What The Funk?!?
What the Funk?!?
Have you ever gotten into “a funk”?
I’ve noticed a trend in many of the women I work with, and specifically in stay-at-home moms with children who are around the ages of 6 or 7. During the baby and toddler stages, a stay-at-home mom’s life is pretty darn busy. There’s no time to think about or do much else. Raising young kids is rewarding but it’s also a full-time job! But when kids reach the age of 6 or 7 and head off to school every day for nine months of the year, it can leave mom wondering: “What now?”
This can lead to a mini mid-life crisis of sorts. After all, you’ve identified yourself as “mom” for the last half decade. Maybe you even sacrificed a career to stay at home and raise your kids. It’s easy to lose your identity as an individual and feel a little lost when you begin to have more free time.
Women at this stage of life often go through “a funk”. I know I did. I felt lost, scattered, disconnected, and depressed. Sometimes these feelings led to self-destructive behaviors like overeating, skipping workouts, or withdrawing from my family. Like I mentioned in this post about learning to love your body, it’s really hard to get motivated to take positive actions when you feel so bad about yourself and/or life seems chaotic.
What the funk?!? How do I get out of it?
Determine the severity of your funk. You just don’t feel like yourself. Your thoughts are scattered. You’re moody. All you want to do is lay on the couch. This happens to me once a month and lasts about 3 days (yes, I’m talking about PMS). I’ve learned to accept that this is going to happen like clockwork, but that it’s very temporary. I cut myself a break for those few days and take it easy until it passes. On the other hand, if you’ve felt depressed or out of it for weeks or months on end, it’s time to address the issue.
Get back in touch with your greater life’s purpose. Yes, raising healthy and happy kids is a life’s purpose in itself. But eventually your very well-adjusted children will leave the nest! What happens next? What do you really want to do? What is your life’s purpose beyond raising successful children? What do you love to do? What makes you happy? What gets you excited for tomorrow?
The answers to these questions will help to lift you out of the funk by giving you direction. You may decide you want to dust off your diploma and pre-baby skill set and go back to work. Or maybe you’ll decide to go back to school or earn a certificate in a field that interests you. Perhaps you love animals and will feel a calling to volunteer at an animal shelter. Maybe you have a story to tell and you’ll decide to write a book. Getting in touch with a higher purpose will help you organize your life and prioritize activities that can help you move toward that purpose or goal.
Force yourself. Often the antidote to a funk is forcing yourself to do the very things you’ve been avoiding. Exercise is a great example. Exercise is a well-known antidote to depression. But when you’re depressed, getting out of bed or off the couch can be the most difficult thing to do. Similarly, taking a shower, getting dressed, tidying up the house, and preparing a healthy meal are all things that will help you feel better, but can be hard to do when you’re down.
Force yourself. This is the hardest part of getting out of a funk. Commit to 10 minutes. Make yourself go outside and take a walk. Make yourself take a shower. Make yourself brush your hair and your teeth. Make yourself put on a bra and a real pair of jeans. Make yourself prepare a hot meal. Why? Because you are deserving of these basic acts of self-care…and once you do something positive, you WILL feel better!
Accomplish something early. Something I learned from friend and fellow coach, Sam Livingston: If your day begins lazily or is completely chaotic, that sets the tone for the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you make time for yourself and feel accomplished early in the day, it sets you up for positivity and productivity! (That’s why exercising in the morning can be such a powerful tool for success, by the way.) I cannot say enough about how this simple “practice” can change your life!
Get into the habit of getting up a little earlier every day to accomplish something. Exercise for 20 minutes, listen to a personal development podcast, fold a basket of laundry, make your bed, prep meals for the day, or write a gratitude list. The feeling of accomplishment will carry over into the rest of your day.
Seek help. Getting into a depressive funk can be a repetitive and vicious cycle, especially if it causes you to engage in self-destructive behaviors like overeating or drinking too much. If your funk isn’t due to normal circumstances (like being sad over the death of a pet or the glum feeling before a period), or it seems to be lasting a long time, don’t be ashamed to ask for help! Talk to a close friend or trusted family member, hire a life coach, or seek the services of a licensed psychotherapist.
What the funk?!? Ditch it quickly!
When you’ve gotten into a funk, the feeling can last hours, days, weeks, or even months. And it’s not just moms! No one is immune — men and women from all walks of life go through these “funky” phases too! Even kids can experience it! Bottom line: getting into a funk can keep you from reaching your goals and living your best life. But only if you let it! Remember that funks are a normal part of life, and they will pass. You can help these stagnant phases glide by faster by staying aware, catching it quickly, and using the tips above to lift yourself up.
I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading!
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This post is dedicated to mom, client, and friend, JV, who is more amazing than she realizes. When she finally sees this for herself and finds her path, the world will be a better place for it.
Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer
Learn more about the author here.