Have you ever felt like you’re in a funk that you can’t get out of?
Maybe you’ve tried a few things to feel better, but nothing’s worked.
Maybe you’ve talked about it with a friend or partner.
Maybe you’ve tried journaling.
Maybe you’ve just ignored it, hoping it would pass.
But it’s been days, weeks, or maybe even months, and you’re at a loss for what’s going on and how to make it better. In case you need to hear this, nothing is wrong with you for feeling that way. It’s human to feel down sometimes.
At the same time, it may help to get curious about what might be going on.
Here’s a list of nine questions to ask yourself to explore your present state.
What does my season of life look like right now?
We all go through times in our lives where nothing seems to go our way. We tell ourselves to be patient and that it’ll pass. We might try all the things and still nothing changes. It can be very frustrating. We want life to be easy and for answers to come quickly, but sometimes that’s just not the case.
Maybe you had a child in the past year, or maybe you’re in a new role at work. Maybe you moved to a new place, or maybe you’ve shifted your relationships with certain people in your life.
It may be obvious, but sometimes we underestimate the power that a particular season of life can have on us. It’s completely normal for a season to be challenging, and the struggle might last longer than we anticipate or hope it will.
Reflecting on any changes that have happened in the past year (or even two!) might give you some insight into your internal state.
To help you in the reflection process, consider making a list of as many things you can think of, no matter how small, that have changed in the past year. Sometimes the littlest thing can have a big impact.
How am I spending my free time?
When we don’t make time for things we enjoy and for self-care, we can feel off. Sometimes we make shifts in how we spend our time without even realizing it, so intentionally checking in on how we’ve been spending our time can be illuminating.
Consider the past week and what you’ve been doing after work and on the weekends:
- How have you spent your time?
- Has anything been taking up more or less space than normal?
- Have you made time to nourish and recharge?
- Have you stopped doing something you really enjoy?
- Are you isolating yourself?
- Are you over-socializing?
What do my sleep habits look like?
Sleep is extremely important for feeling “normal.” When we don’t get proper sleep (the amount of which varies by person), we might feel off without even realizing it.
Questions to consider:
- How much sleep am I getting on average, and is this consistent with what I typically require?
- Am I waking up refreshed or still tired?
- What’s getting in the way of getting the amount of sleep I need?
- What does my sleep hygiene look like? For example, am I on my phone right before I close my eyes?
Who am I surrounding myself with?
While some friendships last a lifetime, others may be only for a reason or a season. Humans are meant to grow, evolve, and change, and when that happens, friendships might shift as well.
- Do you like who you are when you’re around your friends?
- Do your people build you up or tear you down? Encourage you or make you feel like you’re not enough?
- After spending time with friends, how do you feel?
Where am I at in my yearly goals?
If you’re a resolution- or goal-setter, you might feel off if you’re not on track to meeting your goals for the year. Checking in with where you’re at in meeting your goals may be illuminating for you.
Some questions that might help:
- Have you consistently made time to work on your goals?
- Are you on track to meeting them this year?
- Has something shifted or changed in your goals for the year?
- Has something happened that’s interfered with meeting your goals?
Does my life look how I thought it would?
Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we all form ideas about how our lives will unfold. When things don’t go according to plan or align with our vision, we might feel off.
Sometimes we have really high expectations about a specific event or benchmark, and reality fails to live up to that. Maybe you thought you’d be farther along in your career, married, or have kids by this point in your life. Maybe your parent unexpectedly passed away, or you’re living in a state or country that you never imaged.
Life throws us all sorts of curve balls, and if we don’t pause and take inventory of the intersection between vision and reality, we might be missing out on information that’s vital to shaping how we feel day-to-day.
Am I happy with my choices lately?
This is a broad question, but it’s important because who we are is heavily impacted by the choices we make every day.
For example, if you are someone who values fitness, but you’re choosing not to exercise regularly, you’re likely not going to feel like yourself.
Or, if you need a certain amount of self-care time each week and you’re falling short of that, you might feel irritable or short-tempered.
Checking in with your values is a great way to see if you are making choices that are in line with how you want to live.
What’s happening at work?
Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week at our jobs. The culture, how we feel about the role, how our boss treats us, and whether we vibe with our co-workers all affect how we feel overall.
It’s worth considering whether anything has changed at work. And if nothing has changed, has something else changed in your life which is now affecting how you see your work?
What’s going in my love life?
For most people, the current pulse of their love life has a large impact on how they feel. When everything around you is falling apart, a strong relationship can be a stabilizing force. On the flip side, you might be in a relationship and know that it’s not healthy or good for you or just not going the direction you’d like, but feel unsure how to get out of it.
There are so many constellations of single or in a relationship (or in between) that can lead to feeling like you’re in a funk. A simple inventory of where your love life is at and what your love life status means to you can provide valuable data about what might be affecting your mood.
These are just some of the questions you may want to ask yourself to gain more insight into what’s causing your funk. If, over time, you continue to struggle to discern what’s triggering and sustaining your funk, consider seeking support from a mental health professional, as talking through your thoughts can bring reassurance, clarity, and peace.