Every year, when summer turns into winter (do we really have a fall?), I get into a funk. It's hard to explain if you haven't been there, and if you haven't, odds are someone close to you has or is right now. I'm not sad, I'm not mad, college and my personal life are great, but it feels like there's a certain ~funk~ that creeps up on me this time of year.
This has been a pattern for a few years, I've been around the block with the whole mental health thing, but I'm not here to talk about myself. What's important is what I learned about how to get ahead of this season and how to hold myself accountable. Face it- when we get busy, we forget about our own wellbeing. And all of a sudden, you can't get out of bed.
The first tip I have is self awareness. Whether you're walking to class, driving to the gym, or taking a study break, it's ~very~ important that you take a break every now and then to notice how you're feeling. How are you feeling mentally? Physically? Here are some things to look for to see if you're falling into this ~funk~ I mentioned:
Self-destructive behaviors are tell-tale signs that you're slipping into a funk. Isolating myself is one of my big ones for example, I tend to spend more time alone than I do with the people I care about. I'll cancel plans or make excuses just so I can stay home.
Another big one is sleep. If you're a teen or in your early 20s, we need about 8 hours of sleep every 24 hour period. Insomnia and lack of sleep is another noticeable factor.
Lastly, the infamous depression nap. This one is my favorite. You have a lot to do, you're overwhelmed with how behind you are or how much you need to do, and how do you respond? A bitchin' three hour nap. These are some factors to look for to determine if you need to bite this funk before it bites you.
Now, what happens when you are in a funk, or feel yourself slipping into one? One of the most important things you can do is to talk about it. Tell someone you see often or even a parent. Someone that can hold you accountable, ask if you're going to class/work on time, check up on your mental health, an outside source that can get you out of your head. Something else you can do is see a counselor or therapist. It's essentially free on most or all insurance plans, and it can really change the trajectory of this season. There's nothing shameful or wrong about good mental health.
A friend introduced me to Psychology Today, it's a website that's sort of like Tinder for counselors and therapists. You type in your area code or city, and a bunch of professionals in your area come up under their profile. Check it out if you're curious.
Go find your pumpkin spice, and for the sake of everything Holy, remember to get out of bed. Be gentle to yourself this season!