When I was in 1st grade, something happened to me that I referred to as my “most embarrassing moment” for years to come. I was in the bathroom and had just washed my hands, but noticed there were no paper towels left in the dispenser. It was one of those basic silver metal paper towel dispensers that had a long, horizontal opening at the bottom.
As usual, I didn’t want to take no for an answer (even from a paper towel dispenser). “Maybe there are some stuck at the top,” I thought. I decided to stick my arm all the way up into the dispenser to see for myself.
My arm got stuck. I freaked out. I started trying as hard as I could to pull my arm out of the dispenser and it wouldn’t budge. My bathroom buddy ran back to the classroom and told our teacher. Nobody could get me out.
They had to call the SWAT team to come. No joke. I know it sounds extreme but I’m not exaggerating. The entire class had gathered around the bathroom door. I was completely mortified.
The funny part is, when the SWAT team arrived, they told me to fully relax my arm instead of tensing up and pulling so hard. As soon I relaxed, I was able to ease my arm out of the dispenser fairly effortlessly.
You see where I’m going here.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had work I wanted to get done, but I was deep in a serious emotional funk and trying to push myself to be productive anyway. The more I tried to force it, the further I got from actually accomplishing anything. I was stuck. The lying on my floor feeling hopeless kind of stuck.
Two of my best friends and members of my personal SWAT team, Ali and Kirk, had to come in and get my arm out of my emotional paper towel dispenser. They reminded me that in order to pull myself out, I needed to relax, cut myself a break, and stop pushing so hard.
Sometimes people think I do the work I do because I just feel so happy and healthy all the time. Not so. I love the life I’ve created, but I’m sure you can relate — emotions and mood dips (especially in the winter, or when you’re feeling exhausted) can feel really murky to get through. It’s the reason I used to be addicted to stimulants. Anytime I felt myself dipping below baseline, I would immediately bring myself back up.
Today, thankfully, I know there are much healthier ways to boost your mood, raise your vibe, and get out of a funk. In order to write this, I dug up an old email from a couple of years ago I had written to Jeanne, called: my “tactical depression-kicking game plan.” Sometimes it’s a battlefield folks, and it takes a village. (Did I mention I’m a total catch?) ;)
How To Get Out Of An Epic Funk
Call someone on your personal SWAT team.
Isn’t it funny how when we need help the most, it’s when we feel least likely to reach out? Talking to someone is always the quickest way to relief for me. Everyone feels pain and can relate to being overwhelmed, and talking it through can really lighten the mood. It’s important to have at least one person on hand that you can call when you need to be talked off a ledge. Think about it right now – who is on your personal SWAT team?
If you don’t have someone to talk to or your SWAT team isn’t picking up the phone, even bringing up the memory of someone who once inspired you can be helpful. Sometimes I even think about my ex. He used to say to me, “This isn’t you, this is the pain body. Just try to make it through the winter, ok? You can let depression drag you under, or you can kick its ass.” Just bringing up that memory makes me smile and gives me strength to get up and get moving. Maybe God or a higher power is on your personal SWAT team? If so, ask for help.
Exercise is just as high up on my list as calling someone. Yesterday after I got off the phone with one of my SWAT team members, I went for an hour long run. Even though I was tired and emotional, it felt incredible. I cried and listened to this song on repeat. So emo, I know, but by the end of the run I had a new outlook on my day, and my life. Exercise is extremely emotionally transformative. Yoga does it for me, too. It really moves emotions through the body. Read more on that — Yoga For A Broken Heart.
Listen to music.
Music will mend your heart. Seriously. Is there anything better than music to connect you to how you’re really feeling? There’s just something about heartfelt lyrics that can help us understand ourselves better, remind us that we’re not alone, and help us work our way out of it. Here’s a sampling of songs from my “Turn Your Day Around” playlist.
Writing in my journal is one of the best ways to get through anything. When I sit down and just let all of my thoughts out onto the paper, I often come to realizations that can completely change the course of my day. Writing a gratitude list can be especially mood-boosting. What’s great about your life? Truly, our lives are so much more incredibly magical than we realize.
Read a chapter of an inspirational book.
The reason people write self-help books is so you can use them to help yourself. And they help!!! A few of my go-to books are Journey to the Heart, The War of Art, Spirit Junkie, The Gifts of Imperfection or if you’re a writer, The Writer’s Life. (You can also pre-order Miracles Now. It comes out in April, but it’s smart to be prepared).
Cleaning your house or apartment or workspace can work wonders for your mood. Trust me on this one. I have this book about feng shui that says, “The stagnant energy of clutter pulls your energy down and can make you feel depressed. Feelings of hopelessness are compounded by clutter, and can be relieved to some extend by clearing it and creating space for something new to come into your life.”
Once you’ve cleaned, get some fresh flowers. Light a candle. Make a hot mug of tea.
Listen to a guided meditation.
When you can’t get yourself out of a funk, let someone’s words guide you out. Of course, I recommend Gabby Bernstein meditations. She’s the one who taught me to meditate, on a park bench in Manhattan in 2007. These ones here are super old school, but I remember listening to them in the bathroom stall at my old job whenever I was in a bad mood. The “climbing meditation” was always my favorite quick fix.
Get some perspective.
Help someone else. Watch an inspirational video. Do something that gets you out of your own head and think about ways you can be of service in the world. People are suffering everywhere. If you think of your suffering as the collective energy of everyone suffering (a concept I learned in this book), you can start to feel some compassion. Compassion can begin to dig you out of your rut.
So let me know what else you have to add to this list. What are your get-out-of-a-funk tactics? And remember, you’re not alone with your emotions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. SERIOUSLY.
I love you guys.