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3 Ways I’m Getting Past a Mom Funk

by Meagan Francis on January 28, 2013

getting past the blues as a mom

Guys, I’ve had a rough few days.

I’m not a huge fan of winter in general, after Christmas excitement wears off and life gets back to normal. And this January has been particularly cold and gray – oh, so very, very gray.

Add to that a housebound weekend topped off by a particularly difficult episode of Downton Abbey (don’t laugh!), and you’re looking at a perfect recipe for Mom Funk: The Winter Edition.

But just because I’ve been a little down doesn’t mean I have to stay there, right? As I pointed out in my previous “Mom Funk” post,  occasional blue periods are normal, and they don’t define me as a person or a mother.

Best yet, Mom Funks can be turned around. Here are three simple ways I’m working on reversing my current funk and getting my spirits up:

1) Indulge in healthy, comforting rituals.

Going to the gym to work up a sweat –  and maybe hitting the steam room afterward as a reward? A healthy ritual. Savoring an extra cup of hot tea before the kids get up in the morning? A comforting ritual.

Too much wine, a Target spree, a chocolate gorge, or a run through the drive-thru to stuff down the sad (or the SAD) with French fries? Definitely not healthy, and not even particularly comforting when you consider indigestion, headaches and a blown budget.

This time of year, it’s so tempting to ride off the rails sipping, shopping and snarfing in search of a good feeling, but in the end, it really feels best when we take care of ourselves. That means keeping all those guilty pleasures to a minimum and finding other, healthier ways to get a natural buzz.

2) Create a new narrative.

Today I realized how many times over the last few days I’ve said something along these lines: “WHY do I live in this state again?” “Ugh, these gray skies are KILLING me” and “I gotta get out of here!” And it’s just not very helpful to remind myself daily of how much I hate about the current weather.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s cathartic to wallow a little, and letting myself feel gloomy and glum for a few days can be an effective way of getting it out of my system so I can get back to the business of living.

But as with anything else, at some point, perception becomes reality and we all have the opportunity to write our own stories. In that spirit, I’m trying to remind myself of some of the positives of winter: tall boots, cuddling under soft blankets with a good book, and no fruit flies.

3) Embrace (and improve!) reality.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that last Friday, I shrugged off any possibility of productivity and spent almost the entire day searching online for travel deals to some warm, exotic locale.

After hours of clicking, reality finally set in: no, there aren’t any $60 round-trip airplane fares to tropical locations in February; no, we don’t have an on-call nanny who will come take our kids for the weekend for free just because she’s nice like that; and no, neither our babysitting nor budget realities would allow for us to fly off to the Caribbean for a 48-hour soak in the sun.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to another weekend spent indoors wishing I was a native Californian. Right now, my reality simply does not consist of vacations in warm locales, but what about all the great things we can do in our actual lives?

Instead of wasting time wishing for something that isn’t going to happen, I decided it was time to embrace reality. And not just embrace it, but also look for ways to make it better, more special, and more fun.

To start, we’re planning a family ski trip to Grand Geneva this weekend: it’s something fun we can do as a family; it’s only a three-hour drive away, and it’s decidedly more affordable than heading off on a tropical vacation.

“Um, hey,” you’re saying; “A ski weekend isn’t in the cards for me.” I hear you! There are definitely things we all can do to embrace and improve reality…while staying close to home.

Some ideas I’m considering: rearrange the furniture in my bedroom, paint that end table I picked up at an estate sale a year ago,  order seeds and start them indoors…or if I’m feeling really ambitious, I could decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day big this year, rather than pretty much blowing it off like I usually do.

Hopefully within a few days of putting some of these ideas into action, I’ll have moved past my funk and will be ready to ride out the rest of the winter with a positive attitude.

Have you been struggling with a weather- or life- related funk lately? Could indulging in healthy, comforting rituals, writing a new narrative, or embracing and bettering reality help you?

*Warning! It’s very possible my comments section will be overtaken by Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 4 spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, be forewarned! Also, if you have seen more of Season 3, I ask that you please refrain from sharing spoilers from episodes beyond #4 so that those of us watching in the States in real-time can enjoy the mystery. 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela January 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Love this post. You are SO right on. Taking care of US, as Moms is a great way to beat the Mom funk. I’ve been a little down lately too but, mine is mostly due to crazy pregnancy hormones and little ones, that are always two steps ahead of me these days.

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Tara January 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

Thanks Meagan, This is EXACTLY the post I needed today. Love your ideas of how to get us all out of the funk we find ourselves in!

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Kirsetin January 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

Mom Funk, Indeed. It’s going around! My husband and I decided a few years ago that, as long as we’re living in Michigan, we wouldn’t make any Big Life-Altering decisions during February or March. I love your ideas, and all 3 resonate. After a particularly funky day yesterday, I played a hard game of basketball last night. Just what the doctor (and the Happiest Mom) ordered. Now about that mindset… working on it. :)

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Lindsey January 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

I love these … very tangible and actionable ways to improve a gray mood. I’m in the same place, staring out my window at the dirty snow, feeling overwhelmed and tired, etc, etc, etc. I am going to let go of the narrative of how YUCK it all is … RIGHT NOW. Thank you. xox

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Katherine January 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Sometimes I feel like you are talking right to me. I have been making an effort to actually DO some of the fun projects that I’ve found, rather than just looking at a bunch of other creative people and wasting more time in front of my computer. And Downton Abbey! They should put warning labels on episodes like that for hormonal pregnant women.

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Meagan Francis January 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Katherine – it was devastating, wasn’t it? I can’t imagine watching it while pregnant. I just couldn’t believe how it went down.

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Katie80 January 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

You are so right. This gray weather is killing my mood. This weekend I totally need to do *something* just to perk up again.

Have fun on your ski trip!

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Megan January 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Thank you for this post. It’s just what I needed to read as I sat here in the couch, wearing a sweatshirt from 1995 with ill-fitting lounge pants and only slightly-combed hair. I think I’ll go make a cup of tea right now.

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Renata January 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I have felt the same way a lot of times in the past 7 years…I have lived almost my entire life in Rio de Janeiro (plus 1 year in San Diego, CA) and grew up going to the beach throughout the year, and then when I got married I moved to Belo Horizonte, a city far away from the Brazilian coast… I will listen to you and try to leave the chocolate and go for the hot tea and workout!

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rose b January 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

I was in a big “funk” when I came across your post :( Funny you should choose the term ‘funk’. My dad always used that word when trying to explain away one of his four daughter’s moods :) I absolutely agree that I am going to do one of the projects that I have ‘pinned’ instead of just seeing what others have created! Today the sky is so gloomy and dark. I am still dealing with the remnants of the flu but I did manage to make my physical appointment and am going to put one foot in front of the other and try to be the light for my family that we are sooo lacking here today…

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Regina January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

Very good post, I can definitely relate to being in a mom funk, and these are great ideas.

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Amber February 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

It’s so true that there are lots of little things we can do to make our lives better. I’m thinking that today I’m going to spend some time tidying. Not constantly stepping on toys pretty much always lifts my mood.

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Jennifer McCullough November 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Meagan,
I’m dreading winter this year, just like every year, and these are some great tips I plan to put to good use. Thank you! I love your idea of planting seeds indoors. I will need to get a grow light since we don’t have a lot of bright sunny days where I live. I was thinking about getting one of those broad spectrum lights for people with seasonal affective disorder. Maybe a grow light will do the trick!

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