Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tuesday Topics - Two Ways to Get Out of a Funk

I think I need to preface this by saying that I don't, nor have I ever suffered from depression and I won't even begin to pretend that I understand what it's like. What I'm referring to in this post is not depression, but merely a funk.  

I do suffer from varying degrees of seasonal affect disorder, which I have affectionately dubbed as my "Winter Funk."   I also get into "I'm Disgusted With the World Funks" occasionally.  Here are two things I do to help get out of a funk or head one off at the pass before it gets out of hand.

Physical Movement

On August 13, the day after the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville, VA, I woke up with a heavy heart and a mind full of sorrow, disappointment, anger, and fear.  Knowing how events like this sometimes trigger a funk, I immediately got up, laced up my walking shoes, and took myself to the park so I could hit the pavement.  During the second, third, and fourth miles of my six mile walk, I found myself almost running as my mind churned away, trying to make sense of the events that had happened the day before.  When I finished, the world hadn't changed, the events of the days before had not been erased, and I had not made any sense of the senseless acts.  But, I felt better and my mind was more clear because I had processed things.

I discovered how beneficial physical movement is to helping me ward off a funk or to help get me out of a funk about a decade and a half ago after a difficult breakup.  Heartbroken and devastated, I worked out my sorrow and my frustrations in the community pool, where I swam dozens of miles in the months following the breakup.  I remember telling a friend, who had commented on the amount of swimming I was doing at the time, that the breakup made me feel like I had been taken out into the middle of the ocean, thrown over board, and had been told to "sink or swim."  So, I swam.  And swam.  And swam. Several months after I started, I realized that the man who had broken my heart had finally left me, or rather, that I had released him.  I could no longer hear his voice, I could no longer remember his laugh, I could no longer remember what his touch felt like.  Somewhere in that pool, during one of the countless laps I swam, I had gotten over him.

Spending Time in Nature

I grew up in the Appalachian mountains in the southern coalfields of West Virginia.  The mountains were prominent part of everyone's everyday lives because they were literally everywhere.  I lived on a mountain and went to community schools that were located in a valley between the mountains.  To get to school, I had to go down the mountain; to get home, I had to go up.  To go to church, I had to traverse several mountains.  And for years, my grandfather and father went down in to the earth, underneath the mountains, to extract coal.  No matter where I looked, be it out of any window in my high school, from the porch of my grandparents' house, or from my window of my childhood bedroom, there were mountains.  Because I grew up surrounded by mountains, I grew up surrounded by nature.

I have discovered, especially after moving out of Appalachia, how important being in nature is to my mental well being.  During trying times, I find myself drawn to sitting on the deck, listening to the birds.  I also find myself drawn into the depths of my local park, where I am surrounded by thick, green trees and open skies.  When life gets particularly difficult and I need a time out, I retreat to my childhood home, where I sit in my favorite chair on my parents' deck, and absorb the sights and sounds of nature that are all around me.  

I don't know why or how, but being connected with nature makes me happy and it helps me clear out the mental clutter that mind sometimes collects.  It's a connection that is particularly powerful, but very hard for me to describe.

As I've mentioned earlier, I suffer from seasonal affect disorder and it typically hits in January and last through March.  This past winter, given the new exercise routine I had adopted, I spent more time exercising  and exercising outdoors.  I can honestly say that my winter funk was probably the mildest its ever been. I attribute much of that to making physical movement a priority in my life and being outside as much as possible.

What are some things that you do or incorporate into your life to help you get out of a funk?

As always, thanks for stopping by.  

Linking up with Jenn @ Quirky Pickings:


  1. ericka! thanks for posting. anybody can be in a funk, you know. depressed folks don't get to call dibs on that. :]

    i was on swim team in high school. we'd do three to five thousand meters in practice, depending on whether there was a meet that weekend, and then i'd come home and go for really long walks or bike rides around my neighborhood. i was REALLY active, and it did help me to some extent.

    and i was in love once. being with him felt like floating on the top of whirlpool. being without him, for the longest time, felt like i was drowning in it. it's not a sensation i ever want to know again. swimming's one of the best therapies i know. nothing like taking your rage out on the water. :]

  2. When I get in a funk I like to hit the lake for the weekend no phones tv or anything just the quiet and peace of the lake and fishing


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