We all struggle. Life can be tough and mean and kick you when you’re down. For me, two or three days out of every month, I find myself in a funk. It’s the male version of what ladies go through each month, minus the bloating, bleeding and breast tenderness. I hit a rut for no reason. We all have those moments, maybe not on a monthly basis and maybe it doesn’t come out of nowhere, but the trick is to notice it immediately and get ahead of it before you’re three pints deep in Ben & Jerry’s. Hopefully the things on this list will help you, as they all seem to help me. Let me know in the comments other suggestions so we can all be funkless, but always funky. Remember, the daily struggles are what make our character and keep us on our toes (even if life smashes those toes sometimes).
It’s easy to get stuck in your head when you’re home alone. You forget there’s a world right outside that doesn’t revolve around you. Go for a long walk. Sit on a bench and people watch. Take the Staten Island Ferry for no reason. This isn’t about exercising; this is about looking up at the sky, taking a deep breath, clearing your mind and relaxing. It will give you that good perspective.
Instead of staring at daytime garbage TV (like, “The Real Garbage Men of Tuscaloosa”), listen to your favorite podcasts that inspire, relax and/or make you laugh. Any of NPR’s podcasts are great for this, but also just search iTunes podcasts and find something that looks good, there’s not a shortage of great podcasts.
Wait! Don’t stop reading because “study” fills you with dread. Sometimes we are conflicted, and regardless of what it’s about, it’s good to get a grip on our inner conflicts. I struggle with religion, so I’ll dive in and read about a religion I know nothing about to expand my views. Sometimes I feel stupid, like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever learned, so I re-read a classic. If you’re feeling anxious, read about it, and know millions of others are as well. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone in feeling alone.
Write A Letter
Pick a few people in your life, maybe a family member, an old friend you haven’t talked to in years, an old teacher, anyone who has touched your life, and send them a letter. I’m not talking about posting “Hope all is well!” on their Facebook page; I’m talking about sitting down and writing a letter. Talk about your life and inquire about theirs, share a fond memory you have of this person. Spend a few hours doing this, and as soon as you drop these postcards/notes in the mail you’ll feel better.
Get Lost In A YouTube Hole
I’m not ashamed to say I waste hours on YouTube watching cat videos, dogs becoming BFF’s with a bear, re-watching Jessica’s Daily Affirmation, old videos of Buster Keaton or Angela Trimbur ‘Dancing Like Nobody’s Watching‘ ..the list goes on. I’ll suddenly realize three hours have passed and my ribs hurt from laughing. It’s a great escape that will lead you directly out of funk-town.
Try Something New
Yoga does wonders for me. I sweat the negativity out. That started when I tried yoga years ago, wanting to see if doing something new would help. Be it yoga, gardening, writing, painting, it doesn’t matter, it’s never too late to try something new and you don’t have to be amazing at it, or even good, but it can be a release and possibly something that will open up a new side of you.
Go Solo To A Movie
It’s beyond me why anyone thinks it’s embarrassing to go alone to a movie. It allows you to disconnect from your digital life, and escape in popcorn and big screen entertainment. You’ll walk out of the theater being like, “Whoa it’s still light outside?!” and “Whoa I can’t wait to talk to everyone about this movie!” (Saying “whoa” is optional.)
Take A Drive
There’s something very calming about getting in the car and driving for no reason. It doesn’t have to be a road trip, but maybe there’s a roadside attraction you’ve wanted to check out, or a dive restaurant famous for their fried pickles. It clears the mind and allows solutions to organically come to you.
Do something for someone other than yourself. It sounds cliché but helping others helps you. You don’t need to join the Peace Corps. Just go sit with your grandmother, help out at your local soup kitchen, take your old books to a homeless shelter…there’re countless easy ways to better your community.
Talk like Beyonce all day from her “Drunk in Love” song, you’ll feel GOOD in no time.