Being an adult can be stressful. It’s pretty much stressful for everyone. All of a sudden, you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and so on – there are bills everywhere. We pay for literal water. We pay for heating, streaming providers, we pay for someone to collect our rubbish. We pay tax. And so on.
So if you combine this daily grind and lifelong struggle to get ahead and prosper with the other sh*t that life throws at us (pain, heartache, work stress etc), it’s completely understandable that sometimes we get into a funk.
The first thing that happens to me when I’m in a funk is that I lose interest and motivation. So even though I’m obsessed with a TV show, for example, I just can’t be arsed watching it. Or, even though I know I need to hit 2,000 words a day to get my PhD thesis done, I sit and stare at the laptop screen and listen to a podcast with half of one ear and all of a sudden it’s 4pm and it doesn’t seem worth trying so I give up for the day.
What I have learned in the 15+ years since my anxiety was first officially diagnosed, is that sometimes, you just have to force yourself to have fun. Even if that means writing it on your to-do list. Even if maybe at the time you don’t feel like having fun. F*ck, you don’t even feel like putting a bra on. But if you can – even just for 2 minutes, manage to get yourself to do something that makes you smile, or laugh, or feel good – I promise you, it will take you that one step closer to clawing your way out of the funk.
So here are my Top 5 Ways To Get Out of a Funk by Forcing Yourself to do Something Fun (this title is way too long, roll with me).
I don’t mean like go dancing to a club or anything, although if that makes you happy, by all means. For me, this means putting on songs that make me happy and making like Cristina and Meredith and just jamming the f*ck out for the duration of said song. If I’m not exhausted by the end, I’ll do another one. Dancing is technically cardio, which means it’s good for you. And if you go hard, not only will you burn some calories, if you’re into that, but you will get the blood pumping and the brain releasing those all-important endorphins. This = getting you one step closer to getting out of the funk.
2. Take a luxurious bath in the middle of the day
Is there anything more decadent than a daytime bath? I think not. For me, the act of running a bath complete with bath bombs/salts/f*ck it, throw some flowers and crystals in there, is the ultimate mood-lifter. For some reason, it feels like a bit naughty? Like you should be doing something more productive but f*ck it, this is your time. Light some candles. Play some music, or (safely) place a laptop or iPad somewhere and watch a whole movie. Keep filling up the hot water until you get pruny. Smell delicious, luxuriate, and emerge like Venus from the ocean.
3. Call your funniest friend
Phone calls seem to be less and less common these days, unless it’s for work, in which case the f*cking phone never stops ringing. So pick up your phone, hit the name in your contacts of the friend who cracks you up the most, and shoot the sh*t. I swear to the Universe, a proper laugh will do you a world of good. Yes, I know you don’t feel like talking to anyone. But after you spend ten minutes laughing with your hilarious mate, you will feel that fizzy inner feeling that makes you more likely to look around you and think, “right, I’d best pick up those 40 cereal bowls in my bedroom, and possibly get rid of some of them forever because who needs 40 cereal bowls in their life?”
4. Go for a walk
I know, I know. But it kind of works. I don’t expect you to go anywhere fancy – I’m not saying you have to go hiking or traipse the moors Jane Eyre style. Just get out of the f*cking house or apartment. Like, even just walk to the shops. Walk around the block. Plan your route to include passing by houses you know have doggos in the front yards. Walk through a park, walk past the pub and think, “at least I’m not having a 9am beer!” and then pat yourself on the back but don’t feel superior, we’re talking about ourselves, here, okay? Again, adrenaline is good, and fresh air is good (your Nan was right) so get outside. I promise you don’t even have to have a shower first if you can’t manage it.
Animals are the best thing on the planet and that is just a scientific fact. Dogs are heavenly, saintly creatures who love all creatures and people, and do not judge you, and also will still like you if you haven’t showered. If you are lucky enough to have a resident furred animal in your home, take some time to work on your relationship. Cuddle up. Share some food. Have a chat. You will 100% feel better. If you do not have your own pet, find a friend who does. Or alternatively, go to a park and try not to look scary so people will let you pet and cuddle their dogs.
I hope this has been helpful to you. I know that everyone’s different. If your mental health is suffering badly, please seek help. There is no shame in asking for help or taking it.
In the meantime, I’m going to go and run a daytime bath.