The funk. The anxiety. The depression. The afterbirth of 2020 and the uncertainty of 2021. We’ve all felt it in some way or another. If it’s the grief from the pandemic, the monotony of our daily routine, the
absolutely terrifying anxiety of the political climate, all all together these are just few of the reason my productivity has been low and my tensions high. I think it is safe to say the past year has affected us all in some way or another. I don’t know about you but that combined with the dreary weather here in Amsterdam and lack of socialising has led to what I am going to call a funk. Feeling pretty strange, highs and lows but mostly a bit of a lack of excitement for the future. It’s prevented me from writing or really engaging much at all. The days have all kind of rolled into one, and a trip to the supermarket or bakery has become a high point of the day.
Well my funklepusses, I am here to lend some insights into small things that have helped pull me out of the funk, or at least offered me a ladder.
Give yourself some simple achievable tasks – I learnt this method on the BBC How Do You Cope podcast. The podcast presenter set himself the task of learning all the countries in the world, but you can pick anything you want just make sure it is realistic, small and achievable.
Treat yourself to a magazine subscription. For me there is nothing nicer than leafing through a “real” book or magazine or newspaper, folding the pages back as opposed to scrolling on a screen. A weekly treat arriving through my letterbox with a resounding thump on my doormat each week gives me pure joy. saving the interesting articles, for a drizzly Sunday morning in bed with coffee. Truly wonderful. If you are financially able, think about getting a subscription to one of your favourite magazines or papers – journalists can certainly do with a bit of extra help in the digital age where we expect all journalism to be free.
Something calming – my brain is pretty chaotic at the best of times, so I found knitting a really nice way to slow down my thoughts when I am feeling anxious. It also helps me to concentrate a bit better during meetings (I always make sure my camera is turned off), but I suppose it is the similar idea to doodling to help you concentrate when listening to others. I chose knitting because I have a bunch of wool just lying there and my Granny taught me to knit when I was little, but the glory of youtube is you can get a tutorial for pretty much anything, so try out some different things and see what works for you.
Movement – it doesn’t need to be a high intensity class, particularly if like me you have neighbours below you. Yoga, walking, full on sports – whatever works for you. I have recently bought an online subscription to a nice yoga studio I like, and yes pushing myself to actually get on that goddam mat is a struggle but I never regret doing it. You can get nice subscriptions to Psycle, Form, and Boho Beautiful, Yoga with Adriene, PPGym offer free daily classes on youtube.
Take your lunchbreak If you are working from home schedule your lunchbreak and block it in your calendar and spend some time away from your screen or work apparatus during that time. Ideally get some fresh air. Go for a walk. Turn off your notifications.
Learn Look into some free online courses. Sometimes I feel like I am not learning as much as I used to, and I can really recommend FutureLearn for some short free online courses in almost any topic you want, alternatively search Event Brite for free or very cheap online events. I have also started an evening course in Dutch which I am really enjoying.
Talk to people. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of friends and family who have listened to me vent when work has become tough or the four walls are driving me mad. This has really helped me, but I know it can be hard to reach out to people. If you do have a supportive network, reach out to them otherwise I have found podcasts have been my saving grace over the last few months. I try to choose podcasts that make me laugh or speak with empathy; Fi and Jane, Black Frasier, Private Parts ,The Imposter Club, How Do You Cope and of course The Adam Buxton podcast are my go-to listens at the moment.
Spend less time online. Ha! Sure! A screen-free lifestyle is easier said than done right? Especially these days. But seriously no one on their deathbed is going to have wish they spent more time on social media. I have found setting myself allocated time or a maximum amount of time, and turning my phone onto silent mode in the evening. It has made me the worst person at texting back, but not checking my phone has helped with my concentration and my mental health. I have also started opting for calls or voicenotes instead of texts.
So there you have it, a few things that have helped me to feel a leetle bit less funky. I would love to hear if you also have things that have helped you to feeling back to your usual self.