The Dead Shark Funk

You know how some sharks only stop swimming when they're dead? (That's what I've heard anyway, but I'm not about to take 10 extra seconds to open a new tab and actually google it, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.)

Well, anyway, that's basically you. You're a shark, baby! How cool is that? At your best, you are swimming. You have direction, motivation, and an insatiable hunger for marine mammals (maybe not that last part, but the other two things are true). You're a highly-driven individual with a zest for adventure and a true sense of purpose for your life.

But when you're in a funk, you tend to lose that sense of purpose, and it's a terrifying and miserable place to be in. Your usual shark-like movements become replaced by a tragic lack of energy. I mean, you may as well be an anemone or coral or a frickin sea cucumber -- slow moving, practically just sitting there, and definitely not up for any sort of adventure.

And while you're in the midst of your funk, you may be wondering why. Why is this happening to you? What happened to your boundless energy, your big plans for your life, your drive to make things happen? Well, your Dead Shark Funk has two possible causes: you've either swam yourself to death or you've been taken out by a predator.

In this first option, you've got way too much going on all at once. Whether it's work or a far-too-active social life or just a whole mess of unending commitments, you've gone belly up under all of the pressure. If that's the case, what you need is rest. But not, like, regular rest. You need shark rest. Because you're the type of person who is motivated by movement, change, and excitement, what you need during your funk is not a full stop but a slow-down. Think yellow light, not red light. And while you're swimming slowly, you can take the opportunity to look around, reassess, and focus on your next destination. You're a shark, remember, and sharks go places.

But here's the thing: it's possible you're already dead in the water. Someone or something knocked you out, and you haven't been able to get moving again. Perhaps another shark rejected you or a whale chewed you up and spat you out or -- you know what, I'm running out of ocean analogies, but you get my point: something bad went down in your life, and it's been hard to find energy to be your usual self ever since.

And that seems like a pretty dismal prognosis, right? Dead shark. How do you come back from that? You'd need a miracle, right?

EXACTLY, you magnificent shark, you! What you need is a bit of magic. You need, like, a sea witch (that's a thing, right?)! You need her to come out of her sea cave and revive you with her unexplained sea powers. You need stimulation. You need something special. You need to FEEL ALIVE again.

So whether you've gone and swam yourself to death or you've been taken out by the roughness of life, there are totally ways to get out of your Dead Shark Funk. We'll be working on doing that throughout the rest of this series, but in the meantime, here are some things I want you to focus on this week:

If you are a dead shark because you swam yourself to death...

1. Slow down. Rest like a shark by taking at least one significant thing off your to-do list. Replace that time with something rejuvenating -- a walk, a museum visit, a call with your neglected best friend -- any activity that gives you peace, do it.

2. Put something on your calendar in the near future that you can truly look forward to. You want to find something joyful to move towards as opposed to all of the stressful crap of life.

3. Find value in yourself apart from what you can DO. Instead, focus on what you can enjoy. At the end of each day this week, write down three things that absolutely delighted you. (And if you forget to make this list, don't beat yourself up about it.)

If you are a dead shark because life has knocked you down...

1. Do stuff. Fun stuff. Stuff that lights you up. Possibly even weird stuff. Make a list of hobbies, activities, and interests that you have abandoned over time (or that you've always wanted to try). Then, this week, schedule a time to do/enjoy one of those things.

2. Tell someone about the fun/weird thing you are going to do/enjoy. A friend, a loved one, your Twitter followers -- hell, tell ME! You're going to want to put off doing something good for yourself, so curb that temptation by bringing someone else in on what you're doing.

3. As much as you can manage it this week, try to spend time around people who energize you (and not so much time around people who don't energize you unless neglecting said individuals would be a criminal offense). Sure, in life, you've got to be around all kinds of people -- those who give, those who take, those who annoy, those who affirm, those who tear down. But this week, you are in a Dead Shark Funk. Regain some of your natural shark energy by being around people who just make you HAPPY. And if no one like that is coming to mind, that's okay. Just watch 30 Rock or something.

Alright, shark, get moving!