Lloyd Dobler: Why can’t you be in a good mood? How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?”
Constance: Gee, it’s easy.
~ Say Anything, Cameron Crowe, 1989
Have you ever been in a funk? Or a snit? Or a crummy mood for no apparent reason?
If not, I don’t believe you. You are human.
I’m human too and I’ve been in a funk for the last day or so. Maybe it’s the cold gray weather. (It’s supposed to drop down to minus 20-degrees F tonight with the wind chill…ugh!) Maybe it’s something else. I’m not sure. All I know is I’m feeling cranky.
Since I’m in a funk, I’ve been thinking about the various ways you can try to extricate yourself from a bad mood. As I pondered approaches, I realized that what works depends on what the funk is related to in the first place.
Here are a few possibilities along with things to try to help you de-funk.
1. Feeling overwhelmed. If you’re cranky because you have way too much to do, taking time to exercise can help. Sometimes making lists or cleaning up the disaster area that is your office also helps. Feeling like you are in control of something, even if it’s just a pile of papers can be empowering. (“I am the ruler of my paper-filled domain!”)
2. Feeling lost. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like everything you’re doing is a waste of time. Or you look at your to-do list and you can’t figure out what’s really important, so you don’t know what to do next. Talking to someone else to get clear on “the next step” can help. Sometimes bouncing a few ideas off people in forums or in person can help.
3. Feeling irrationally depressed. Some days you might be in a bad mood for no apparent reason. In this case, getting out into nature can help. Seeing sunlight definitely helps. (Those of us located in the Pacific Northwest are all too familiar how the many months of dreary cold and gray can bring you down.) In the absence of real sunlight, I also have a little light box. If light-deprivation isn’t your problem, listening to very loud music can boost your spirits too.
4. Feeling disgusted with humans (clients, stupid telemarketers, lawyers, tax accountants, whatever). If the human race is bringing you down, consider brushing, petting, or otherwise just hanging out with a pet. Furry critters are awesome, and they can’t talk.
5. Feeling unproductive. Sometimes I can whittle away time doing something wasteful (e.g. too much time on social media or reading blogs) and get myself into an “I’m unproductive” funk. It tends to be extremely difficult to get started, but the only thing that tends to actually work for me is doing something really productive like cleaning, writing, or designing something.
6. Feeling burned out. Leaving the house and going somewhere definitely helps. Ideally, I’d like to go walk on a tropical beach, but since that’s not an option right now, last weekend we took our dogs for a hike at the local wildlife refuge. Chatting on the phone with a friend or going out to lunch also can help.
Now that I’ve analyzed my funk, I realize that writing about it has helped de-funk me (#5) and I feel a bit better. It’s still gray, but tomorrow they are predicting sun!
Image by Stick Figure Simple