by Suze Somerville
Okay so it’s been a while since I’ve put fingertips to keyboard. Quite a long while in fact, but the truth of it is I’ve been in a real funk.
Hard to admit that in my profession as I’m the ‘go-to’ when people need support with their wellbeing, so it felt hypocritical to advise on something I was struggling with myself. But then I remembered ‘We are all human.' We all feel an array of emotions and we all get a little stuck sometimes!’
So what was going on? Alarm going off and hitting the snooze repeatedly until the last minute and then rushing like a maniac trying to make it to work on time.
Not showering every day – at night thinking ‘I’ll do it in the morning’ as I felt so exhausted and then come the morning, having the snooze scenario, every day! It was like Groundhog day only it lasted months!
On the days I did manage to haul myself out of bed, I felt like I was on auto-pilot. Let’s not start with the comfort eating, the weight gain, the disinterest in sex, the lack of motivation, not wanting to go out or see friends and having poor sleep!
I’d be awake watching T.V or on my phone all hours. Oh yes, my phone - I was constantly on it, flicking through the various social media platforms, playing games, using apps. If I promised myself once, I promised myself a thousand times I would put that addictive thing down and do something, yet every day I found myself on the sofa with a cup of tea after work and not moving until bed time, phone in hand staring down at a small blue lit screen, procrastinating, promising myself this was just a phase and I’d snap out of it soon.
My bedroom was a disaster! My wardrobe had been replaced with a ‘floordrobe,’ with all my clothes splayed across the floor (items I’d worn for a couple of hours and not ‘dirty’ enough for the washing machine or others I’d tried on and didn’t fit into so had thrown in disgust).
Don’t get me started with my bed, which resembled a slothful looking pile of blankets and towels, with the linen which hadn’t been changed a couple of weeks at a time. I had lists everywhere of things I needed to accomplish on bits of paper, in note books and on a whiteboard yet I felt so overwhelmed the lists just grew bigger and bigger, as did my Funk! One day I starred at the reflection in the mirror and just didn’t recognise the person starring back at me.
And here it is; the little things we do (or don’t do) every single day become our habits - and you know what they say "our habits define us!" I didn’t want that person looking back at me in the mirror to define me and I knew something had to change.
One evening I just got up and started dancing. Crazy as that sounds, it was the first point of action I took. I danced for about 15 minutes like a frenzied chicken until I collapsed back on the sofa laughing at myself whilst gulping down a small bottle of water to rehydrate. Fast forward four weeks, with some pretty good progress so far.
So let’s share how we can stomp that Funk together.
1. Move your body – As simple as it sounds, just move! Movement is life. It helps everything to flow. Drinking water and moving my tired body (stretching, walking and dancing mainly) really helped me in so many ways - started shifting the weight, made me more flexible, cleared the brain fog and most importantly was the main factor in helping me out of this funk I’d fallen deep into, lifting my spirit. I put Youtube videos on and learnt a few belly dancing moves. I danced around the room every opportunity I got (in-between writing excerpts for another book, watching a film - that was actually quite funny and shockingly annoying for my partner as I’d just get up and randomly jog on the spot to increase my steps, aiming for 10,000 daily). Getting up and putting a 3-minute song on a few times in the day to dance to raised my mood instantly and what is 9-12 minutes out of a 24-hour day?
2. Water – I can’t express enough how important it is to drink water. I don’t just mean a glass, I mean several glasses a day. After all, our body is made up of two thirds water so it would make sense that we need to keep ourselves hydrated. I was suffering with headaches on a daily basis not to mention constipation, lethargy and feeling sluggish. I also had massive brain fog and at times found it hard to concentrate and function and did you know that most times when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty? And if you drink a glass of water and wait half an hour or so it might actually be enough to quench the thirst and stop you from over-eating.
3. Sleep – You can’t possibly expect to function fully on a few hours sleep. Apart from the unattractive black panda rings you develop under your eyes you actually need quality sleep, as this is when the body replenishes and repairs itself. As my Mum used to tell me when I was little, ‘If you don’t go to sleep the soldiers can’t do their work. It’s when they fight all the bad guys in your body and make you better.” And she wasn't wrong! So how do you get better sleep?
Leave your bedroom window slightly ajar to allow for a cool temperature, leave the curtain slightly ajar to let in natural light in the morning (waking naturally is best for you if you can). Move your phone away from your bed (at least 2 metres) to avoid blue light which is emitted from your phone screen and suppresses melatonin which interrupts sleep. Try a weighted or heavy blanket as this gives a feeling of comfort and security and can help those with anxiety sleep better.
Most adults need between 6-8 hours sleep every night so try reading a book and avoid using screens about an hour before going to bed. If you can, get yourself an alarm clock rather than rely on your phone. This helps in the night should you wake as you can see the clock and don’t have to open your eyes to reach for your phone.
Try to cut down on caffeine late in the evening. It helped me to cut out my milky coffee before bed time. Lavender is a natural and powerful herb with a calming effect. Pop some on your pillow case or in a diffuser. There’s so much more you can do to improve your sleep and this list is not exhaustive.
4. Shower! – I know, I know… you’re probably thinking ‘euww! Not showering every day’ but when you are feeling low, tired, depressed or in a funk the very basic and simple tasks we take for granted sometimes become some of the biggest challenges in our day. But standing under the shower can have a very cathartic and soothing effect washing away the stresses of the day leaving you refreshed, clean and smooth. Can I add, getting into bed with fresh, clean linen also adds to the positive experience and helps to turn that upside down coat-hanger smile the right way up! Whilst we are in the shower let’s just mention that a good de-fuzz helps you feel better too, so don’t forget those legs, pits and bits! Shower your troubles away, de-fuzz, and sleep in a clean bed in a tidy room – Tidy room, tidy mind and it makes you ready for a new day!
5. Take a social media break – Seriously, as hard as this might be, and it was for me; you will realise just how much time is eaten away scrolling aimlessly through your phone, whilst helping you procrastinate beautifully. Start by setting yourself a daily screen limit. Most mobiles have a ‘digital balance’ or ‘screen limit.’ I was gobsmacked one summer to see I’d spent 36 hours on my phone, wondering why I didn’t have any time to achieve my goals when the answer was right there in front of me! Disconnect to reconnect!
6. Get creative – Giving yourself the chance to be creative and express yourself is a great way of climbing out of a funk. Your brain thrives on new experiences. Allow yourself to take up a new hobby or interest. Learn a new language, learn to play an instrument or some new dance moves. Go and bake or paint or draw. Whatever you do just allow your creative juices to flow. I started to learn Spanish, play the guitar and belly dance… I’m by no means an expert in any way but loving every minute!
7. Have a Wellbeing Day – Go ahead, take or book yourself a day off to take care of yourself mentally and physically. You can become at risk of burn out, break down or worst still illness if you do not stop, take stock and replenish your energy, body, mind and spirit. Go be near the sea, the woods, in nature. Take a long soak in the bath, have a long rest in bed with the sunshine warming through the windows, ride your bike, do a little of what you fancy. Take some time for you. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
8. Get friendly – Go visit your friend or buddy. Have a cuppa and catch up. Nurture those who look after and care about you. Reaching out to and connecting with friends and loved ones is an important part of wellbeing. We are by nature social creatures in all our weirdness and uniqueness. We need them and they need us, so go connect!
9. Let music be the joy of your life – music is powerful. Most of us can name a song which has an effect on us. Music is emotive. It can make us laugh, cry, feel things we didn’t know were possible, motivate us, make us weak and make us strong. Most of us have created a play list at some point in our life for some reason or another. Go ahead, make yourself a 'De-Funking' Play List. A favourite of mine is ‘Let’s Dance’ by Grandmagneto. Bowie meets Reggae - You’re welcome!
10. Take action – Whatever you have been putting off just start, right here, right now. Get up and just make a start on whatever you have been putting off. You know the hardest thing is starting something but once the momentum is in flow it gets easier. The brain requires action so do yourself a favour and move. Ready… steady… Action!
Well, that’s my top 10 for getting myself out of my funk. There are so many others including setting small goals, journaling, facing a fear, reading, breath-work, healthy eating, taking vitamins, having an accountability partner to hold you to your word and tasks - you can probably add some of your own, but if not give these top 10 a whizz and see how it helps. Now go Stomp That Funk!
Suze Somerville is a Wellbeing Practitioner and Coach experienced with over 18 years in wellbeing practices and personal development, including stress and anger management, anxiety and panic attacks and other mental health issues to name a few. Suze is the Author of Crazy Love, Crazy Life, available on Lulu and Amazon and is a freelance writer of Health and Wellbeing topics. She is trained in Mindfulness and Reiki and runs wellbeing workshops for Women helping people globally through her Facebook pages and forums on Spirituality and Self-Development. You can contact Suze on Linkedin.