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Last Updated on December 23, 2021

How to Get out of a Funk and Take Control of Life

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How to Get out of a Funk and Take Control of Life

Part of the human condition seems to require us to get in a funk from time to time. We find ourselves in a state of uncertainty, confusion, overwhelm, apathy… whatever the flavor your funk personally takes, it isn’t pleasant.

These periods can last for days, weeks, months, and even years. They come unannounced. Sometimes we can rationalize our misaligned mood with external events, other times we can’t make sense of it. It simply is.

Whilst this guide isn’t promising a quick-fix solution to a state like this, it does aim to provide you with good news: some tools and strategies you can implement starting today, that can support you and ultimately help you to get out of a funk and take control of life again.

Let’s take a look at how to get out of a funk and take control of life:

1. Acknowledge It

Before even attempting to dive in with any of these suggestions, it’s well worth taking the time to acknowledge the funk you’re in. This step alone will help create distance, as you give the funk some airtime and remember that it does not define you. It’s just a passing state.

Give yourself the space to feel into it. You might give it through words, music or art. You might play a song that captures your mood. Whatever you do, acknowledge that this is a temporary state of being, it too shall pass, and you are certainly not alone in this experience.

2. Define the Problem

In some cases, the actual problem or reason for our funk is clear: we’ve split up from our partner, lost our job, been let down in some way. In other cases, there doesn’t appear to be a real reason for our malaise. On paper, everything is just fine… isn’t it?

It’s well worth questioning how ‘fine’ things really are and remembering that just because you haven’t lost a limb, doesn’t mean you have to accept your circumstances with a cheery smile. Everyone’s experience is relative to them, and no one needs to justify the funk they’re in.

Instead, you can use what feels like a negative experience as a signal pointing you to something that fundamentally needs your attention. Maybe your job seems fine on paper, but those snarky comments from a co-worker are taking their toll on you. Maybe the lack of appreciation your family is showing you have gone on for too long now.

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Spend some quiet time reflecting on the possible problems causing your funk, and make sure to write them down or record your thoughts in some way. This will make them easier to grapple with, and ultimately take you one step further towards making a change that could turn your whole situation around.

3. Meditate

As much as the internet may try to tell you “meditation is for everyone”, I personally won’t claim that to be the case. However, I do think it’s worth trying – at least once.

It also might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re in a funk: it might feel far easier to numb out and binge-watch your favorite TV series or spend hours on social media.

The reason meditation is so effective for getting through these times is to remind ourselves of one thing:

We are not our thoughts.

If it’s our thoughts that are causing our funk, then knowing this to be true can be a huge relief.

Rather than setting the bar too high, I encourage you to set a timer for just five minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, with your spine relatively aligned and your shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you. Begin to connect with your deep breath: possibly noting silently to yourself ‘in’ on the inhale, and ‘out’ on the exhale. When your mind wanders, as it will, do your best not to berate yourself for it and bring your attention gently back to your breath.

Even though you might not come out of your reverie feeling problem-free, it is a practice that, over time, can help deal with any storm in the sea of the mind.

4. Move Your Body

Whilst the root of our issues may be in our mind, it’s worth not forgetting the body. Endorphins are produced through exercise and help us cope with stress and even relieve pain. [1]

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Going for a run is a way that some people get out of funks, but if running isn’t for you, brisk walking or other physical disciplines can all help your body to create those happy hormones.

If you think you’re too busy for exercises, here’re 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

5. Connect with a Loved One

It can be tempting to isolate yourself when under the influence of a funk, but this is the last thing we need.

In connecting with others, we get to share the burden we’re struggling under. Having another person simply to listen, or distract us from any external problems, can be enough to bring us out of a funk.

When you notice you’re in a bad mood, think of family members who make you laugh or simply feel safe. Whatever you do, try not to isolate yourself at this time.

6. Write a Gratitude List

At first, you may struggle to think of something to be grateful for, and your mood may even take an initial nosedive at the first attempt of this task. However, this is the exact inner environment that the gratitude list thrives on if you give it a chance.

It’s an exercise that encourages you to seek out the parts of your life that don’t suck. At first, it might be as mundane as ‘a working washing machine’ or ‘the sound of rain.’ Like with all of these practices, the more we return to them, the stronger the effect in the long run.

A regular gratitude practice, for example at the beginning or end of each day, can actually train the mind to spot more instances of positive aspects in our lives. Not only can this be a great pick-me-up if we’re in the depths of a funk, but it can also help combat future slumps we may have found ourselves in otherwise.

If you need some inspiration for your gratitude list, here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life.

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7. Appreciate Beauty

When you are in a funk, you may feel like you are living in an empty world without color. Everything seems gray, hollow, and incomplete. When you focus on what you are seeing, you’ll start to experience it in your life.

Appreciation of excellence and beauty is among the character strengths that researchers have identified in human beings.

Taking the time to appreciate beauty can uplift your sense of well-being. You should try going for walk mindfully while looking for things that you find inspiring and beautiful purposefully.

Research studies have shown that people who enjoy spending time in nature tend to appreciate the beauty and enjoy lots of mental health benefits. If you can’t spend some time outdoors, you should find beauty where you are. You can look at photo albums, or read magazines.

8. Flow is Key

Flow is another popular concept that originated from positive psychology. Being in a funk means being stuck in the negative.

When you seek and focus on the positive, you’ll ultimately come out of it. Being in a state of flow means that you are engaged in something you enjoy such that all other thoughts and emotions fade away.

Most people get in a funk because they are unchallenged and bored. If you feel this way, you should experiment with looking for activities that are enjoyable and engaging. You need to find activities that are neither too challenging nor too easy.

Think of past activities or hobbies that used to excite you. Engaging in activities that put you in a state of flow is one of the best ways to get out of a funk. You can’t experience flow and funk at the same time.

9. Find a Mentor

You need to identify someone whom you admire. It should be someone who has been where you are and has gone through the ups and downs. Invite them for lunch or coffee or ask them to take a walk with you.

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As you nurture this relationship, you’ll gain valuable insights about life. These insights can boost your mental health and help you get out of a funk.

10. Embrace the Changes in Relationships

All types of relationships are exciting when they are new. Eventually, this feeling of newness wears off over time. Instead of seeing this progress as a bad thing, and a warning of doom, you should recognize that it’s part of life and a healthy progression of your relationship.

Accepting that things change will allow you to experience the relationship mindfully without judging every moment. With this mindset and other tips that we’ve discussed in this article, you can easily get out of a funk.

Bonus: Funk vs. Depression

Individuals in a funk might experience some feelings that are similar to that of clinical depression. However, there are key differences. People who are diagnosed with depression must experience these symptoms almost every day for two weeks consecutively:[2]

  • Depressed mood for prolonged periods of time
  • Decreased pleasure or interest in almost every activity that they used to enjoy
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness
  • Recurrent suicidal thoughts

A funk does not always have all these symptoms. Plus, the intensity and duration are quite different. A funk can last for a few days and it might improve temporarily depending on the activities that you are indulging in.

While the majority of people get into a funk, almost everyone experiences clinical depression. If you are experiencing more than a funk, you should seek help immediately.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes it feels like time is zooming by or you’re having a bad day, leaving us behind. But you’re capable to get yourself out of a funk!

By acknowledging bad moods and problems, and actively taking actions to change up your thoughts, you will improve your mental health and take control of your life again.

More Tips for Motivation

Featured photo credit: Luis Flores via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Mayo Clinic: Exercise and Stress: Get moving to manage stress
[2] NHS: Symptoms – Clinical depression

More by this author

Cat Neligan

Host of the Creative Introvert Podcast, helping introverts everywhere live a life they love on their terms

How to Get out of a Funk and Take Control of Life How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

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Last Updated on January 14, 2022

17 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life

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17 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life

Achieving work-life balance can be really tough. More and more people are reporting that managing their personal and professional lives has become more difficult.

Longer working hours, more pressure to get things done quickly, more pressure to succeed and less personal time. Added together this combination of things creates more stress and plenty of daily struggles.

But working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most.

“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles” — Zig Ziglar

The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

What is Work Life Balance?

When we talk about work life balance tips, we are not merely talking about the time aspect of your schedule. Work life balance is an inclusive approach towards all the facets of life that gives the utmost satisfaction and gives the feeling of fulfillment.

Work life balance may have a different meaning in everyone’s life. To understand it better, consider all the things that are important to you. For example, work, friends, family, time you spend on hobbies, interests, etc.

If you feel that you are compromising on any important facet of life, you do not have work life balance.

There is a fine line of demarcation between personal and professional life. When you are able to bring an equilibrium between both sides, you get a perfect work life balance. It is a simple attitude towards your life where none of these sides supersedes the other when it comes to prioritization.

Why Work Life Balance is Important?

Many of us get into the thought trap where we feel as if we need to sacrifice a particular facet of life in order to achieve something. Unless we give up or compromise on something we love, we will not be rewarded with an achievement. Well, that’s actually never true!

There is no need to compromise on anything or work longer to achieve something. It is just the mindset. Work life balance allows you to achieve everything in life and keeps you happy at the same time!

We need to consider what would happen if we did not have a work-life balance to understand the importance!

People focusing on limited facades of life end up feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. Our minds tend to focus on what we had to compromise rather than what we gained. It is a sad state of mind that leads to stress and sometimes mental issues brought about by anxiety.

It is important to have a work life balance since it allows you to enjoy every moment of your being. You are left with enough time and energy for work, family, friends, me-time, or anything else that’s important to you! You get to enjoy everything and be happy with a proper work life balance!

17 Work Life Balance Tips

Here are 13 work-life balance tips you can implement right now to start living a more stress free life:

1. Take More Rejuvenation Days

When was the last time you took some time out from work to completely rejuvenate?

One of the best ways to create an environment for future high productivity and creativity is to take yourself outside of the day to day and remove yourself completely from work-related activities.

By taking time out for yourself, you will gain clarity on what’s most important, both now and in the future, and you will come back refreshed, energized and motivated. By taking more rejuvenation days, you are investing in yourself which naturally means you are creating more balance.

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If you can take this day to yourself every month or two you will start seeing immediate results on all levels of your business and life.

Now get your calendar out and mark down your rejuvenation days!

2. Let Go of Fear

Many people, be they entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders or managers worry that if they’re not working, or seen to be working every day, they may miss out on something important. The business may fail or they may not get that promotion or something. There’s always something. There is a sense that something bad could happen if not enough time was invested or “I could always be working on something else”.

But, what if you believed you were good enough, you were achieving and doing something meaningful, and that you mattered?

Once you have that belief and confidence, you can let go of the fear that there is ‘always more’. You will feel more joyful, productive, abundant and know that what you accomplished was good enough.

This guide will help you get over your most irrational fears: How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

3. Prioritize Your Day

If you took a step back and looked at what’s on your to-do list, how many things are critical? How many things MUST be done that day?

It all starts with a clear understanding of what your bigger and better future looks like. Are you planning a year ahead? Three years? Ten years? What are you working to achieve?

Once you understand that, you can work back and create plans and goals that help you achieve your bigger objectives.

You may build 90 day outcome goals, the things you really want to achieve in the next quarter and then lay out the process for getting there. From this plan you will understand your priorities and where your focused time should be.

Don’t have 10 things on your list to complete that day. Focus on achieving just 3 or 5 important things every day. Achieve them and your motivation will go through the roof. Have too many and don’t complete them and your energy levels will drop.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has his unique way on how to prioritize: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Express Gratitude for What You Have

Sometimes we are so busy working through and dealing with the day to day and having our mind in the future that we forget about the here and now, this present moment. I believe it’s essential to include proactive gratitude as part of everyday life, to actually look at everything in our lives and appreciate what we have.

Many of us think of gratitude as reacting. Something happens or someone does something and you feel grateful. You say thank you, maybe send an email.

But a far more proactive strategy for creating and living an abundant life is to actively find things you appreciate. This affects your own personal state of mind but also impacts others. You could send a handwritten card to the people you love or someone that means a lot to you.

Try giving thanks for three things at the end of every day and see how this shifts your mood and mind-set.

5. Learn to Say No

It’s important to decide what you want to do, who you want to build relationships with and where you want to spend your time. We have so many requests made of us and so many opportunities to do different things that we end up saying yes to things that we really don’t want to do but feel we should do.

Have the self-respect, confidence and courage to live life on your own terms and say yes only to the things that really matter. For everything else, start saying no.

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When you are clear on who matters most and what matters most, you gain clarity on what and who is essential and who isn’t.

Your time is scarce. When you start saying no to most things, you will become more focused and be completely present in everything you’ve said yes to.

Leo Babauta has this guide on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

6. Have More Fun

If you looked back at the last week, how much time did you spend just having fun? If it wasn’t much, then it’s time to change things up.

Think about what gets you excited, think about the people you love spending time with. Jump into new things and new relationships. Take some risks, try something new, learn a new skill and start laying the groundwork for a big project you’ve always been putting off.

If you need to get out of your comfort zone to have more fun, just do it. However, you want to change your life, having more fun keeps you energized and motivated.

7. Start to Journal

One of the biggest things that has helped me in my own personal growth and goal achievement is using my journal every day.

This is the place to house my dreams. It is home to my creative thoughts and my thinking tools. It’s a place to escape to. It’s also a place to write down thoughts and notes on where I am right now — my thinking, my mind-set and my belief system.

The habit of writing in my journal felt like a small step but has been transformative. It has become a routine that has affected other parts of my life.

So, start keeping a journal. Commit to writing every day, even if it’s just for five minutes and see where your imagination takes you.

Here’re some tips to kickstart journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

8. Create One Hour a Day to Think and Relax

It’s amazing what we actually have time for, especially when we decide to really make time. I hear the phrase “I don’t have time” constantly. How about you change that mind-set and start dedicating one hour a day to yourself?

One hour to work on yourself. One hour for reading. One hour to learn a new skill.

The truth is we can all find time if it’s important to us. This one hour a day could help us become more creative and increase your energy and focus. Plus, you’ll increase your capabilities.

9. Do One Thing You Love to Do Every Day

As we get sucked into the whirlwind of the everyday, it’s all we can do just to get by. We often forget to do or enjoy the things that actually bring us the biggest amount of joy.

One of the best ways to bring more balance back into your life is to recommit to do the things that give you the most pleasure. If you don’t have anything, I suggest you find something you’re passionate about. This could be reading, walking, meditating, learning an instrument or a language, or becoming a better cook or gardener.

It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you get joy from the experience. Try carving out time every day to do this one thing. Do it for 30 days and it will become a habit. Plus, it will help you reconnect with what you really care about.

10. Create More Family Time

This is an area that means a lot to me and was one of the reasons I set up my coaching business in the first place.

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I have two young children and I wanted to see more of them and to spend more time with my family. I get to take them to school sometimes and am often home for ‘family dinner’ and bedtime stories. Having the freedom to do this is essential in how I run my business and how I help other entrepreneurs run their business.

If you can create a bit of space to spend more time with the people that matter you will see a massive difference. Here’s a guide on How to Maximize Family Time with plenty of ways you can try immediately.

11. Set Clear Goals

Successful people are always guided by a vision of their future. To keep them on course and motivated setting clear goals, both long-term and short-term, allows them to achieve their biggest dreams.

Setting specific and measurable goals gives you the best chance to transform how you work and live. They help you move forward and build momentum every single day. As Dan Sullivan says,

“Your future is your property. If you don’t take ownership of it, others will be happy to do it for you.”

Learn how to set clear goals with this step-by-step guide: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

12. Focus on Results, Not Time Spent

Rather than thinking about working harder, focus your time and energy on achieving bigger results. By simplifying your areas of focus, you free up more time to live a more joyful and balanced life.

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of doing countless activities that drain your energy and take you away from building momentum in moving your business forward. You are being pulled in multiple directions and don’t have enough time and often take on too many projects. This can often leave you drained, worried and uncommunicative at the end of the day.

Remember, getting more things done means nothing when nothing great is done.

By focusing on a smaller number of projects and delivering maximum impact, you have a bigger sense of achievement, confidence and motivation. Plus, you may have more time to stop work early and spend time with the people that matter.

13. Commit to a Bigger Future

You have the power and control to decide what bigger and better future you want for yourself right now, in this present moment. How far into the future you want to ‘vision’ is up to you. It could be 3 years, 5 years, 10 years or 25 years. This future is yours to create but, it only comes from investing time now to think about where you are and where you want to go.

Try this: Look into your ‘future you’ and be clear where you want to go, who you want to be and how you want to live your life. Then, bring yourself back to the present day and create an action plan on how you’re going to create and ‘walk to’ this bigger future.

You will feel a higher sense of energy, engagement, motivation, creativity and productivity because you have a clear vision and clarity on exactly where you want to go and the steps you need to take to get there.

This article can help you do that: The Best Way to Create a Vision For the Life You Want

14. Schedule Your Time Smartly

Time is one of the prime factors to consider when you plan to improve your work life balance. If you control your time, you can control everything!

You might have to deal with millions of tasks in a day, and sometimes it leads to forgetting other important things in life. But if you intentionally schedule your working day and stick to your calendar, these minor hiccups will not be able to over-power your resolve to maintain work life balance.

You can use a simple pen-paper or your tech-gadget to schedule your time. Plan out your personal and professional life every day and keep your schedule handy to help you stay focused. You will get the opportunity to over-perform, but it should never be at the cost of other aspects of your life.

Remember, your work life is important, but so is your personal life that includes vacation time and spending quality time with your friends and family.

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15. Find Portals for Flexibility

There are times of the day when you actually can afford to be a little relaxed. But as our human nature dictates, not all of us let it be and simply enjoy the break!

We would rather schedule something else for that amount of time just to finish the errand. Don’t do that! Find your portal for flexibility and give yourself the luxury of extended breaks and breathe every once in a while!

16. Find a Buffer

When we say buffer, we mean that you need to find time between professional and home life, where you learn to let go. Don’t take your office to home and home to the office. Both are important; however, none should be powerful enough to spoil your mood and impact the other!

For example, while going home from the office, try to unwind yourself by listening to music or podcast that loosens you up. It would recharge you and bring back a smile on your face. Make a dedicated effort to do this every day, even when going to work.

17. Unplug from Technology

Technology is one of the major culprits behind people not learning to relax. Our lives are so much tangled and surrounded by technology that we hardly leave the sight of our mobile phones or laptops throughout the day, even when it’s not required! [1]

It is us who give the power to technology to subjugate us to the extent that it becomes a compulsion.

Unplugging yourself from technology every once in a while would give you enough opportunity to make time for everything else that matters. It is one of the gospels to achieving work life balance in the 21st century.

Benefits That a Healthy Work Life Balance Can Bring to Your Life

There are numerous benefits of having work life balance. Many don’t realize until it’s too late that your personal and professional life is equally important and that you should not have to compromise on either of them. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, when you have a perfect work life balance, you can:

Be Free from Stress and Other Mental Ailments

Overcompensating on a particular part of life results in dissatisfaction. For example, how would you feel when you have to put long hours at the office to finish the incomplete projects while your family eats dinner alone at home?

Frustrated? Annoyed? Stressed? Angry? Dissatisfied?

The list could go on, and all these feelings would devour your peace of mind. Eventually, it results in burnout, and people get trapped into the vicious habit of getting stressed. Many even develop other mental issues on account of extended work hours. [2]

Having a good work life balance reduces stress and saves you from developing any such mental ailments.

Be Happy and Satisfied with Life

Let us try to answer another question! How would you feel when your work performance is excellent, you manage to give family time, and get to blow off steam playing poker with your friends? Super-Awesome! Isn’t it?

That is what happens when you balance your work and life. It would not happen overnight, but eventually, when you habituate yourself performing balancing techniques, you will observe that you are happy and satisfied with your life.

Be More Productive in Every Facet of Life

Your productivity is directly linked to your mindset. If you are stressed, unhappy, dissatisfied, or angry at life, you would never be able to give your hundred percent.

However, if you manage to maintain a balanced approach in your professional and personal time, your serotonin levels would shoot through the roof since you would be happy. It would eventually allow you to give out your best performance everywhere.

The Bottom Line

Some of these strategies and tips will allow you to think differently and work differently immediately, whilst others will take a little longer to implement but will be key to your long-term success.

Creating a balance between how you think, how you work and how you spend your time is essential to your long-term health and mental wellbeing. The desire to create that change only comes from within. Hopefully these strategies and tips will set you on the right path!

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Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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