Today, I am so excited to have Judy Davis guest posting on the blog! I met Judy in real life earlier this year, although I had known her online for much longer. I was seriously impressed when I met her. To make a long story short, she’s absolutely fantastic. She’s real and down-to-earth… and I just love her. Judy is not only a blogger, creator of a non-profit, and activist, but she’s also a motivational speaker and author. Both of her books were published this year– Right Side Up and Stories Around the Table. Judy has made it her mission to work with military families, specifically in the area of mental health and suicide ideation in military kids. Today, she shares a few tips for feeling better when you’re in a serious rut. (I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been there. And chances are, you’ve been to!)
You wake up and feel a bit off. Maybe you skip a workout or three, eat an extra chocolate bar or three, or even skip a shower or two. Perhaps you just realized you haven’t stepped out of the house or away from the computer for days and are content to live vicariously through your Facebook feed. You may have even begun to question “What’s wrong with me?”
I knew I was in trouble when I began to ask the question “Are you almost depressed?” It wasn’t like every day was a struggle, but some days I was content to lounge around in my husband’s old PT’s with my hair in a band (because then I didn’t have to deal with the clip if I wanted to lay my head down) and run the Netflix marathon of Army Wives.
They understood. They lived my life and got this military life…. Right?
I didn’t know how I was supposed to function now that everything was so different. Everything about this moment of my military life was different. It came to a head when my husband went on assignment for 6 weeks. This wasn’t a deployment, heck it was just 6 weeks – not the 12 months we had just completed late last year. But for the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to do. I was lost, bored, missing him.
I had lost all of my mojo and I had no idea how to get it back… Ok, I’ll just say it, I was in a funk.
So often, military life is much like a roller coaster ride; the highs are thrilling and wonderful, and the lows– well they can really get to you if you aren’t careful. And that’s right where I was: lethargic, disengaged, and definitely not myself. In fact, I was unsure of what I could do to turn things Right Side Up again.
So I did what any of the cool peeps would do– I grabbed a pint of Häagen-Dazs® and snuggled in to wait it out. Around week 3 of living in the land of the lost, I had had enough. I knew that the only way I could change the way I was feeling was to do something different. I knew that I needed to jump start my battery and replace the negative and degrading thoughts with something new.
So I tossed the last bit of the flavor of the day and took the following steps that quickly helped me change not only my mood, but my outlook on how I could better navigate military life from this point forward.
Here are my 5 simple ways to help you prevent and get out of your military life funk. Tape them to your fridge and use them whenever you begin to feel unmotivated or low in energy. Early action makes all the difference (and saves you from multiple trips to the frozen food section)!
When we are in a funk, horizontal often becomes our preferred position of choice. I learned that the quickest way to change how I feel is to get up out of bed, get up off the couch, get up from behind the computer, and get up and out of the house. Just get up and get vertical. The simple act of getting up changes your perspective and that’s the first step in defunk-ifying your life.
Roll your eyes and say “Duh,” but hear me out. When you are in a funk, your body isn’t producing your feel good hormones like it should. The simple act of smiling is a signal to your body to release endorphins. When you smile, it’s like getting a shot of happy. So stand in front of the mirror and smile. Make silly faces, grin, and show your pearly whites. Do it 50 times and do it again. Laugh at me for suggesting such a crazy thing. Just do it. You will feel better– I promise– and if looking in the mirror doesn’t do it, find some puppy or laughing baby videos – I mean, who can’t smile at those!
Step away from social media
I love social media and am an active participant. But the feeds of Facebook, Twitter and the like can be the worst place to focus my attention if I’m in a funk. Nowhere else can I get instant access to people who will eagerly feed my “whoa is me” or “my military life is so hard” attitude than the halls of social media. When you are feeling down, leave the comfort of the screen and connect in real life, because that’s where the real support and magic happens.
Take care of business
When in a funk we often neglect the simple things like getting the mail, grocery shopping, doing laundry, or walking the dog. By letting our funk impact the daily business of our lives, we create a spiral effect that leaves us feeling worse about ourselves and our life. Simply changing your sheets or cooking a real meal (popcorn and cereal don’t count) can do wonders for your mood.
When we are feeling down, it’s easy to think that we have it worse than anyone else. The best way to get out of a funk is to have purpose and do something of service. Take some time to volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter, visit a nursing home or local children’s cancer unit. Support a local fun run. Put yourself in a position where you can help or inspire someone who is less fortunate and your mood will instantly improve.
What are some of the ways you get out of a funk? Share your best tip that someone new to military life might use when they find themselves on the slippery slope!
Judy Davis, also known as The Direction Diva, is a motivational speaker, blogger, and author of Right Side Up: Find Your Way When Military Life Turns You Upside Down. She is an expert when it comes to helping Military Spouses move Beyond Logistics toward a better life and advocates for military families at LivingThruCrisis where she reveals the unspoken truth about suicide ideation, depression & addiction in military teens.
Disclaimer: This post contains no medical advice and is only meant for inspirational and self-help purposes. For medical advice, attention, and support, please contact a licensed medical health care provider or licensed mental health clinician.