Simple Steps On How To Get Out Of A Funk

Updated November 16, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

We’ve all had days when we feel down and don’t know why. 

Before we start, let’s clarify one thing: it’s okay to be in a funk, it’s normal to feel down and not be sure why, and, fortunately, there are steps that you can take to get yourself back into a relaxed and optimistic mindset.

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 a “productive” endeavor, then we may begin to 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.

Sometimes, if we don’t make time to focus on our own perspective and our mental and emotional health, we may hit a wall. 

Without doing that 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 feel like we can’t shake a lingering sense of sadness, apathy, or lack of motivation. There are a few reasons why we may have gotten to this state but rest assured that there are also ways to manage it positively!

Pressures Related Funk

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Many of us feel so conditioned that we have to be constantly happy and progressing that on those 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 the day off, many of us choose to forge ahead and try to shake the funk. And often that works just fine, until finally those feelings catch up with us.

Things like negative self-talk, 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 are one of those individuals who does not take a sick day when sick, it may eventually catch up to you in the form of an affected 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 things formerly interesting to us are common symptoms of depression

For individuals struggling with depression, getting out of a difficult spell may feel especially difficult, because depressive episodes may last days, weeks, or even months. 

Despite this, there are steps one can take to get out of a funk and gain momentum towards feeling better. For example, treatment for depression may include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, or problem-solving therapy.

Getting Out by Getting In

One way to get out of a funk can be to stop fighting it and simply let it happen. This is not to suggest that you allow yourself to fall into a negative thought spiral, but just acknowledge the emotions and let them work themselves out without becoming frustrated further by them. 

Allow yourself to feel, and then let it go. Your emotions are in a constant state of flux, and what you are feeling now will likely change with time. 

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

This can be a chance to have a day-in. 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 Action Goals

Being in a funk can sometimes feel like being stuck in the mud. The longer the funk lasts, the harder it feels at times to get out of it. 

One way to cope with this is to set small action 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 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 big, healthy meal to nourish your body. Treat yourself to something special, however small, like an at-home spa day, a cup of tea, warm bath, or a luxurious skin care routine. 

Tips for Coping with a Funk

  1. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without mentally 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 do breathing exercises for ten minutes.

  4. Write down ten things you are grateful for.

  5. Move around, stretch, and sweat a bit to help release endorphins.

  6. Watch a comedy and laugh out loud.

  7. Call a friend, parent, or loved one.

  8. Put on upbeat music and dance to it.

  9. Try a new hair style, makeup, or outfit.

  10.  Put on your favorite song and sing out loud.

  11.  Take a long walk.

  12.  Go out into nature.

  13.  Light your favorite candle or use some essential oils for aromatherapy.

  14.  Try cooking or baking a dish you love.

  15.  Draw, sing, write, or get creative somehow.

  16.  Help someone else.

When to Seek Professional Help

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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; we need to allow time for that 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. This involuntary break is the type of funk that it is often most difficult to climb out of again. Being in a temporary funk is normal, and taking a mental health day can be healthy, and necessary.

However, if you or someone you love seems depressed and is having a hard time coping positively, 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. BetterHelp offers services from certified professional counselors and therapists.

Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy, with 94% of users saying they prefer it to in-person therapy and 98% making significant progress in their recovery and overall well-being. A review of 17 studies about online therapy concluded that sometimes online therapy was even more effective than in-person therapy in treating symptoms of depression. 

However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2014, nearly 60% of US adults with mental health conditions did not receive any sort of help or treatment, due to things like lack of availability in their area, stigmas surrounding therapy, cost, or their condition making it difficult to leave their home.

Takeaway

It is unfortunately very common for people to not seek help, even when they need it. Online therapy combats many of those difficulties and stigmas with the following benefits:

  • Online therapy was shown 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 online.

  • Online therapy is available even to people who live in remote areas or may not have immediate admission to a certified therapist’s office. 

  • Costs like childcare, time off work, and transportation are eliminated because the person may receive the counseling at home or in the office.

Continue reading below for reviews of some of our licensed therapists from people who needed some help getting out of the funk.

Reviews

“I’ve been seeing Taaka for about 7 months now. Looking back on my first session, I don’t recognize the person I was during that time in my life. With her help, I am more confident in who I am and find I struggle way less with my mental hang ups. My sessions always feel like a safe place to work through my anxiety. Taaka listens, provides feedback and helps me challenge whatever issue I’m struggling with. I always look forward to my sessions with her. She has helped me feel like myself again and there will never be enough “thank you’s” the world that truly show my gratitude.”

https://www.betterhelp.com/taaka-bennett/

“Darlyn has changed my life in a very short amount of time. I had never participated in counseling before, but with Darlyn’s support I went from feeling stuck and anxious to having courage to initiate changes in my life, both minuscule and drastic. She offers incredible perspective and asks great thought-provoking questions. Chatting with her via messaging and our weekly sessions has become a great support system and I would 10/10 recommend her to everyone I know.”

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