You might be in a funk right now, or you have been in a funk in the past. The reality is that we have ALL been down in the dumps at some point in our lives, and most likely, we will be down in the dumps at some point in the future. It’s just part of life really. It’s part of being human.
It’s like the law of gravity. What goes up must come down, and what goes down must come up. Sounds like the real estate market! I don’t know why people are always so surprised when the interest rates go up and the market goes down. Hasn’t it done that forever? I’m pretty sure it will do it again and again. Just like getting into a funky funk!
Anyway, the key is to not stay down for too long. If you stay down for too long then it could lead to sadness, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, anger, frustration, lack of sleep, and poor behaviors. How do I know this? Because it happened to me.
A few years ago, I was going through a divorce, a very lonely empty nest, the death of my brother, struggling to find a job, climbing my way out of debt, and dealing with moody menopause! Combine all of those ingredients together and you have yourself one big shit sandwich. I’ve eaten a lot of shit sandwiches in my life, but this was the shittiest of shit sandwiches ever. I fell into a deep funk, and I completely lost my mojo.
During that time though, I learned the tools to help me feel better, to get back up, and to get out of my funky funk. Honest to goodness, I still use these same tools for when I feel a little sad, a little off kilter, and a little blah. As a matter of fact, I used some of these tools last week!
Despite what most people think about me, I’m not always lively, chipper, and happy-go-lucky. I am most of the time, but not all of the time. I just know how to move through the energy of a funky funk and get to the other side. That’s all. Once you learn how to do it, it gets easier and easier to reach for the life preserver and save yourself.
I want to help you save yourself, too. I don’t want anyone else out there to suffer, to stay down in the dumps for too long, to be in a funky funk, or to eat any shit sandwiches, so today on The Midlife Makeover Show, you are going to receive my personal toolbox filled with 8 of my special tools to help you get your mojo back!
Are you ready funky bunch? Funky bunch? Isn’t that the name of a band? Oh yes! Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch! Okay, Funky Bunch, let’s dive in!
Tool #1: Speak kind words to yourself
This is the most important tool of them all, and sadly, it can be the most challenging. When we feel like shit, we tend to treat ourselves like shit, which only makes us feel like shit even more.
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. Your mind will either be your best friend or your worst enemy –– your greatest cheerleader or your most horrible critic.
YOU are the one who gets to decide which voice you hear inside that precious head of yours. YOU have control over your thoughts. If you want to be a control freak, then this is where you get to be one!
And trust me, I know how hard it is to think happy thoughts when you feel like absolute crap. You have to dig deep though and sprinkle some goodness on your stinkin’ thinkin’.
Speak to yourself the way your best friend speaks to you.
I’m pretty sure your best friend doesn’t speak to you like this:
I can’t believe you put yourself in this situation again.
Can you do anything right?
You are absolutely pitiful. Good golly.
You should be on the floor bawling your eyes out!
What a loser.
If your best friend does speak to you this way, then you need a new best friend! I would bet though that your best friend speaks to you like this:
Hey. Girl. It’s gonna be okay.
You are strong and resilient, and you WILL get through this. Hang in there!
You are loved and you are beautiful. Let me say that again. You are loved and you are beautiful!
Just take a deep breath, relax, and let go.
I will take care of you.
I love you.
THAT is how you need to speak to yourself. Be your best friend, be your cheerleader, and remind yourself that you will get out of this dark storm, and when you do, the sun will shine, you’ll have a smile on your face, you’ll feel joy, and you will feel so proud of yourself knowing that you got through it like a boss.
So again, Tool #1: Speak kind words to yourself. Get out your pom poms and cheer yourself through your funky funk!
Tool #2: Connect with friends
Speaking of your best friend, call her! Or him! Or if you’re like me, I have a few best friends! Call all of them! Do you remember that show called, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? They had an option for the contestants if they didn’t know the answer to a question then they could phone a friend.
It’s the same for you. If you don’t have answers to your questions, solutions to your problems, or if you just want to go out for dinner and talk about anything BUT your problems, then phone a friend!
Friends can be great sounding boards and they can also help you get your mind off your problems by changing your state of energy.
Depending on your level of funk or your level of stubbornness, it might really be a struggle to reach out and ask for help. It was for me. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I didn’t have my shit together. Not even to myself. I waited until I was so bad that I went to the ER for chronic depression and anxiety attacks. No shit.
Don’t wait. Be proactive and push yourself to get through the darkness. Let your friends help you. As Dionne Warwick would say, that’s what friends are for.
And ya’ know what? If you don’t feel like getting into the details with your friends as to why you feel like crap, then don’t. If you feel better about phoning a friend and saying, “Can you meet for coffee?”, then go with that.
The point is to just get out, change your environment, change your energy, change your thoughts, change your behaviors, and change your feelings. Again, YOU have control over your thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviors, so take control!
That reminds me of a prayer that got me through my rough patch, and it might help you too. It’s the serenity prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I CANNOT change
The courage to change the things that I CAN
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Ask yourself, what can I change? What is in my power and control? No matter if you’re just having a bad day or you’re going through a traumatic, life altering event, there is always something in your power that you can do to make the situation better. Always.
Tool #3 Move your body
If you follow me on Instagram, then y’all know I l like to dance! As a matter of fact, I posted a reel on social media today of me dancing to Funky Town. And if you saw the video then you already know the 8 tools to get out of a funk and into Funky Town!
Whether it’s dancing, walking, hiking, cycling, weight training, boxing, skiing, surfing, stretching, or skipping to the mailbox for your big check from Publisher’s Clearinghouse (do they still exist?), move your body! Moving your body boosts your energy, improves your mood, and helps with relaxation and sleep. And that is exactly what you need to get you out of a funk.
There’s an article on healthline.com that states:
It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity to the hormones (hello menopause!), which relieve feelings of depression (3Trusted Source).
The article further goes on to say: Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain (Trusted Source3Trusted Source).
For those of you that are not crazy about exercise, listen to this –– it doesn’t matter how intense your workout is. It seems that exercise can benefit your mood no matter the intensity of the physical activity. In fact, in a study in 24 women diagnosed with depression, exercise of any intensity significantly decreased feelings of depression (4Trusted Source).
So in other words, just MOVE YOUR BODY! You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a ridiculous amount of weight to reap the benefits. As Americans especially, we think of exercise as a way to lose weight, and you most certainly CAN lose weight by exercising, but think of exercise as way to improve your overall well-being. Moving your body is a way to improve your emotional state, not just your physical state.
For me personally, I LOVE yoga. Love. Love. Love. Yoga is so relaxing and therapeutic. Plus, you can do it right in your own home. I roll out my yoga mat on the living room floor, set my laptop on the coffee table, log into innerdimensiontv.com, choose a class, press play, and start my yoga practice. Simple as that.
There are so many levels of yoga, too, so don’t think you need to be trained in the Cirque du Soleil in order to do yoga. Even if you just do some light stretching on your mat. If yoga isn’t your thing, then go for a walk. Do something! I promise that moving your body will help you feel better!
Tool #4: Eat healthy foods
Food is fuel and your body is the vehicle. If you put crappy fuel in your car, it’s going to have a difficult time getting up the hill, right? The same for your body. If you are putting crappy foods into your body, then you’re going to have a hard time getting up the hill. Or out of bed for that matter! It will be even more challenging for you to use tool #3 of moving your body if you’re not putting good fuel into your body.
The same way we tend to think crappy thoughts when we feel like crap, we tend to eat crappy foods when we feel like crap. A lot of that behavior points to emotional eating. I just recently interviewed Jessica Procini live on Instagram, and she specializes in escaping from emotional eating. If you didn’t hear that interview, I highly recommend listening to episode 68. It was excellent!
Whether you struggle with emotional eating or not, it’s critical that you eat good foods to fuel your body and mind. Especially if you are feeling in a little down in the dumps.
Food is fuel and food is energy. Food can help you regain strength, energy and balance in your life. It’s quite simple –– good food = good fuel = a good body = a good mind = good feelings = feeling good!
You might be wondering, okay, but what do I eat? I will keep that simple, too! Aisle one! Anything in aisle one! Well, as long as aisle one in your grocery store isn’t the bakery section! Aisle one is typically fruits, vegetables, nuts, raw, real food. Bottom line is to keep it light. Lots of water, too! Your body needs water! I talked about Blue Zones on a previous episode but check out bluezones.com. Blue Zones was a study done of people in the world that live past 100 years old. These people definitely know how to fuel their bodies!
One of the things that I do if I reeeeeally feel like crap and I need a quick way to feel better is that I do 100% juicing. Mostly vegetables and very little fruits. Fruits contain a lot of sugar, so keep those to a minimum. One more recommendation for you is to check out the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with Joe Cross. His website is rebootwithjoe.com. It’s a great documentary how he completely changed his physical, mental, and emotional health by simply juicing.
Overall, I eat very well, but if my body or mind is feeling a little sluggish, I incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Vegetables are alkaline and they help to offset the acidity in your body and mind. If you’re in a funky funk then you’re probably thinking negative thoughts and negative thoughts are acidic. Everything is energy including your thoughts, so again, going back to Tool #1, speaking kind words to yourself is like feeding good food to your brain and body. Such fascinating creatures we are!
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, unless you want to, of course, but just take the extra steps to eat better when you are feeling a little down. The foods you choose will make a huge impact in your overall wellbeing.
One more thing, google alkaline food chart and you will find charts that show you the pH levels of foods. On one end of the spectrum are foods that contain high levels of acidity like alcohol, coffee, and red meats, and on the other end of spectrum are foods that are more alkaline like broccoli, asparagus and cashews. It’s quite interesting to look at the chart and see if what you are eating is more acidic or alkaline. You can even buy pH test strips at the health store and test your pH levels. Once you eat more alkaline foods, you’ll see your acidity levels come down, and most importantly, you’ll see your mood go up!
Tool #5: Walk in nature
This tool is similar to tool #3 of moving your body. It’s a twofer! A 2 for 1! You can move your body AND soak in the benefits of being in nature. Why be in nature? Nature is very grounding, calming and restorative for your body, mind, and soul.
Most people, I included, tend to stay cooped up inside when we feel down. I’ll admit that it was really challenging for me to do this when I lived in Chicago in the dead of winter, so I understand that for some people, the outdoors is not so inviting right now. You have to force yourself to get outdoors though.
I made a comment earlier about us being fascinating creatures, and we are just that –– creatures! We are animals! Roar! And just like a tiger or a squirrel, we need to be in nature. If you kept a tiger in a cage for too long, it would go cuckoo for Coco Puffs. Animals need to be in their natural habitat. If you think about it, as human beings, we didn’t stay indoors all the time. We weren’t inside little cubicles punching away at a computer. No, we were roaming the land, gathering our food and being one with nature.
I’m not saying to sell everything, become a caveman, and go live off the land, but just get outside! Go! Hug a tree, take a stroll in the park, smell the flowers, take off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet. And again, if you live somewhere right now where everything is dead and frozen outside then take a little weekend trip somewhere to refresh, reboot and reenergize. Getting outside in nature for just a few hours will do wonders for your well-being.
If you watch my stories on Instagram, then you have seen me out hiking the trails in Madeira, Portugal. A few people have sent me messages saying that I look so happy, and you know what? I am. Smelling the fresh air, hiking up the mountain, watching the clouds in the sky, hearing the cruise ships toot their horns as they come into the harbor, and tasting the yummy Coral beer at the pub! Definitely not alkaline, but definitely refreshing! So yes, I am much happier now that I can be more outdoors.
And ya’ know what? When you plan a little outdoor adventure during your week, whether it’s trip out of town, or simply a trip to you’re a community park, it gives you something to look forward to. And when you have something to look forward to, it gives you feelings of positivity and hope, and those feelings will give you the boost you need to get out of a funky funk! So, plan something fun to do this week! Your body, mind and spirit will be oh-so happy!
Tool #6: Meditate
Oh no! Did Wendy just say meditate? Dang it! Everyone is pushing the meditation thing these days! And here I am, too! Well, I’m not going to push it on you, but rather encourage you to give it a try.
Meditation saved me and pulled me out of my depression, so it’s certainly worth a shot if you’re feeling a little blah right now in your life. The same way you need to incorporate more veggies to get your body more alkaline, you need to incorporate more meditation to get your mind more alkaline.
There are numerous studies on how meditation works, and I won’t rattle off a bunch of stats here, but just know that meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and get you out of your funky funk!
If you’re new to meditation, don’t stress about it, because that defeats the purpose of meditation! There are several ways to meditate. You can do silent meditation, guided meditation, meditation with music, etc. I personally like guided meditation.
I recommend the Calm app. I use it all the time. There is a variety of mediations on the app depending on your needs: sleep, anxiety, work, self-care, focus, relationships, personal growth, etc. They even have specific meditations like calming down after you get in a fight with your partner. I may have done that meditation a few times! There is something for everyone and every situation.
The purpose of meditation is not to stop your thoughts, but to watch your thoughts. When you close your eyes, imagine your thoughts going by like clouds in the sky. Don’t judge your thoughts, just observe them. You’ll find what naturally happens is eventually you’ll have less clouds in the sky of your mind. Furthermore, you will have more white, fluffy clouds filled with happy thoughts and less dark, stormy clouds filled with negative thoughts.
Going back to Tool #1 of speaking kind words to yourself, meditation helps you become more mindful of how you speak to yourself. You’ll be able to clearly hear the chatter of the cheerleader and the critic. And when you do, you’ll want to turn up the volume on the cheerleader aka your best friend and turn down the volume on the critic aka your worst enemy. Meditation will feed your body, mind and spirit with more love, gratitude, and joy. That will certainly get you out of a funk!
Tool #7: Talk to a therapist
I have been going to therapy since I was a teenager. Not for all of the past 35 years, but on and off when I needed it. If you find the right therapist and the right therapy, it can change your life. It did for me. And quickly.
Just getting the emotions out of your heart and into the open can lift the weight from your sadness, frustration, depression, or anxiety.
I personally process my emotions and solve my problems by talking them out. I know! Shocking, isn’t it? I usually sit there for an hour running my mouth to my therapist while she sits in silence nodding her head, and then when our time is up, I’ll say, “Whew! Well, I feel better!” Sometimes it’s just having someone there to provide a comfortable, safe space for you to vent and get it all out.
Again, I haven’t done therapy consistently over the decades. Just when I needed it. Sometimes old emotions or new emotions will bubble to the surface that I need to be addressed, so I head to the therapist. If something traumatic happens, like when I went through a divorce, my ex-husband died, my brother died, dealing with my family’s addictions, a friend that betrayed me, etc., I head to the therapist. When I can’t get the critic and enemy in my mind to shush it, then I head to my therapist. When I am worrying too much about life, I head to my therapist.
For those of you that haven’t done therapy and you’re a little hesitant, give it a try. Or maybe you went to therapy, and you didn’t have a good experience. Sometimes finding the right therapist and the right therapy can be a little trial and error, but it’s worth it.
A therapist is a great catalyst to help you become the next best version of you. Therapists are there to help you get out of funk, to love yourself, and to live a good life.
I found my most recent therapist, Kristina Sundermann, when I moved to Chicago by good ol’ Google. The stars aligned for me to find her, too. I just got done reading the book, The Body Keeps the Score which I highly recommend, and I was interested in finding a therapist that did a therapy called EMDR to help me overcome the trauma of watching my brother die.
I didn’t think that I had suffered any trauma, but I had been experiencing panic attacks, nightmares, and depression. I couldn’t seem to kick the critic out of my head for even a minute, so I needed help ASAP. Kristina was the right one and she had the right therapy for me.
If you need a therapist, there are so many options for finding one. You can even chat with someone on Zoom or over the phone these days. Whether it’s a big funk or a little funk, sometimes we need a little more than a glass of veggie juice, walking in nature, or a yoga class to pull us out if it. I get it. Been there, done that. Just use every tool you can to get your life back on track.
Tool #8 Watch funny movies
This is my favorite tool of them all because laughter IS the best medicine! Trying to feel good again can be a struggle in itself, and sometimes, all you need is a break from all the trying. I’m not in any way promoting escapism and making a habit of escaping from your problems, but I am promoting taking a break from your problems. We can exhaust ourselves thinking about our problems, so give yourself a little break.
Put on your PJs, make some popcorn, curl up on the couch, turn on the Netflix, find a funny movie, and laugh your ass off! It might seem so simple but taking your mind somewhere else and energizing your mind with laughter can improve your emotional wellbeing. Watching Austin Powers or As Good as It Gets may not be a cure-all but vegging out and laughing is good for your soul.
Give yourself permission to relax, too. I used to be the worst at allowing myself to take a break. If I did take a break, then I felt guilty for taking a break and all I did was think about what I should be doing! Don’t do that! Just relax and allow yourself to chill out!
If movies aren’t your thing, or as Austin Powers would say, that sorta thing ain’t my bag baby, then find something to make you laugh, smile, and let go. Go to the comedy club or watch stupid pet tricks on YouTube. Heck, you can even watch me do stupid tricks on Instagram. Haha!
Speaking of social media, be aware of the peeps on your feed. If they don’t brighten your world, then buh-bye! Adios! Unfollow! Whether it’s on the world wide web or in your personal world, surround yourself with good people and good experiences. If you have a friend that is a Debbie Downer and you’re already feeling down, avoid Debbie like the plague. She is the last person you need around you.
Going back to the serenity prayer and what YOU can control, control what comes into your body, your mind, and your spirit.
I’m glad that you chose to listen to this episode, and I hope it fed your body, mind and spirit with lots of love and joy. I hope it gave you hope, too! Hope to get out of your funky funk!
Please share this episode with anyone you know that might be struggling. Let’s get them out of a funk and into Funky Town!
Let’s review the 8 Tools to help get out of a funk!
Tool #1: Speak kind words to yourself
Tool #2: Connect with friends
Tool #3: Move your body
Tool #4: Eat healthy foods
Tool #5: Walk in nature
Tool #6: Meditate
Tool #7: Talk to a therapist
Tool #8: Watch funny movies
Thanks again for listening! You listening to this show is like my therapist listening to me ramble on about whatever. It helps me out of a funky funk and it makes me happy, so thank you.
Something else that makes me happy and hopefully makes you happy, too, is creating The Midlife News. You can sign up for The Midlife News at http://themidlifenews.com. You’ll receive insider alerts on new episodes, blog posts, live shows, free workshops, and special offers.
Alright Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch, get out there in this wild world and be bold, be free, be you!
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