Simple Steps On How To Get Out Of A Funk

Medically reviewed by Brianne Rehac, LMHC
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

We’ve all had days when we feel down and don’t know why. it’s okay to be in a funk and it can be normal to experience bad moods from time to time and not be sure why, There are steps that you can take to get yourself back into a relaxed and optimistic mindset.

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What causes the funk?

To avoid feelings of restlessness or lack of purpose, many people maintain a fast-paced lifestyle. Sometimes, if we are not using our brains and bodies for what we perceive to be a “productive” endeavor, we may experience guilt. To avoid that guilt, we choose to keep moving, keep our brains active, and check items off the list. But amid all this movement, sometimes we forget one thing: to just be. If we don’t make time to focus on the bigger picture of our mental and emotional health, we may hit a wall. 

Without mental health “housekeeping,” we may start to feel fatigued, lethargic, and unmotivated. We may even lose interest in things that we used to love to do. It may seem like we can’t shake a lingering sense of sadness or apathy

Pressure-related funk

Many of us are conditioned to be constantly happy and progressing. On days when we feel less than awesome, it can feel like there is something monumentally wrong with us for having an “off” day.

So instead of taking time to take care of ourselves, many of us choose to forge ahead and try to shake the funk. Actions like distracting yourself from difficult feelings and working through sickness may work to keep you feeling productive in the moment, but they can often be detrimental in the long term. If you do not take a sick day when you need to slow down, it may eventually catch up to you in the form of an altered mindset or even mental health changes

Depression-related funk

Sometimes, what we call “funks” are indicative of a more serious clinical issue. Lack of motivation, fatigue, lethargy, and loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities are common symptoms of major depressive disorder. For individuals struggling with major depression, emerging from a funk may seem especially difficult, because depressive episodes can last days, weeks, or even months. 

Even if a funk is caused by depression, there are steps one can take to work through a rough period and start feeling better. Treatment for someone who experiences clinical depression may include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, or problem-solving therapy.

Getting out by getting in

One potential way of moving forward is to stop fighting difficult emotions and simply let them happen. This is not to suggest that you allow yourself to fall into a negative thought spiral, but rather to acknowledge the emotions you have at the present moment and let them work themselves out without becoming frustrated further by them. 

Allow yourself to feel sad. Your emotions are in a constant state of flux, and what you are feeling now will likely change with time. Feeling sad or disappointed is an unavoidable part of life.

Sometimes a funk is just our mind’s way of saying, “Time out. Give me a moment.” 

This situation can be a chance to have a self-care day. Consider closing the blinds, reading a book, binge-watching a series, breathing a bit, or just giving yourself time to be still and rest.

Set small  goals


Being in a funk can sometimes seem like being stuck in the mud. The longer the funk lasts, the harder it can appear to emerge from it. You can cope with this sensation of being “stuck” by setting small goals for yourself throughout the day to get some momentum going.

Being concrete and specific about goals is also helpful, as abstract, broad goals may be hard to achieve. For example, “exercise more” may inspire less action than “after lunch, go for a 15-minute walk outside.”

Self-care is key

One positive aspect of being in a funk is that it’s an opportunity for self-care. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish! This is a time for you to slow down and prioritize your needs. 

Self-care doesn’t mean doing whatever you want in the moment. Often it means taking care of yourself the same way you would care for a child or friend. For example, take some time to make a nutritious meal to nourish your body. Treat yourself to something special, however small, like an at-home spa day, a cup of tea, a warm bath, or a luxurious skincare routine. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
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Tips for coping with a funk

  1. Allow yourself to feel emotions without chastising yourself for them.
  2. Take the funk as a sign that you need some self-care and take a day off.
  3. Mediate or practice taking a deep breath for ten minutes.
  4. Write down ten things you are feeling grateful for.
  5. Move around, stretch, and sweat a bit to help release endorphins.
  6. Watch a comedy and laugh out loud.
  7. Flip through photo albums of happy memories.
  8. Lean on your friends or family members for emotional support.
  9. Put on upbeat music and dance.
  10. Try a new hairstyle, makeup, or outfit.
  11.  Put on your favorite song and sing out loud.
  12.  Take a long walk and enjoy some fresh air.
  13.  Find beauty in nature by going on a hike.
  14.  Light your favorite candle or use some essential oils for aromatherapy.
  15.  Try cooking or baking a dish you love.
  16.   Draw, sing, write, or engage in another creative activity.
  17.  Help someone else or become involved with a local charity.
  18.  Try a new food or turn to your favorite comfort food.
  19.  Mindfully invest in a relationship. Plan a date or coffee with your best friend.
  20.  Seek help from your medical doctor if your mood doesn’t improve with time. 

A funk can be a “reset” button

As human beings, we all experience days when we just do not want to participate in life, work, or even family. It is not easy to take a break from our responsibilities, and even when we can, we might feel guilty. 

But our minds need breaks or else we might become burned out or stressed. Forcing our brain to take a break whether we want it to or not – this is the funk. An involuntary break can be the most difficult type of funk to climb out of because we may feel emotionally drained. But being in a temporary funk is normal, and taking a mental health day can help you gain valuable insights into how to move on.

However, if you or someone you love seems clinically depressed and appears to feel stuck, it may reflect a more serious condition. Differentiating between a temporary funk and clinical depression is vital. If you are experiencing clinical depression, it may be important to seek the advice of a licensed mental health therapist.

Bertha Myers, LPC
When I have a session with Ms. Myers, I feel "heard." She listens actively and helps me reframe negative thoughts, so I'm not immobilized by them. Her wise, pragmatic counsel has really pulled me out of a funk these last couple of months.”

Research shows that online therapy can help decrease symptoms of depression. For example, one study demonstrated how people who used BetterHelp experienced a significant decrease in depression symptom severity after engaging in online therapy.

Factors like lack of therapy availability in certain areas, stigmas surrounding therapy, cost, or lack of transportation can make it difficult for people to find mental health care. Online therapy platforms can help address these factors:

  • Online therapy has been found to be generally more cost-effective than in-person therapy.
  • Some social pressures around therapy and counseling are lessened or removed entirely when the therapy is delivered online.
  • Online therapy is available even to people who live in remote areas or may not have immediate access to a certified therapist’s office. 
  • Costs associated with in-person therapy, like childcare, time off work, and transportation, are eliminated with online therapy because counseling is available from home.


Going through a funk can be a common experience for many people. However, many coping tools can help you move forward to better days, including connecting with loved ones, spending time outside, starting therapy, or engaging in hobbies you love.

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