Last week we talked about the ripple effect one small, positive chance can have on your life (missed that post? Check it out here). Even when great things come our way, sometimes we can get into a bit of a funk. I’m not sure if it was all of the rain we’d been having, the slow thaw of Spring or the fact that apparently Mercury was in retrograde (??? who else has a coworker that tracks this? 🙋🏼) but the last few weeks there were days when it felt like the whole city was in a bit of a funk. Thankfully I have a few standby’s that I like to keep on hand for those mid-day slumps when you just can’t even:
Go for a walk
This is my #1 go-to whenever I’m feeling off, having a bad day, experiencing writer’s block… you name it! Anything from getting a coffee to walking around the block always greatly improves my mood (and on sunny days, helps to get in some much needed Vitamin D). Knowing the mix of emotions that Mother’s Day brings, I actually planned a photography walk (I covered both of these in last week’s Gratitude #hustle – you can read that here). Sunburn aside, it was a great reminder that getting out for a simple stroll is a great way to improve your mood and get lost a little in the beauty of your surroundings.
Over the years I’ve found that stepping away from my computer for a quick break helps me reset, refocus and feel refreshed – and science agrees! There have been a number of studies touting the power of the micro break. Intrigued? Check out this article in the Harvard Business Review here or this one in TechCo.
Let the sun shine in ☀️
I get pretty much zilch in terms of natural light in my office. In combination with dark days in the winter, or even long stretches of grey skies, this lack of light can have a big impact on my day, which I really noticed a few months ago. We have a lighting system that you control on your laptop, but of course, it’s a program that needs to be installed. When my laptop was replaced earlier this year I had to wait a few weeks for it to be reinstalled. I keep a side light on to combat the darkness, but the first day I was able to turn the overhead light up to max brightness, my overall mood greatly improved. During those weeks when I was waiting for the power to flip the switch (okay, okay, click and drag), getting out for a walk in brighter, sunnier areas helped immensely. As did my next pro-tip…
Change up your scenery
When a walk just won’t do sometimes you need to mix up your surroundings. This can be a coffee shop, a different part of the office, or even working from home. You don’t necessarily need a laptop to do this either – save those docs on a USB key, stay on top of your emails with webmail and forward your office phone. In addition to being a mood booster, I also try to to spend a day or an afternoon away from my desk when I have a lot of writing or strategic thinking to do. Not being readily available in person (even if you’re still in the building) can minimize distractions and help you prioritize. So take some time and figure out where, other than your desk, you work best.
I know I get some of my best work done in a coffee shop and for me, it’s a surefire funk-buster. Between the dull background noise and easy access to caffeine, coffee shops have been my #1 remote working hot spot since my university days (I was always more productive in a Williams or Second Cup than I was in any library).
Turn up the music
Music has an amazing ability to set the mood and can help you craft the kind of day you need. After some trial and error I have found a few go-to playlists and artists that I know will pick me up, bolster my productivity, or help me get ready for a meeting (I adore the “mood” search on Spotify). When I know I’m in need of an instant mood booster these are just a few of my go-to’s”
- Kendrick Lamar (his new album is SO good and the “This is Kendrick Lamar” playlist is👌🏻),
- Jidenna (I’ve already declared “Bambi” my song of Summer 2017),
- Hey Rosetta (the opening chords of “Yer Spring” immediately put a smile on my face), and
- Beyonce (“XO” is my instant mood lifter).
Getting lost in sound for three minutes can be the perfect way to turn your day around.
Get to the gym
Yes, I felt you roll your eyes, but hear me out. Sweating it out can help you channel your funkiness (good or bad😉) with a bonus side order of endorphins, whose benefits you’ll be able to reap today and tomorrow! And to quote the every wise Elle Woods, “exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
Sometimes you just need a night off. You’ve been working hard on your #hustle and taking a break is just as important – turn off your phone, pour yourself a glass of wine, run a bubble bath, have a dance party in your living room, go for a neighbourhood stroll or even just cuddle up with some Netflix and your favourite treat (or do all of the above!). You do you.
These are just a few of my go-to’s for getting out of a funk – I’d love to hear how you get through those times when you feel like you’re THE funk soul brother. Let me know in the comments below!