Recently, I talked about how I was in a funk but managed to get out of it fairly quickly. We all know the best medicine is prevention, right? That's not a surprise and to be honest it shouldn't be. Want to be healthy? Then don't get sick. The true is for your emotions. I am not a psychologist nor professional therapist and I certainly don't pretend to be one. I also am not a big fan of the term "expert" because I believe that implies that you know pretty much everything there is to know on a given topic and I am a self-proclaimed life-long learner.
But I do know me, at least to a certain extent. I am constantly learning more about myself as time goes on and that's because I've become more and more proficient at paying attention to what's happening. You and I are not exactly alike, nor should we be. Everyone is different. But I have found a stunning number of similarities between myself and the women that are constantly placed in my path.
So, let's get back on topic, shall we? When it comes to fighting the funk, the best thing you can do is not get into one at all. Boy, that would be great, wouldn't it? It's not exactly realistic because no one is in complete control of their emotions. (But imagine that for a second: what if you could control your emotions and feel what you want to feel when you want to feel it all the time? Mind = Blown)
So if you can't be in control of your emotions, the next best thing is to recognize what's happening with you so that you can be aware of it and take the appropriate actions necessary to bounce back. When I am heading to a funk, it's something I can feel. But undoubtedly, there are a number of tell-tale signs that pop up in the days leading up to the fall that can clue me in. Here are my big six:
- My eating / sleeping habits change - Most often, I notice that it's harder for me to wake up in the morning. I feel more sluggish and more inclined to hit the snooze button. When this persists, it's my top indicator that something is coming that I'd rather not have happen. I've also noticed that I stop eating in my generally healthy manner. I don't get crazy about being healthy, but I do try and take care of myself. That starts to go out the window and it's always gradual. If it's abrupt, I'm dealing with more than a funk.
- I hear myself say "I don't want to talk about it" more often - I don't share a lot of personal information with the people around me, but I do have a strong support network that I turn to when I need guidance or advice. There could be minor things going on like stupid issues at work, or an annoyance with an acquaintance and when someone asks me what's going on, instead of talking through it to find a sound solution, I start brushing it off. A lot. When I start consistently doing this, I am beginning the process of isolating which is very dangerous for me.
- I start dreading social obligations that I generally enjoy - I am not what many would consider to be an extrovert. I like my quiet time and professional networking events tend to leave me exhausted, even when I genuinely enjoy myself. But I do have an intimate group of friends that I like to spend time with and some hobbies and interests that I can really get lost in. When I start dreading an upcoming knitting class or get-together, that's a clue that something is a bit off-kilter. For me, the next phase would be to cancel those engagements for no good reason, so I have to watch that.
- I stop daydreaming - I am a dreamer. I have no problem admitting that openly. Envisioning an exciting future is an enjoyable pastime of mine and it can encompass my personal life or my professional aspirations. If I notice that I haven't been doing that or that the thought of doing that is overwhelming or exhausting, something is up.
- I feel different (physically) - I don't know about you, but my funks FEEL different. I feel weighed down, pressured, sometimes even deflated like a balloon. I feel sapped of energy even when I'm motivated to do something that I enjoy. It's hard to explain, to be honest, but I know it when I feel it.
- My choice in entertainment changes - My preferences for entertainment are widespread. I like television, movies, music, reading, knitting... and I frequently change what I'm looking at or doing depending on where I am mentally. But when a funk is coming, the music that I listen to is different as are the types of books and shows I watch. It's worth mentioning that I could be in a good mood and if I start listening to aggressive or "downer" music or watch a depressing or particularly intense show, that can impact my mood. But when the funk is coming, it is reflected in my entertainment choices.
So, there is my list. There are so many other signs out there, but these are the ones that I experience most frequently and consistently. What are your signs that tell you that you are heading for a slump? Have you ever paid attention to that before? Share your thoughts in a comment below.