About Me

How To Get Out of A Funk

I’m coming out of a funk. Slowly. But I’m coming out of a weird summer funk. I began this summer with gusto, even writing about making the most of the time, which I fully intended to do.

And I did.

During the month of June, I was hotter than a bullet out of a gun.

Our summer launched with a bang. My girls were active and busy, yet we still had plenty of time together as a family. I was writing, working on an e-book, plotting strategies for fall at The Vine Church, taking time every week to work on photography and growing this blog. It was great.

I rolled into my week speaking at ACU Leadership Camps going strong. Our entire family had a fabulous week there, I felt as if I had done some of my best crafting and speaking, and we were riding high spiritually when we came home.

But then a funk hit. Immediately, I felt tired, drained, uninspired. I think I was a little depressed.  I had no reason to feel sluggish, but I did. I wasn’t writing, wasn’t reading,  wasn’t working on photography, I just didn’t feel like doing anything. I did what I had to do, but not much else.

Have you been there? As you look around, everything seems fine, but you don’t feel like…well, you. It took me nearly four weeks to get out of the funk and return to something close to full emotional and spiritual strength. Looking back, I can now see what happened and how it was that I slowly came out of my funk.

Getting Out of Your Funk

Here’s what I learned, maybe it can help you:

* Exercise. Because I had been away and our schedule changed, I’d gotten out of the habit of daily exercise. It was difficult to get to the gym and I thought, “Hey, it’s summer. Give yourself a break.” I was wrong! Returning to the gym, I immediately recognized that my exercise habits contribute greatly to my productivity and how I feel.

* Continue Learning. While running, I typically listen to podcasts that inspire me. I listen to podcasts about writing, leadership, sermons, and theology. These inputs contribute to my own thinking and creativity. It was no wonder that without them my creative wells were drying up.

* Sleep. When I returned from camp, I spent several days sick in bed. I didn’t get sick at camp. In fact, I was less sick and more exhausted. Truth is, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while and when I do that, I get sick. My body says, “This far and no farther, Sean. Rest.” If you want to keep up a useful and productive pace, you gotta sleep.

* Have A Plan. I tend to take on a lot of stress. A move, the burdens of growing and developing a church, crafting blog posts, writing articles for two publications this fall, all while having an awesome wife and two precious daughter, got to be a bit much. I had a lot to do, but not a well-established plan to get it all done. I had failed at one of my maxims: You can do anything if there’s a realistic plan to get it done.

Getting back to the root of what makes me tick and practicing them rigorously helps me reach my goals. What are your goals? What helps you get there?

  • Mine usually last two or three days, mostly in the form of a pity party. I’ve come to learn that it will happen eventually and it usually takes me about half a day to recognize it. My recipe for overcoming it is to embrace it.

    Now that I know it’s part of my normal cycle, I ride it out. I cut back on things and stop worrying about all those “To Do’s” I have to get done. I lay on the couch and watch TV. I don’t even attempt working on all my projects (though I may do mundane things like getting the yard mowed).

    I take it as a signal that I need to rest. I know in a couple days the sun will be out again. Usually by the second evening I’ve quit thinking about all the things I’m not happy with in life and I start thinking about how blessed my I really am. I then go through all of my projects, re-prioritize, and set aside those that aren’t pressing to focus on what really needs to get done.

  • Ron Dunagan

    Sean,

    Great piece. I get the same way sometimes and thank the Lord I have Sheila who brings me out of it with a kind but firm kick to my senses to get up and active again.

    Thanks for the reminder to get back to the gym.

    Ron

  • Been there. And mine are pity parties too. Sometimes it’s my pointless competitiveness with friends who seem to be doing “better” than me. Sometimes it’s my darker side that isn’t convinced that what I am doing matters. Sometimes it’s my lazy side that would rather ride my talent and experience than hard work and fresh creative energy. I get them every few months. I think you give good tips. I also find it helpful to reconnect with friends or mentors with whom you might have let your relationship slip a bit.

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