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The Recipe for Beating the COVID ‘Funk’

For many people, being confined is taking its toll. People are noticing changes with their mood, energy and motivation. 

If you are feeling the effects of COVID confinement, what might it look like to listen to your inner thoughts? 

You might say:

  • “I am so tired and I haven’t done anything all day”
  • “What wrong with you, just do something” !

or

  • “I hate the way I feel right now. I feel lazy, exhausted and worthless” 
  • “I just don’t feel like doing anything….”!

or

  • “I don’t feel motivated to get dressed and showered.…”  
  • “I need to stop making excuses – why am I making all these excuses” !

or

  • “ I feel so overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin”
  • “I just can’t seem to shake the way I feel!” 

or

  • “How can I just start to exercise and take care of myself!”
  • “How do I get out of my FUNK. I’ve lost everything – my gym, my daily routine, my eating habits, my friends….EVERYTHING”

COVID-19 has led many people to experience significant disconnection, isolation and overall shift in mood towards feeling despair. Everything about our typical life has been completely turned upside down to a place that many of us never dreamed about, nor prepared for. To live mentally well, we require routine and structure to feel safe, secure and productive along with connections and pleasurable meaningful experiences.

We generally build our lives around mostly two dimensions – A world within our home and a world outside of our home. The structuring of these two co-existing worlds create our inner balance, homeostatic functioning and meaning. Our inner world at home is connected to our family and selves while our outer world beyond our home is connected to employment, friends,  hobbies and interests, community groups, restaurants, faith-based communities, exercise, and so many other means of social connection and engagement.

COVID -19 has completely dissolved half of our outer world connections routines and structure. The unbalancing effects of this are profound, and for some, of a greater emotional magnitude. During the first few weeks of COVID-19 isolation, many held on to the hope that this virus would pass in a few weeks and we would be back to our dualities of life quickly. Now many are starting to experience the realities that we may be needing to shift our realities and the way we currently live significantly, including the loss of many of the outer world activities that brought us daily routine, structure, meaning connection, experiences and pleasures. 

The unbalancing of our outer world has led many to now experience the FUNK within the inner world of themselves and trying to function within the confinement of their homes.

Are you experiencing:

  • Fears or worries as a result COVID-19 isolation, social distancing or futuristic catastrophic thoughts? 
  • Are you dreading each day because of loss of structure, routines, and connection to your friends and the world outside your home that you live in?
  • Are you experiencing sadness? 
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed leading to a state of feeling functionally paralyzed?
  • Does you life feel out of control and not controllable right now? 
  • Are you struggling moment by moment on how to get going, function, find meaning, and difficulty to just get started?  

If you find yourself in any of these ares, you might be suffering the FUNK of COVID-19

You have two clear choices:

  1. Stay in the FUNK and give in to these feelings
  2. Do something different and get started

So, just to be totally clear, option number one is NOT for YOU! It’s not what you want and its definitely not going to help you feel better.

Let’s begin with the “Recipe” and “Ingredients” to free yourself from the FUNK and shift to feelings to a better place and feeling more “Effective” day to day

Recipe Name: “Just Do it, Don’t Think About it!” 

The scrumptious recipe will test all of your culinary self-care skills. Slow cooking this recipe can be good, but sometimes you just need to turn the oven up a notch, crank up the heat and make it happen to ‘infuse’ the flavours of commitment.

This recipe will require you to not miss using any ingredients. Ensure you follow the recipe closely in order to get the perfect results to this health tasting wellness meal. Also STIR these ingredients until they are well mixed into your lifestyle at home.

The “Just do it” recipe will provide you with enhanced energy, improved mood, and ignite your inner self. Once you commit to the recipe, you’ll want to flag this as a ‘keeper’ 

Ingredients

  1. 7 -8 hours of great sleep
    • Focus on developing healthy sleep hygiene You will always feel tired and lethargic with broken, poor, interrupted, light sleep.
    • Ensure you get into a good healthy sleep structure going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early 
    • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
    • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
    • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. 
    • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. 
    • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. 
    • Use your bed only for sleep and sex. 
    • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature. 
    • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
    • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
    • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack. 
    • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. 
    • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime. 
    • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
  2. 1 Cup of daily exercise
    • Exercise has many benefits including physical well-being but also mental wellness. 
    • Exercise strengthens mental resiliency, elevates mood, and lowers symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD
    • Start with the 5 minute rule. Pic one activation exercise and commit to doing it for 5 minutes. After five minutes, decide if you want to continue or just be completed after 5 minutes. Remember, either way, guess what – YOU STARTED AND COMPLETED AN EXERCISE TASK!! 
    • Increase your exercise activities over time, but be committed to doing it daily. 
    • Exercise includes anything that gets you moving and activated.
    • Here is a great link to the benefits of exercise and mental health
  3. 1 tablespoons of daily small achievable goals 
    • select out 1 small achievable task per day
    • Ensure that the main ingredients for this task include ‘Achievement” & “Pleasure” 
    • Allow yourself to be fully engaged in the task in a mindful way so you can experience the full benefits of doing this task
    • Try to plan one tablespoon of a meaning task per day and never miss this ingredient or the recipe will not taste right.
  4. Several ‘Scoops’ of Structured Planned Daily Routines
    • Planning your day out provides you a sense to ‘being in control’
    • It allows for you to build a structure ‘around you’ so that you beat the FUNK on only existing and ‘wasting time’ away
    • Have a wake up time and bedtime
    • Set a time to exercise
    • Plan you meals out
    • Set a time for FUN and what you will do
  5. 1 teaspoon of Anti-Avoidance spices
    • List out all your avoidances that are weighing you down and keeping you paralyzed
    • List them into an order of greatest to least avoidances
    • Select out one avoidance task and list out all the steps required to complete this task – then unleash the “Just Do It; Don’t Think About IT” Beast and tackle this head on!!
    • Commit each day to living a life on NOT avoiding…and just make it happen. Be a do’er and not a thinker!  This will make you feel Great
  6. Add Equal Parts, 1 cup of Daily FUN
    • List out all the activities that are ‘mood boosters’ that you can do at home
    • It you’re not sure what to do, search for “fun” activities online to do. 
    • Commit to trying new activities, hobbies or interests. 
    • Ensure that each day your mix in the ingredient of FUN to your day and be intentional about it. 
    • Ensure you FUN ingredient includes being realistic, engaging, pleasurable, and mindFUL not mindLESS!! 
    • Engage others at home in FUN experiences.
  7. 3 Tbsp of Connection with Positive People
    • If you want to get ignited out of the FUNK, find positive people to connect with. 
    • During these times, connection can be difficult, but explore ways to connect virtually, texting, social media and online etc. 
    • Engage positive family or friends 
    • Watch youtube motivational speakers 
    • Listen to podcasts of inspirational or motivation talks 
    • Fill the the recipe bowl with POSITIVE people that increase the taste, smell and flavour of this recipe. 

Remember, mix these ingredients of this recipe up well, stir up commitment, cook it at the perfect temperature, and get ready to combat your FUNK. 

Remember, be the light to your world

Ian

May 7th, 2020