Here we are and I can’t say that I am feeling all the “new newness” of the year. I want to. I am trying to, but I can’t seem to get my head in the game. In fact, I spent the first days of the year “in a funk,” as my mom and baby sister would say. A million things to do. Too many ideas floating around in my head. “Goings on” I would normally be excited about. I just could not get myself motivated to do anything.
I blame “wintercearig”–winter sorrow–a feeling of downheartedness or despondency caused by or as desolate as the depths of winter. You can read all about the Anglo-Saxon word on the Haggard Hawks blog. Wintercearig perfectly captures the impact of the winter season.
I don’t think I suffer from “seasonal affective disorder,” but December brought two or three weeks (straight) of dreary, rainy weather followed by insanely cold temperatures.
Actual temperature two days before Christmas–and I had done very little preparation.
Considering this is the South, it was downright disrespectful. It seemed everyone’s spirits suffered. My own bones were so steeped in “winter sorrow” that I had to fake my way through the holidays.
When I was facing the return to work last week, I struggled. I literally begged God to lift my spirits. I had things to do, after all!
An agonizing day later, my Bible study took me to Philippians 3:13-14:
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Even though the verses have different meanings, I stalled at the phrase “press on” and accepted the Divine instruction to press. As much as I would have loved to lie on the sofa under a comfy throw and binge-watch “whatever,” I was well aware of the reality:
We have responsibilities that we cannot ignore and we can’t always “lie down” and succumb to our feelings. Sometimes, we have to “press on” no matter what. So, I sat down and scribbled some ideas in my journal to help get me through the day–ideas for “pressing” on when we lack motivation, when we’re weary, and when we’re simply “in a funk.”
- First things first: Get up and move. Do something. Walk. Run. Dance. Clean your house. Chop some wood. Just move. Don’t allow yourself to sit and wallow.
- If you’re anything like me, when you don’t feel like doing anything, staring at a long list of tasks to be completed is enough to send you into a state of depression. Sometimes, you have to place the lengthy list in a drawer and make a new list of the absolutely must-dos and hit that list hard and fast—one by one. Task by task is key to not overwhelming yourself and running in the opposite direction. Pro tip: When you’re “in a funk,” even the smallest task, expectation, or obligation can feel impossible, so pray your way through every movement and remind yourself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
- Make a piping hot cup of tea and sip slowly while listening to some cool jazz or your favorite music. Yes, tea is the answer to almost everything. 😉
- And while we’re on the subject of music. Create a playlist of your upbeat favs and sing along loudly and off key. There’s nothing like giving your abdominals a good workout to improve mood. I’m sure there’s some physiological explanation for that, but I’ll let the music therapists address the topic.
- Do something bright and colorful! Throw paint around. Play with stickers. Write a cheerful ditty or postcard. Do something that brings out your inner creative or inner child.
- Dial a friend. A funny one. One who is lighthearted and free and who will not allow you to remain in the doldrums.
- Plan a reward for yourself—a nap (my favorite reward), a new book, a pretty pen—something you can enjoy when you break free of your “downward” mood.
These all work for me, but what do you do when faced with all the icky, sluggish feelings that descend from time to time? Share in the comments.
Until next time…
May 2023 be good to thee. 😉