How To Get Out of a Funk:
The start of the new semester poses many exciting opportunities to make memories with friends, and experience independence. Still, it doesn’t mean the semester will run smoothly. The stress of school work, the high standards to succeed, and the general overwhelming feeling that college brings can negatively affect one’s mental health. Below are some ways to reduce negative emotions and encourage setting one’s mental health back on track.
The power of setting a good tone for the day
From personal experience, when I am in a total funk, I feel overwhelmed and unmotivated to get anything done. I tend to ask myself, “what’s the point?” Unfortunately, to begin this process, you’re going to have to rip the bandaid off and start somewhere. For example, if you wake up one morning not feeling ready to get out of bed (even if you’re just not in the mood or hit snooze too many times), take a shower, get dressed, and make your bed. I promise you, these physical actions are crucial to feeling like a human again, even if it’s eight o’clock in the evening. I always take a cold shower when I feel unmotivated during a funk. Not only does a cold shower increase endorphins, but it is an easy task that lets me feel accomplished and more motivated. These tasks will shift your mindset one step closer in the right direction, no matter how big or small.
Take time to do something that makes you feel good
Once you’ve gotten out of bed, the hardest part is over. We have all experienced a funk before, it’s hard to be happy or get anything done during these times. Your funk might be a sign that you need to put yourself first for a moment, and one of the best ways to do this is by seeking out some alone time. Whether that means going on a drive with all the windows down, taking a walk in a park, or jumping in a pool, engaging in literally any activity that you have enjoyed in the past is almost a guaranteed mindset shift. Doing an activity by yourself can allow you to discover more about who you are. This also allows for your self-worth to be nurtured since you decided to put yourself first for a moment. Not only will you continue to feel physically stronger, but you will most likely feel much better internally. Our minds are so powerful; our endorphins increase when we do something that we enjoy. This leads to a better mood, bringing you one step closer to escaping a funk.
Write down whatever is bothering you and burn it
In all honesty, many older people have told me to write my feelings down on paper to get out whatever it is that’s on my mind and then light it on fire. Every time someone told me this I was instantly annoyed because burning a random page from a journal seemed bluntly pathetic to me. It wasn’t until one of my friends told me she does this whenever she feels overwhelmed or sad. She seemed adamant about this working, so I decided to give it a shot. Once I felt down, I whipped out a piece of paper and began writing freely. I jotted down every thought floating around in my head, both the good and the bad ones. I looked at the paper. There was this feeling of contentment that took over as I stared at all these thoughts of mine on paper. I realized that that’s exactly what they are, just thoughts, and nothing more than that at the end of the day. I took the paper and burned it, satisfied to see them physically disappear. Since that moment, this practice has become one of the most therapeutic ways I keep my mental health in check.
Show gratitude for the small things
There are many highs and lows in life, but it’s totally up to us to determine how we view situations. When I am in a funk, I tend to focus on negative thoughts running through my head. In these times, it can feel like everything bad is attracted to me. Once I picked up on this pattern, I decided I needed to change the way I dealt with frustrating thoughts completely. For example, if it is a very cloudy day and the only thing I wanted was for the sun to beam / the UV to be high, I choose to instead focus my gratitude on the current weather. I’ll admire the way the clouds are placed in the sky and the different shapes they form. Showing appreciation for something so small trains your brain to see the world with a glass half full mentality, lifting your spirits and pushing you out of your funk.
To conclude, It’s important to acknowledge that catching yourself in a funk from time to time is just a part of life. Not every day will feel like rainbows and butterflies. Feeling low allows us to appreciate the times when we’re on cloud nine. It’s all normal. Even with everything I’ve learned about retaining positivity in the harder moments, there is still no perfect formula. Just enjoy the process, and understand that the highs and the lows are what make you who you are.
Eladia Michaels is a part of the Sex and the Crescent city column. She's a freshman majoring in Communications. In addition to being a part of the Crescent, Eladia enjoys trying new things with her friends, exploring new places around the world, and open window car rides along the beach. Writing to her is simply thinking with my fingers.