Be Where You Are: 4 Ideas to Consider When You're Feeling Down

Ever have a day where you absolutely feel in a funk, and you can’t for the life of you figure out why?

I had a day like that in recent history that stands out in my mind.  I ended up unable to complete any tasks I had set out for that day, completely checked out, feeling down for what seemed like no apparent reason.  I tried all my tools for cheering myself up, but nothing seemed to work.

I had gotten enough sleep the night before, so that couldn’t be it. I had a very light workday on Monday, so it wasn’t that I was so burned out from work.  What could it be?

It wasn’t until I took a moment to stop and think back that I actually was able to feel the fog slightly lift.  Here’s some of the things I had to realize:

Find your trigger event.

I had to think back to when I first started to feel down in the dumps.  What was I thinking or experiencing?  I realized a big trigger moment was a text I had received from a friend that increased my stress and worry level.  I had to choose to set a boundary with this friend, even though it was uncomfortable to say no.  I had to make some decisions about the words I was going to say to be polite yet firm.  This was emotionally taxing, and I felt the discomfort as an aftereffect the rest of the day.

Check your energy level.

I also realized that this was a Monday.  And not just any Monday – a Monday after I had just started a second part-time job that had me work a total of 22 hours over three days.  It didn’t help that those hours were revealed to me Friday morning, so I was unable to prepare for the busy weekend during the week.  The job required me to stand a lot, as well as learn a lot of new tasks that I hadn’t done before.  Once I realized each of those aspects, I saw how my body had been affected by my work hours and was feeling the effects.

Assess self-care.

I also had to think about self-care.  Each week I try to do a “Sabbath,” or a day off of work where I spend time caring for my spiritual health and well-being, as well as my emotional and mental health.  I typically spend that time recharging alone through reading and journaling, and connecting with close friends.  Even if I can’t feasibly spend an entire day on a Sabbath, I like to prioritize at least setting aside an afternoon and evening to rest.   None of that was able to happen due to my unknown work schedule, however, and because of that I knew I wasn’t able to give myself the rest I needed.

So what am I to do, if I can’t snap out of the funk?

Knowing this didn’t immediately make it better.  I still felt in a funk, although knowing why did have its benefits so I could be aware of it potentially happening again.

What I had to do was this: accept it.

I had to acknowledge that all those factors listed above put me in a place where I was not my best self, and accept the limitations that came with that.  I chose to spend the rest of the day resting and doing tasks that weren’t too energy draining, scheduling unfinished tasks to be completed the next day. 

And by the next day, I had snapped out of it.  I was able to complete the tasks I needed to, and learned to take a break when I need one.  The best part is knowing that I can use this in the future when I feel that funk coming on: figure out what the triggers are, and make a priority of taking care of myself.

 

Do you often find yourself in a funk and have a hard time getting out of it?  You may be struggling with depression.  Good news?  I can help.  Contact Restored Hope, an Ann Arbor-based counseling office, to schedule an appointment to start your journey of freedom from depression.  Call me at 734.656.8191 to schedule your first appointment or fill out the form here.  I’d love to talk with you!