How To Get Out of an Emotional Funk
Due to the global pandemic, more people are struggling with mental health than ever. Getting out of an emotional funk while being either isolated or kept from the normal activities and the people who help lift you up doesn’t help anything. But the key to feeling happy is differentiation. This term, used by psychologists in the therapy room and in group sessions, means that a person is connected to the people they love, able to set boundaries, and knows who they are. If you’re looking to get out of an emotional funk, there are ways to make sure you’re differentiated. For tips on how to do this, read on.
Whether it’s reaching out to an online therapy agency for a psychologist or therapist who can help you with your mental wellness, or by calling a trusted friend, the first thing to do to help yourself is to ask for that help. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out when you’re struggling with feelings of isolation, hopelessness, or just plain sadness. In fact, it’s a sign of strength to know when to ask for help and to go for it.
If you’ve never had a therapy session or are unsure about online therapy services, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions when you sign up for your first appointment. Online therapists, couples therapists, and anyone who works in psychotherapy is all trained to help people through the basics of therapy from the start.
If you think trying therapy is a good idea, contact your health insurance and find out what’s covered for mental health under your plan. From there, shop around the internet and look for reviews. Therapists specialize in many types of mental health services and you’ll want one that feels right to you. If you’re looking for a therapist who’s a specific gender or has a special interest in something like the LGBTQ community or minority issues, it’s okay to request that, too. Advocating for yourself when signing up for therapy through any online therapy platform or calling a therapist’s office is the first step in feeling better.
Whether you decide to start online therapy or not, a big step in getting yourself out of a rut is by staying connected. Maybe you were happy before the pandemic and considering taking private surf lessons, for example. Maybe your plan for happiness was surfing lessons for beginners but you haven’t been able to start them yet. Why not pick up the phone and see if socially distanced private lessons are possible?
Staying connected to friends and family matters. But staying connected to your interests, hobbies, and passions matters too. While a group lesson might be off the table until the end of the pandemic, look for other ways to connect to the things that you care about. As far as family and friends, consider setting up regular phone calls and digital meetings. You can still share a cup of tea over the internet.
For some, the political climate has caused strains and relationship issues. Consider connecting to friends and family in a different way. Make rules around conversations in which, where you are in disagreement, that topic becomes off-limits. That is, find ways to stay connected through common interests and things that won’t cause conflict.
For some, mental health issues can be a struggle when boundaries are a problem. Maybe you’re a person who struggles with saying ‘no.’ Maybe you are easily ridden with guilt. If you’re someone who has trouble putting yourself before others to the point of your own suffering, this is something you would work with your new therapist on. But there are ways to work on boundaries from home first too.
Say you just bought the perfect women’s riding boots and your sister insists you let her borrow them. Assume your sister has a history of never returning your belongings and you really don’t want her to take those boots home with her. A person with boundary issues would allow her to take them and feel bad about it later, regardless of whether she returned them or not. A person with good boundaries would gently explain that they’d rather not. While this might cause discomfort and conflict, that same person could be content in knowing that not only would the boots be safe, but that they’d made a great start at setting appropriate boundaries in their interpersonal relationships.
If you’re trying to get out of an emotional rut, try saying ‘no’ the next time you want to. Promise yourself to be okay with the consequences and see how you feel a day later.
The final way to pull yourself out of an emotional rut is to know who you are. But know that this is easier said than done, and can take meditation and a stack of notebooks. Think of yourself as a business. Write your own “mission and values” statements. Ask yourself who you are, what your goals are, and what you could do to get closer to those things. Also ask yourself what therapists call the miracle question: What would my life look like if I were out of this rut? What would be different?
In being able to identify not only who you are, but make a conscious effort to get closer to it, you’ll go a long way toward feeling happier. Maybe you’ve identified yourself as a great person who loves helping people. If that’s the case, has social isolation kept you from being you? If so, find ways you can help the world again in light of the pandemic. Odds are, many people would thank you, including you.
At the end of the day, no person in the world is ever perfectly differentiated. They aren’t always happy either. Feeling down or blue from time to time is normal, especially in light of current world events. In reminding yourself that it’s okay to be sad, but still making efforts to improve your happiness through better differentiation, you can get out of an emotional funk sooner than you might think. Take a deep breath and one step at a time toward taking your life back. Happy healing to you!