Shorter Days, Longer Nights: How to Fight the “Funk”

It’s early November. And that means only one thing. My old friend “Funk” will be dropping by. Funk likes to visit when the days get shorter and the nights get longer. In truth, Funk is kind of an a-hole. He convinces me to surf Facebook instead of working out, argues with me that it’s better to hole myself up inside rather than run errands and I swear he slips me a mickey on the nights I find myself drooling and passed out on the couch by 7:30 p.m.

My relationship with Funk is a decades-long one. It starts innocently enough as I justify my mental and physical winding down as a response to a social-filled whirlwind of a summer. I deserve some warm, cozy and quiet downtime. But by the time the holiday buzz is over and I turn the calendar to January, I have a list of bad habits that have become New Year’s resolutions—eat cleaner, exercise more, spend less time on social media, don’t be such an irritable beeyotch, blah, blah, blah.

But not this year. This year, I’m telling Funk to F@#K OFF. Instead of falling behind as the clocks fall back this Sunday, I’m making a promise to myself to beat Funk at his own game. I already know what I need to do; I just need to do it…and now. No shame spiral for me this year, folks! I’m launching a surprise attack on Funk by creating healthy habits that will pull me through the dreary winter months and beyond. Here are a few ideas I have in mind…

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Harness That Extra Hour

Yay, I gain an extra hour of sleep!! Not so fast. Instead of getting extra Zzzzs, I’m going use that extra hour every day to get a jump on things. Maybe it’s 60 minutes of quiet, coffee and journaling before the kids get up for school or, heck, maybe I’ll even workout. Sure, the clock says 5 a.m., but I know it’s 6 a.m. And since I’m used to getting up then anyhow, my internal clock won’t need as much convincing. Rachael-1, Funk-0.

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Get a Daily Dose of Exercise

Whether it’s a killer hour-long cardio session, a half hour of lifting weights in my basement or 15 minutes of gentle stretching, I know movement does my body good. Not only do the endorphins it produces help keep me energized and productive throughout the day, but getting my sweat on on the daily keeps my fitness goals in check so I’m not in panic mode 3 weeks before bathing suit season.

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Get Yer Funny On

When Funk is in the house, nothing makes him feel more unwelcome than laughter. I just open Spotify, type “comedy” into the search bar and instantly have a front row seat to the world’s funniest comedians. Eddie Murphy, Jim Gaffigan and Robin Williams are this mommy’s little helpers. If comedy ain’t your thang, listen to an uplifting podcast or an 80s playlist (that always works for me, too).

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Spend Some Time Outside

I’m not sure why I live in Wisconsin since winter and I really don’t care for one another. But this year, I’m going to make Funk jealous by embracing the elements. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing have been on my must-try list for some time now. Enough talk, it’s time to do. But getting outside for some fresh air doesn’t have to always be a major undertaking. It can be a short walk around the block over lunch. Or a quick run for coffee and gas. The short of it? YOU GOTTA GET OUT! It’s so easy to hole yourself up—in your house, in your office—as Funk overstays his welcome.

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Let There Be Light

Go, go gadget light! So maybe those of you familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder already know about light therapy. With light therapy, you sit or work near a lamp outfitted with a bulb that mimics natural outdoor light, which helps kick those winter blues to the curb. From portable versions to full spectrum floor models, I think it’s worth a try, don’t you?

Or you can do what I did and buy a sunrise simulation alarm clock. I have to tell you, it’s so much nicer waking up to the soft glow of light and the sound of chirping birds than to my iPhone buzzing next to my ear. Take that and cram it up your cramhole, Funk!

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Make Your Sniffer Happy

Scent is incredibly powerful. It has the ability to take us back to a happy moment or transport us to a faraway place. I personally love “ocean” scented candles, as they remind me of fun family vacations and rum drinks. Last year, I bought an essential oil diffuser—jasmine and lavender are my favorite go-to scents, especially when my anxiety from being cooped up starts kicking in.

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Get the Hell Outta Dodge

Book a trip. There’s something about sand, sun and surf that feeds my soul. So I planned a spring break trip to Punta Cana. Having a getaway on the books not only guarantees my body a physical respite when it’s cold and crappy outside, but it gives my mental me something to look forward to. I feel like a kid at Christmas when counting down the days until that first sweet sip of margarita. And no, Funk, you’re not invited.

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© Rachael Liska, happyhearthappyhome.com

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