every summer i try to go home to colorado for a week and the timing this year couldn’t have been more perfect. after being in a bit of funk, i decided to escape the rat race to just ‘be’. there’s nothing like being with family to put life back in perspective. needless to say, this trip was just what i needed and i thought i’d share a few life lessons if you too ever find yourself in a funk.
step 1: feel sorry for yourself – briefly.
i fully believe in the value of a good ol’ pity party for a very short period of time – feel sorry for yourself, woe is me, blah blah blah…then get over it and get on with life! so often we’re taught to be strong, act like we’re okay and superficially be happy just so we don’t disturb others in our life. but grieving is a pivotal part of healing from any painful life experience so don’t skip out on this part of the process. so whether your pity party is over a trivial, short-term disappointment or a major life change – go ahead and be a big baby. cry, stomp your feet, and vent to those who love you…and then, get on with it. staying in this place too long not only wears on you and those around you, but can become paralyzing.
step 2: be thankful.
when all we do is focus on what we don’t have, we limit the joy that life has to offer. so gain perspective and focus on the things in life that you’re thankful for. if you look hard enough, you’ll find them. i’m blessed and i know this, so how horrible would it be to only focus on what i don’t have in life? i have a wonderful, loving family, the best most caring girlfriends, a thriving little company that’s growing rapidly, a cute little beach house that is made complete with my little dog mylo. just that short list makes me smile. so what do you have in your life to be grateful for? i’ve started reflecting on this each day i wake up just to put my day in perspective and what a profound difference this one small action makes on the rest of my day. try it!
step 3: celebrate others…and you.
i shared in my father’s day post about my daddy’s phenomenal success losing 18lbs in 6 months, and he was so darn cute…he called me in august to find out when i was coming home so he could reach the next goal he’d set for himself so he could show off for me. (i’m so much like my daddy – love to make people proud!) and sure enough he did: not only has he maintained his weight loss and reached his first goal of 180, but his lifestyle has completely changed. while i give him complete credit for doing all the hard work, i stepped back and it was good for me to see the positive change i had on his life. for me, it’s always easy to deflect credit to someone else but i deny myself the joy that i bring to others. this man now packs his veggie & tuna salad the night before work, stashes healthy snacks at his desk, and ALWAYS fits in his workout – no matter what – and (i couldn’t believe my eyes..) he faithfully is logging all his food and workouts in his 3rd fitbook! we were even in our small town with no gym in sight and he’s on youtube finding this 9-minute workout that was supposed to rock our world. sometimes when i’m in a funk, it’s easier to just say ”i’m with family…i can work out when i get home to california” but it’s really my way of just making an excuse (yes, i do this too!). but my “student” (aka daddy) was now becoming MY coach…he challenged me to the 9-minute workout (which was tough) and then i wanted to show him my 4-exercise circuit just to see what time i could do (yay, PR of 5:28!). what made me happier than the fact that my own father got ME to workout, was that his life change is due in part to me. and that gives me joy, knowing that i’ve helped give my dad a renewed view on life so he can live a longer, healthier life. (ok, partly selfish on my part – i want him with me forever!)
step 4: shift your focus – to others.
a primary reason for my going home was that my dear, sweet grams had been in the hospital and i wanted time with her and my poppa now that she was feeling better. being with them and giving them all my energy, love, and focus was just as good for me as it was for them. when all we do is focus on our little world, a funny thing happens – our joy is limited. when we open up ourselves to giving our time, effort, and love to others, the joy multiplies. part of my grandma’s recovery is highly focused on losing a little weight and really reining in her nutrition, coupled with daily physical therapy. so i went into nutritional nazi mode and plowed through her cabinets, getting rid of any foods she couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be eating, tossing any foods that had an expiration dating back to 2008 (grams….seriously you never need tuna, jello packets, or craisins ever again…you’re good!), and helping her to create a positive, healthy environment. we made a pretty fruit bowl for the cabinet so it’s her “go-to” and moved all the less-than-healthy (treat) foods to the back of the freezer and fridge so that she sets herself up for success. my favorite part was going to the store for her, fixing her snacks and meals while i was there and sharing with her how yummy healthy foods can be! then i took her home a fitbook pink so she can not only log her physical therapy (which her dr. asked her to do anyway) but track her food and her physical reactions that she may/may not have. plus, i told her that just the act of writing down her food results in consuming 500-1000 fewer calories. she was on board! in the back of the fitbook i wrote down quick ideas for breakasts, snacks, and lunch/dinner for her based on her dietary restrictions, gave her my go-to recipes, and even gave her the “best” options at each of the restaurants they go to when they eat out. she’s lost 14lbs in the past few weeks and she wants to continue on this path…and was overjoyed. but me…well, it made me feel so good because when you turn your focus to helping others, it changes you for the better.
step 5: enjoy the little moments
for me, colorado (especially lamar) moves just a little bit slower. yes, i work while i’m home and no i don’t completely just escape. but the responsibilities are fewer, my family is there, and fall in colorado has a way of taking your breath away. i found myself enjoying the smaller things in life…the bunny that was hopping through the grass, the black-eyed susans in bloom (or as my mom calls them, lazy susans), playing a leisurely game of scrabble with my brother & sister-in-law, or just taking in a sunset. whether it’s escaping for a few moments or a few hours each week, i’ve found that god gives me these times to reflect, gain perspective, and renew my energy.
step 6: re-engage + regain perspective
escaping is nice….but inevitably, the very thing that led to your “funk” will still be waiting for you when you return to. the key is to go through each of the above steps fully and i promise that you’ll have a different perspective. as mr. wayne dyer says, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change.” so with that renewed perspective, i returned to california thankful for the time i had. and i was refreshed to take on life and engage fully. i do this little “funk fighter” series every so often when life gets overwhelming. and inevitably upon return, i take on my business with an intense new energy, interact with friends and loved ones on a whole new level, and find myself having crazy new energy to take care of myself again. going to the gym, prepping my food, fixing healthy meals…while it’s second nature to me, sometimes i get burned out too. but taking this little much-needed, healthy break so i can come back better than before.
in a funk? share your tips to living a full life….even when you don’t feel like it sometimes!
with much love,