How to Cope When You’re Feeling “Weird” or Off”

By The Jed Foundation (JED)

Well-Being Community

It’s totally normal to have a day here or there where we just feel a little bit “weird” or “off”. In other words, not quite ourselves. Even though this is common, it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on with our emotional and physical state when this happens. Here are some things you can do.

Meet your needs

First check in with yourself and identify which, if any, of your needs have not been met today. Meeting this need might not alleviate your “off” feelings, but it could help you tune into what your body and mind have been needing — and what they haven’t been given. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do I best describe the feelings I’m having? Do I feel “weird” because I’m having a combination of feelings? If so, what are they?
  • Has anything happened recently that might be connected to these feelings?
  • If something is going on for me, what do I need to figure out or clarify that may be confusing or disorienting?

It can be difficult to meet our own needs when we’re busy or feeling run-down. Sometimes, simply starting and sticking to your regular routine can help a lot.

How to help yourself

If you’ve reflected on your emotional and physical state, and you’ve run through the list and feel you’ve met your needs, and you still feel “off,” you might want to consider some of these specific coping strategies to alleviate those negative feelings:

Meditation and mindfulness

Find some guided meditations on YouTube or a meditation app, or set aside time in your day to practice mindfulness and deep breathing. This has been known to help decrease anxiety levels and alleviate stress. Even five minutes at a time is enough to start with and makes a difference.

Gentle stretching or yoga

Move your body in purposeful ways to stretch your muscles and improve blood flow in order to help alleviate negative feelings and heighten energy. Plus, it can help relax and center you.

Exercise and walking

If you practice or participate in a sport, like to work out, or enjoy a simple walk outdoors, any of these can help improve your mood and energy levels.

Self-care for your senses

Set aside time to do activities that engage your five senses. Some of these could include:

  • Watching or looking at your favorite art, movie, or TV show
  • Listening to your favorite music or podcasts
  • Using your favorite scented lotions or soaps, or lighting candles
  • Touching or holding your favorite blanket or stuffed animal
  • Eating your favorite snack or candy

Engage your support system

If you have friends or family members that you can talk to about what you’re feeling, reach out to them. Engaging your support system can also mean just spending time with them or doing a fun activity together, without talking about your feelings. Either way, leaning on people and spending time can help you feel better overall.

Talk to a counselor or therapist

You don’t need to have a mental health condition or diagnosed illness to talk to a professional. Everyone has negative emotions that should be dealt with and a therapist can often give helpful advice and strategies for when we don’t feel our best.

Change your relationship to your triggers

This statement can mean a lot of things. Changing your relationship to what triggers your “off” feelings could mean figuring out how to avoid them altogether, or learning coping strategies to regulate your emotions when you come across them. Depending on the trigger and the reason behind it, this may be worth discussing with a therapist if you’re struggling. If at any time your “off” feelings worsen or you experience suicidal thoughts, reach out to a professional immediately. You can also text “START” to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate help.

How to support someone you know

If you’re worried a loved one has been feeling “weird” or “off” and it’s been going on for a while, there are ways you can reach out empathetically and without judgement.

  • When we use “I” statements, it’s easier to communicate our feelings and concerns in a way that doesn’t guilt or shame the person. Start with, “I’m concerned that…” “I’ve noticed lately…”
  • Ask open-ended questions: “Can you tell me more about…” “How do you feel about…”
  • Support them in other ways like encouraging them to accomplish their goals, keeping them company, planning fun activities, including them in conversations, etc.