Have you ever woken up and just felt off? Or you’ve woken up in a fine mood and then all of a sudden you’re feeling blah, and you can’t put your finger on it other than to describe it as being in a funk?
As working moms, we all go through funks now and again. Sometimes you start off the day feeling tired, checking your phone and seeing 20 emails waiting for you and the kids aren’t being cooperative; other times your clients are badgering you, traffic was insane and your husband didn’t empty the dishwasher like he promised.
Being in a funk can feel like a mixed bag of emotions like annoyed, unmotivated and defeated. It can be an infrequent “off day” or two, or you can have a string of weeks, months and even years where being in a funk is just your norm.
Whenever I’m in a funk, I can’t help but think of that scene in the movie Steel Magnolias where the character Ouiser says “I’m not crazy. I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!” It’s a funny scene, but sometimes it can feel like the truth.
It’s easy for working moms to get into a funk because we tend to neglect our own needs for the needs of others. When you are more concerned with making everyone else happy, the string of days and weeks where your needs went unmet, can eventually turn into a never-ending funk.
It doesn’t even have to be when something isn’t going your way; it can also happen after some big goal is accomplished or a special occasion has passed. When you are no longer focused on something exciting like achieving a promotion, your child graduating from college or taking that dream vacation, you may find yourself in a funk afterwards.
This week I’m going to discuss what causes a funk and three simple things to do to get out of one.
What causes a funk
Whether you woke up in a funk or ended your day in one, it’s important to understand what causes it so you have the power to get out of it. When you know the cause, you can change the effect, helping you to become a little more funk-proof.
The good news is that a funk is not caused by your children, your work, the traffic or the time of year, even though it may seem like it. The cause of a funk is ALWAYS your thinking.
You may not be very excited about this, but it is the best news I can give you. Since your thoughts are what’s causing your funk, then that means you have the power to get out of it without anyone or anything needing to be different.
By understanding that your thoughts are 100% responsible for how you feel, then you can begin to see why you are in a funk. Making a thought-feeling connection allows you to take ownership and control over how you feel, how you act and ultimately how you experience your life.
If you can relate to the quote from Steel Magnolias, and you feel like you’ve “been in a bad mood for 40 years”, then you’re going to have a little extra work to do because you’ve created a pattern in your brain. How you practice thinking about the people, places and things in your life, will become your default setting.
When you’ve practiced complaining, gossiping or finding fault, your brain is then on automatic pilot and will continue to interpret things in a negative light. This is when a funk can become your norm and feel impossible to get out of.
I once heard the analogy of a speedboat and a cruise ship to describe changing your thoughts in order to get out of a funk:
- Sometimes you can turn around your thinking quickly, like turning the direction in a speedboat
- Other times it takes more effort, time and patience, like turning around a cruise ship
Whether your funk is just for the day, or it’s been around for awhile, you always have the power to get out of a funk when you change the thoughts that created it.
The quick fix
You’re probably no stranger to the power of gratitude and its effects on your life, or at least you’ve heard all the buzz about focusing on things that you’re grateful for. But what you may not know is that it’s relatively impossible to be in a funk at the same time you are feeling gratitude.
By taking a momentary break to focus on something you are grateful for, you give your brain a chance to take a detour. Just a short respite can give you a break of sunshine in the dark clouds that often happen when you are in a funk.
To use gratitude to get out of a funk, you can start small like being grateful for:
- Waking up
- A roof over your head
- A job
- Transportation to get you to work
- Clean drinking water
Most people resist the idea of gratitude when they’re in a funk because they think they have to think of some big, melodramatic thing to be grateful for; not true. Another reason they resist gratitude is because it might feel phony, as if they’ll be “disloyal” to their funk if they focus on something less negative; not true.
The most important thing to know when it comes to gratitude is that it has to be genuine and believable. If your thought isn’t believable, it will not create the funk-relief you are looking for.
For example, if your thought is “Ok, whatever…sure, I’m grateful for waking up today” you are not going to create a feeling of gratitude. But if you honestly take a second to consider and believe how amazing it is that you woke up today and that you get the chance to spend the next 24 hours being alive, you WILL create gratitude, even if it’s for a moment.
The key is being intentional and choosing on purpose, what you want to focus on. Your female brain’s default is to see the world in a negative light because it thinks it’s protecting you; gratitude changes the coding and the default programming.
The switch fix
Another way to help get you out of a funk is to consider the idea that everything that happens in your life, is FOR you; wanted or unwanted, a success or a failure. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.
Consider for a moment – what if everything that has happened or is happening will help you become who you are meant to be? When you have the perspective that life happens FOR you, it’s much easier to get out of a funk.
To do this, you first need to ask yourself how this could be happening FOR you and decide to think of the situation in this way. Here are some examples of how to use this approach:
- Question – How can having a difficult boss be happening FOR me?
- Answer – I can decide that it’s a great opportunity for me to work on acceptance and for learning how I do and don’t want to be a leader in my future role as a boss.
- Question – How can this crazy traffic be happening FOR me?
- Answer – I can decide that it gives me the extra time I’ve been looking for to listen to an audiobook, or to call my friend I haven’t had the chance to talk to in awhile.
- Question – How can my children leaving dirty dishes in the sink be happening FOR me?
- Answer – I can decide that it helps me to know that we need to have a family meeting to discuss the house rules and that raising independent, helpful children is important to me.
The key with the switch fix is understanding that your thoughts are always optional. Since you can choose how to think about any situation, why not choose a better feeling thought that serves you?
By deciding how to think about situations in your life, you will get out of a funk quicker than you may realize. As author Wayne Dyer explains “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
The helpful fix
When you are in a funk, you probably tend to be inwardly focused, thinking that things are unfair. In order to “turn that frown upside down”, it’s actually helpful to be helpful.
By changing your focus from what’s going wrong for you, to what you can do to make something right for someone else, you can turn a dark day a little brighter. It doesn’t have to be a big, grand gesture; just a simple act of kindness will suffice.
By doing something nice for someone else, you are changing the story in your brain. As I’ve shared before, when you change the story, you also change the ending.
Here are some suggestions of how you can make someone else’s day a little brighter, while also brightening yours in the process:
- Pay someone you know, or don’t know, a compliment
- Ask a coworker if they need help
- Send a quick text telling someone you’re thinking of them
- Let another car merge into your lane
- Pay for the person’s coffee behind you
- Compliment another parent for their child’s behavior
- Send your child’s teacher a note of thanks
- Make a donation to a charity you believe in
- Send an email to a favorite client, telling them how much you appreciate them
Taking action to help someone else shifts your focus. Instead of thinking about whatever put you in a funk, you can look around you for opportunities to make someone else’s day.
Whether you woke up in a funk or you ended the week in one, getting out of it isn’t as difficult as you may assume. Even finding gratitude for a funk helps you appreciate those times when there are cloudless skies.
So the next time you feel like you’re in a funk, remember that since your thoughts got you into it, they can also get you out of it. Whether you try gratitude, seeing how a situation is really for you or you do a small act of kindness for someone else, your funk is not here to stay if you don’t want it to be.
- It’s easy for working moms to get into a funk because we tend to neglect our own needs for the needs of others.
- By understanding that your thoughts are 100% responsible for how you feel, then you can begin to see why you are in a funk.
- What you may not know is that it’s relatively impossible to be in a funk at the same time you are feeling gratitude.
- Another way to help get you out of a funk is to consider the idea that everything that happens in your life, is FOR you; wanted or unwanted, a success or a failure.
- By changing your focus from what’s going wrong for you, to what you can do to make something right for someone else, you can turn a dark day a little brighter.