How to Get Out of a Funk

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Everyone experiences periods of temporary sadness and lack of motivation. It's called being in a funk, and while some of its symptoms may mirror clinical depression, being in a funk is different in that it's a temporary situation and not a clinical diagnosis.

Funks typically pass on their own, but that doesn't mean you need to be stuck in one for the duration. Instead, you can take action to help yourself feel better and happier. We'll discuss how you can tell if you're in a funk, and what to do about it to getting you feeling back to yourself as quickly as possible.

What Does Being in A Funk Entail?

Being in a funk means that you feel unhappy, whether that's with or without a life event that caused it. Sometimes a traumatic event can be the trigger, but other time you might just have a very long bad mood. It also generally means you feel lacking in motivation. These are some of the signs that you're in a funk:

  • You feel sad for hours or days on end
  • You don't want to do anything that you usually enjoy
  • It's hard to engage with others
  • You want to stay in comfy clothes like pajamas or sweats
  • Watching tv or otherwise entertaining yourself passively feels like the only thing you're up for
  • Eating is less enjoyable than usual; alternately, you may want to eat lots of comfort foods
  • You feel slowed down, like you're swimming through mud in order to walk
  • It's challenging to do your job
  • Life feels hopeless

Step 1: Recognize Where You're At

If a few or more of the above signs that you're in a funk apply to you right now, the first thing to do to get out of it is to accept that it's happening. Denial can be tempting, but it doesn't help anything. You might feel guilty for being in a funk because nothing has gone wrong in your life, or you might feel ashamed because overall, your life is great and you want to be feeling grateful for it.

It's perfectly normal to occasionally land in a funk, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. So if you're in one, know that it's ok! You've done nothing wrong. Acknowledge to yourself that this is where you're at. Recognition and acknowledgement are key to moving past anything.

Step 2: Allow Yourself Rest

Now that you know you're in a funk, take some time to rest. Rest is vital to our surviving and thriving in life, and it helps everything from our moods to our immune systems. Let yourself take hours, or even a day or two, to gather yourself and just chill out. If you need to schedule this ahead of time due to work, childcare, or other life commitments, that's fine. Just give yourself a chunk of time to do whatever feels most relaxing to you.

You may notice that a period of rest is enough to get you out of a funk. If not, there's lots more to be done! Let's look at all the various ways you can take action to help yourself feel better.

Step 3: Take Action

Even though a funk will usually pass on its own, it's an unpleasant way to be. Being proactive can help you feel like yourself again more quickly. Try one or more of the below to get back on track.

Connect With Others In A Way That Feels Safe

You're probably not up for a night on the town or playing a sport, and that's fine: Connection with others doesn't even need to be in person to be beneficial for your mental health. Reach out to a friend or loved one and let them know you're in a funk.

Allowing yourself to be supported and heard can do wonders for your mental health, and it will also help take your mind off your problems to hear what's going on in the life of someone you care about.

Practice Self Care

Self care is anything that you do for yourself that makes you feel taken care of. It relieves stress and can improve your mood, which is the goal here. Self care can be very simple, such as luxuriating in your bathtub with a good book, or it be more complex, like going out and getting your hair done.

There are even subscription boxes for self care to help you along. You know what makes you feel the most cared for, so start with those activities.

Give Your Nervous System A Boost

Our vagus nerve is the main nerve bundle of our parasympathetic nervous systems. It plays a pivotal role in helping us feel relaxed instead of stressed. Stimulating your vagus nerve has been shown to be beneficial for relieving stress and improving moods, and is even used to treat depression.

There are many ways to stimulate it that are free easy, from humming or singing to cold plunging. There are even quick ear massages that can be highly impactful in helping you reset your nervous system. It takes just a short while, and you may find that vagus nerve stimulation alone is enough to get you out of your funk.

Move Your Body

We all know that exercise benefits our mental health, but if you're in a funk then chances are a workout isn't high on your priority list. That's totally ok! Moving your body at all is better than not. Here are some ways you can help yourself out of a funk through movement, with no weights required.

  • Dance around in your home
  • Do some easy and light stretching
  • Take a short walk--the fresh air can help you perk up, too
  • Go for a swim
  • Toss a ball with a friend
  • Jump rope
  • Roller skate or roller blade

Try to Eat Healthy Foods

Proper nutrition can counter stress and improve our moods, while diets lacking in nutrients can contribute to worsening mental health issues. Nearly all single, whole foods have benefits for your brain, your body, or both.

Stock up on nutrient dense foods that can improve your mood by improving your gut flora (where much of our serotonin is produced) or providing important nutrients like omega 3. Vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds, are prime examples of foods that can help you feel better mentally.

Let Yourself Be Creative

It can feel healing and uplifting to do activities that are creative. Here are some ways you can help lift your mood with creativity.

  • Draw or paint
  • Write or journal
  • Plan a vacation
  • Start a craft project
  • Try cooking or baking something new

Rearrange Your Space

Sometimes changing your environment can help you change your mood. By creating a space that is new and unfamiliar for you, you can potentially trick your brain into thinking differently.

You can start small, by switching up some of your home decor and putting it in different places, or go big by rearranging your furniture into a new configuration.

This is a safer exercise than taking a risk like cutting your hair, which you may not like the results of, because if you don't care for the changes, you can just put things back where they were before.

Do Something Good for Others

Acts of kindness have been shown to have mental health benefits for the giver as much as for the receiver. Any act of service can help you to get out of a funk and feel better. For example, you can think of someone who has done something nice for you, and send them a thank you note.

You could also make a small donation to a charity that's important to you, volunteer your time at a local organization, or go through your belongings and donate some items that you no longer use or need.

A Word From Verywell

It's important to understand the difference between being in a funk and suffering from depression. Always seek professional help if you think you may be experiencing a mental health issues or crisis; therapists are available online and in person to aid with your mental well being.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.