Breaking the Funk

Ever have one of those days where you feel like each foot weighs about 100 times more than usual, your back seems like it is magnetized and pulling you to the couch, your to do list seems to grow before your eyes, you just can’t seem to get anything done, and you just can’t find the inspiration to get your butt in gear?

Yeah?  Well that was yesterday for me.  A shrink might call it depression.  I call it being in a funk and breaking out of it sometimes is easy, sometimes not.  For me, a total change of pace is often the answer.

Go and Do

This is all about changing the momentum of the situation.  Simply get up, get out, and do something.  As a nature photographer, this means pick up the camera and go outside.  Go do something.  Break the cycle and go explore.

Yesterday was a pretty nasty day with wind, rain, heavy overcast, and even a thunderstorm in the evening.  I just couldn’t get myself to go outside and photograph.  I don’t mind shooting in the rain, but when the whole point of getting up and going is to change the pace, somehow rain just didn’t seem like the answer.

Seek Inspiration

When you can’t get going, try to find some sort of inspiration.  Go look at some images.  For me, that can mean sitting at my computer and watching my screensaver which is a simple slideshow of my best images.  I also often seek inspiration from other people’s works.  Check out other photographer’s websites; pick up a good coffee table book; watch Planet Earth or some other inspiring program.

This can be encouraging and help me to turn things around and get working on something.  However, it can also make me feel a bit nostalgic, remembering how good it was on some trip and wishing I were there instead of sitting on my couch.  Looking at other’s images when you are in a particularly bad funk can lead to self doubt as well, so be careful as this can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

Embrace the Funk

I know this sounds a little counterintuitive, but sometimes I just need a break from everything.  Embrace the funk and lie on the couch, watch TV, read a book.  Do whatever it takes to get your mind away from it all and lets you reset and refocus.   Yesterday, after about 10:00, I made a delivery and then pretty much killed the rest of the day watching TV and wasting time. It wasn’t productive.  I can’t do it every day, but it was good for yesterday.  Instead of producing mediocre work that I’d have to redo anyway, I took some time away yesterday and this morning has been incredibly productive, my to do list is getting shorter, and I am feeling a lot better.  Sometimes all you may need is a break.

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