Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What the Funk?!?

Anyone ever find themselves in a funk?  I know I do.  More often than I would like to admit. 
Funks are brutal and consuming and exhausting.  If anyone knew all of the energy it was taking me to first, have and then, fight all of the negative thoughts swirling in my head when I'm in a funk, they would understand why I groan so loudly when the alarm goes off (it marks the start to another day of negative thought thinking and fighting) and why I sigh with pleasure when my head hits the pillow at night (it marks the end of negative thought thinking and fighting for the day).
There are all types of funks: work funks,  running funks, diet funks, relationship funks, and this list goes on and one.  If I'm honest I tend to find myself in nearly all of them all at once.  Funks, at least for me, are really cyclical.  I start thinking, "I feel like crap," then that turns into, "I feel like crap, so I don't want to work out," which leads to, "I feel fat and lazy because I haven't worked out, I should eat some ice cream," which then goes, "I feel fat and lazy because I haven't worked out and I've been eating ice cream sundaes for a week, might as well order a pizza," which of course causes, "I look terrible, I'm sure my husband doesn't love me anymore," and so on and on and on.  **Disclaimer:  I never said funks were logical. I know they are far from logical.  I know that all of those funky thoughts floating around out there are pretty darn absurd, but that doesn't make them any less real. 
So what the f@%k to do about funks???  Something's got to give.  We can't keep feeding the cycle.  The cycle is way too overwhelming for that.  We have to battle back.  We have to find our way out of the funk and into the light.  Here are things that work for me when I'm in a funk:
  1. Workout anyway.  No matter how terrible you're telling yourself you feel and no matter how much you just don't feel like it, get up and sweat.  I swear by the get up and sweat technique.  The other day I was ready to murder my husband, let me be clear, this was in no way his fault and 100% the funk's fault.  Everything he said made me want to either explode or cry.  You know what I did?  I laced up and went out running for an entire hour.  I ran in tears and in frustration.  I ran until I was all out of tears and all out of frustration.  I would have gone longer, but I felt sure that the emotions had passed and it was getting too dark outside to go on any longer.  When I got back in the house, the desire to Gone Girl my husband was gone and I was back to loving him like crazy (of course, it helps that he's awesome and had gone to the grocery store and started dinner for me while I was out running).
  2. Remember, this too shall pass.  Funks don't last forever.  Trust me on this one, they always pass.  It's their nature.  Funks are really crappy and terrible.  And, when you get good and in one, they feel interminable,  But, they eventually will run their course.  Funks come and go, it's just that getting to the gone part is really hard.  What helps me speed up the process is remembering that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I know I will feel better relatively soon.  I focus on the fact that the funk is just a way I'm feeling and not who I am.
  3. Indulge in it.  Look, sometimes a good cry, sleep, binge is all we really need.  I don't know why, but sometimes our brains/hearts/bodies are just looking for some sort of release.  It's okay to give into it every now and then.  Grab a box of Kleenex, a soft pair of really stretchy pants, your best sappy movie, and a tube of cookie dough and just go with it.  I can't tell you how much better I've felt after a good sobfest.  Now, be careful here.  It's okay to make a stop in Funktown, but do not bring everything you own and set up shop there.  The point of indulging is to get it out of your system and move on.
  4. Give it form.  This one seems weird, but trust me it works.  Give the funk a form.  Write it all out in front of you or call a friend and say all of the words out loud.  Negative thoughts seem HUGE when they are running on repeat in our brain, but when you see them in front of you or hear them spoken out loud, it's easy to recognize how base-less most of them are.  You can see/hear the smallness or ridiculousness of the negatively and once you've taken those thoughts out of your head and given them a form, you can GET RID OF THEM.  Sometimes, right after I write down all of the crazy dark things I'm thinking, I stop and make myself write all of the counter-points to those thoughts.  First, "I feel fat," then, "I am healthy."  Or, "I'm ugly," followed by, "my husband finds me attractive."  The point of the exercise is to get the thoughts out of your head in order to make room for the clearer, more positive thinking that is to follow.
  5. Have an attitude of gratitude.  I think this sums it up:
    Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
    It turns what we have into enough, and more.
    It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity.
    It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
    Gratitude makes sense of our past,
    brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
     - Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More.
  6. Do something for someone else.  Look, it's just plain hard to believe that voice in your head telling you what a piece of crap you are when someone else is looking into your eyes and telling you a heartfelt, "thank you."  Let's face it, funks are pretty self-centered.  When we get all funky it's because we are allowing our focus to be all about our own selves.  So, turn the focus outward.  See what you can do to make other people feel better.  I promise you, you'll both end up better.
I wrote all of this because I've been in particularly sh#tty little funk lately.  I can feel it starting to lift.  Physically and emotionally I'm starting to feel better.  So, I put this all out there for you just in case maybe one of you was feeling a little funky too.  I want to be happy and I really want you to be happy too.  And, I have no idea why, but this lady makes me feel a little happy. 


  1. I have been looking for a local fitness blogger to follow and I stumbled upon your blog through healthylivingblogs.com. I love reading fitness/health blogs but sometimes have a hard time relating to people that post about running the streets of Boston, do yoga in central park, etc. Not only do you fill that "local" void for me, your post about funks describe me EXACTLY right now! I'm glad to know I am not the only one that goes through weird time. Looking forward to reading more posts of yours in the future!

    1. Carly, I'm so glad you found me!! You know, I was really scared to hit publish on this post. It felt really personal and like I would be exposing parts of myself I wasn't sure I was ready for everyone to see. But you know what? I ended up hearing from several people who said that they were also in funks and that what I wrote helped in some small way. And hearing that from everyone (you included!!), in turn helped me feel better. Thank you so much.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Yes, funks are cyclical. But why must they always return? I find it's mostly mental. A good run always helps. Or dancing to some loud music in the living room. If actually angry (which is rare) I find cleaning house tends to help.

    1. Christie, you are a much better person if you can channel your anger into cleaning!!! I'm impressed.