Getting Out Of A Depression Funk: Advice And Techniques That Can Help

It's normal to feel a little low occasionally. You might feel flat, grumpy, or worn out. Sometimes you can identify what's causing the feeling, like being passed over for a promotion at work or having a fight with a friend. Other times, though, the depression funk takes hold without an identifiable reason.

Those feelings of "blah-ness" are still valid, even if you don't know why they are happening.

Depression funks typically go away on their own after a few days. But that low, empty feeling might be your body's way of telling you that it needs a break or a change.

Here are some techniques that could help you pull yourself out of the funk and get back to the brighter side of life. 

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Practice mindfulness

Often when you are in a depression funk, you get caught in a cycle of worrying about the future or analyzing the past. To get out of the funk, try focusing on the present.

Mindfulness is a practice of focusing on the here and now, and there are different ways to experience it. Some people find meditation apps helpful, while others prefer to practice yoga, color in a coloring book, or do a craft. Whatever safe activity helps you break the cycle of negative thinking and allows you to focus on the present is the perfect place to start.

Move your body

Moving is what matters here, not how you do it. If running a few miles helps, that's great. You don't have to be a marathon runner to get the mental health benefits of moving your body, though. Swimming, yoga, and even going for a walk are all great for breaking out of a depression funk. You could even dance around the living room to your favorite song.

Physical activity releases feel-good hormones in your brain like serotonin, which can elevate your mood long after you stop moving.

Get outside

Reconnecting with nature can have a powerful effect on your mental well-being. According to the American Psychological Association, "Spending time in nature can act as a balm to our busy brains."¹

Research has shown that spending time outdoors increases feelings of happiness, decreases anxiety, and strengthens a sense of purpose and meaning. So dig your toes into the sand, watch the birds fly overhead, or doze in the shade of a tree.

Find a way to connect with nature and see if it helps boost your mood. 

Make some fun plans

You might experience a depression funk when everything starts to feel the same. Maybe you are working from home, are stuck in a rut, or don't feel like you currently have anything to look forward to.

Shake things up by making a plan for something that excites you. That could be anything from a dinner date with a friend or planning your next big backpacking adventure abroad.

Giving yourself something fun to look forward to can help stop negative thinking about the past.

Practice self-care

Self-care looks different for everyone. Maybe for you, self-care looks like taking a long nap in fresh sheets. Or maybe it's doing a face mask and using your collection of bath bombs for an afternoon of pampering.

Whatever self-care looks like for you, set aside some time to do an activity that makes you feel good. The goal is to be kind to yourself without feeling any pressure to get over the funk right away. 

When to seek help for a depression funk

It's normal to have a few days here or there where you feel a little down or "not quite right." However, reach out to a professional if:

  • The depression funk lasts longer than a few days

  • Your funks seem to be happening more often and lasting longer

  • Your depression worsens

  • If it stops you from enjoying your routine activities or focusing on your daily work for more than a few days

In these cases, what you are feeling may be more than just a temporary low point. Your health care provider can help diagnose any potential issues and assist you in creating a treatment plan, if necessary.

If you start to experience thoughts of suicide, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room right away.

The lowdown

It's normal to feel down sometimes. These feelings usually only last a couple of days and go away on their own.

Techniques such as exercising, getting outside, pampering yourself, or practicing mindfulness can help alleviate the symptoms of depression funk.

If the feelings don't go away, or if they happen more often or get worse, you should reach out to a medical professional for help.

  1. Nurtured by nature | American Psychological Association

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