really gets me cleaning, as does trying to problem-solve. If you are feeling stuck, consider your surroundings– are things piling up around you? What is your living space doing for your mood? Clearing out clutter and improving your environment can really help you shift your own energy, and focusing on a task like this can also give you space to think and work some things out.
6. Get Bodywork. Have you ever heard the saying, “We carry our issues in our tissues?” It’s true. I am a bodyworker myself, and it’s amazing how our emotions and life experiences find their way into our muscles and other tissues, and stay there, producing pain, limitation and even disease. Getting massage or energy work, or acupuncture from a talented practitioner can be extremely helpful as you navigate life changes and difficult situations. Releasing tensions in your body helps in also letting go of tensions and anxieties in your mind. I have witnessed powerful personal transformations as a result of effective bodywork treatments.
7. Give in to it, for a time. Make an appointment with yourself to be in your funk, and to explore those feelings. In the past, making a mixed tape (or CD) of songs that I felt embodied my emotional state, helped me. I listened to that music, and felt those feelings until they eased. This is the opposite of the advice most of us get– “If you’re feeling sad, put on some peppy music! Dance it out!” This can work sometimes, but I feel this approach is more of a band-aid than a healing process.
8. Give to others. Kindness can heal, and gratitude does, also. When you begin to feel sorry for yourself, make a point of doing something kind for someone else. Or reaching out and thanking someone for the joy or nourishment they have brought into your life. This will take your mind off of your own issues and open the world up to you just a bit. And guess what? Kindness and good deeds are proven mood-lifters! Even making a donation to a charity helps.
9. Go outside and move your body. Taking a walk in nature is helpful in many ways. Invite a friend to walk with you if you want, and then you get three-for-one therapy: community, exercise, and talk therapy. I like to walk alone and think– it can be very clarifying. For me, there is no bad mood that can’t be dispelled by a walk in nature. Sometimes when I get there I am very skeptical about whether or not it will work, because I’m feeling so bad. But it always does, every time!
10. Play! Playing or having fun may feel like the last thing you want to do. But it can be so helpful. Laughter is an incredible stress reliever, and going out and doing something frivolous or silly helps put life back into perspective. This is also a great way to bring your family into your life when you have been brooding. Watch funny movies, look for good stand-up comics, play silly games with your kids. Do cartwheels if you know how– being upside down once in a while is good for you, too! Whatever it is that makes you smile, laugh, or forget about all the things that are on your mind– do more of that, and make it a priority.
There are things on this list that are really good…I love the idea of doing time with the issues – I never do this. I rarely permit myself the time and energy to sit down and just feel all the feels. I’m too busy running around and doing stuff for everybody else, and I almost never take the time to truly acknowledge what is going on inside of me. Perhaps if I paid more attention to that, it’d make things easier overall. I know that my lack of sleep helps nobody, but I am working all the time at addressing that…I think it’s getting better. I wish that I had time for walks outside, and massages, but they’ve never been a high priority item on my list, so…they get pushed aside. Sadly, I have not one but two gift cards for massages sitting in my damn purse, but I’ve never used either of them. Part of the problem is giving the time to myself, but the other is a fear of the massage process/naked thing/relaxing so much that the ol’ caboose makes a breezy sound (not mine, silly…I don’t do that – the massage therapist)…I drive myself insane with my fretting. I need therapy.
I love the idea of writing my bad thoughts away – that’s what I do with you guys here, so…thanks. I’m a huge fan of the suggestion to do creative things – we all know that I’m not your average bear, and thinking outside the box happens to be my specialty, so…I’m always down with that. I’m a huge fan of giving to others…nothing makes me happier. I made dinner last weekend (on Sunday – pretty much the only day of the week that I have time to do some cooking), and delivered plates to a few people. It was kind of them to eat my food, but it made me even happier thinking that I could do something for them and make their day just a smidge easier. Yaaa!
Finally…I’m right down with the idea of taking time to play. I’ve been working REALLY hard this year at work to get home earlier, not spend quite so much time at events or in my office…and just do stuff for me. I’ve seen a few movies recently (woohoo!), and I’ve gone out for some truly lovely meals. I’ve taken time at home to just sprawl on the couch and watch TV (if you haven’t seen the first episode of Dave Grohl’s documentary series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway yet, rundon’twalk to the nearest idiot box and hit that bad boy up – the series is going to be AMAZING! Fo’shizzle! ), and I even left work early one day this week to pick my Muppet up from school. I’m trying to focus more on doing stuff for my own enjoyment…and it’s starting to work. I just need to sustain it, and work at chasing the demon voices in my head away. Like the picture up there says – I need to run my day, or it’ll run me.