When you finally accomplish something big in your life, something that’s taken up a lot of your time and mental energy, there’s a big gap in your life when the goal is finally completed. That’s how I’m feeling right now after graduating from my MFA program. It was only two years, but having school meant having a structure in my life that kept me going day-in and day-out. I knew that everyday I was working towards completing my degree. And now, in addition to not having a clear goal going forward, I have a sense of loss for the old goal.
I graduated exactly one week ago, and it’s finally setting in that I have no concrete plans going forward. I’ve had family in town and tasks to keep me busy during this week, but today was the first day that I felt the void. I did have some work to complete for a web series project I’m working on, so I did that. But I then spent the rest of my day pretty much inert on either my couch or bed watching reality shows like Intervention on Netflix or reading magazines like Rachel Ray’s Everyday. I’m not ashamed to admit the slothful day I let myself have; we’ve all got days like that. Personally, I know that when I have a lot of free time alone, I fall into bad patterns (something I’m trying to work on). I guess you could say that I fell into a funk today. I have to remind myself that they are a natural and inevitable part of life. But a lot of my hours today felt incredibly frustrating and low.
I’m trying to prepare myself for next week, when I’ll have to finally face that void head on and start looking for jobs. But during that time while I’m job-hunting, I’ll have to find ways to buoy my spirits.
How do you get out of your funk when you have one?
Here are a few of the things that help me on days like this.
1) Make a Schedule or To-Do List – This simply helps you feel in control of your life going forward. Yes, today may be a wash of inactivity, but when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll have things you know you have to get to.
2) Move Your Body – Not only because moving and exercising helps with your mood but because the act of moving your physical body encourages mental movement too.
3) Make Someone Else Feel Better – Sometimes when I have no energy to help myself, I can muster energy to write back an email to a friend or send a quick encouraging text to someone.
4) Write a list of 10 cool things you COULD do if you have the motivation to do – This one is my favorite! When you wake up in the morning and you have that first jolt of caffeine and you’re feeling inspired, write a list of all the cool, wacky things you might want to do someday. And consider this a non-pressured list – you don’t have to do these things. Your list could include “Create a business plan for a bed and breakfast” or “Take a Woodworking Class.” Anything and everything that sparks some excitement in you goes on the list.