Why do I feel “weird” or “off”?
We’ve all been there. It’s completely normal not to feel like ourselves from time to time and having an “off” or “weird” day or two is common. In fact, when we feel like this it can tell us a lot about how our environments and habits are affecting us.
If your off or weird feelings last more than a day or two, we suggest trying to get to the root of what’s going on with you. You can do this by giving yourself time to reflect and asking yourself some questions, but in a non-judgemental way. Find a quiet, peaceful time and check in with yourself using some of the tips below.
Identify what you’re feeling
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?
- If nothing is happening in particular, what can I do to bring myself back to a more familiar emotional balance?
If you can identify a feeling or multiple feelings that are somewhat similar to how you’re feeling now, you can start working on ways to feel better. If you’re having a hard time, this Emotion and Feeling Wheel might be able to help you find the words.
Check in with yourself physically
While feeling “weird” or “off” might be something you can’t quite put your finger on, it’s also important to pay attention to your body and see if you’re experiencing any physical symptoms. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I feel hungry or thirsty?
- Am I cold or hot?
- Do I feel high or have low energy?
- Am I holding tension in my body? For example:
- Clenching teeth
- Shoulder stiffness or back pain
- Stiffness in another body part
A body scan meditation can help you check in with your body when you’re not feeling your best, and it can help you feel calm after having a hard time. This 3-minute body scan meditation is a great start. If you find that your body is tense or reflecting stress, it can be helpful to relax as much as you can and ask yourself, in an open and honest way, what may be causing the stress-reaction. It may seem odd, but our bodies can reflect emotional stress even when our thinking minds are unaware of it.
Identify Your Needs
Once you’ve identified what you’re feeling and checked in with your body, think about whether you have physical, emotional, or mental needs that aren’t being met?
- Do I need or want food or other kinds of nourishment?
- Do I need to move, stretch, or otherwise exercise my body?
- Do I need more regular or consistent sleep?
- Would it help me to speak to a friend or loved one?
- Are there feelings or negative thoughts that I need to let go of?
- Could I use alone time or other opportunities to recharge?
- What am I not tending to that could use some consideration? Are there things happening in relationships and/or at school or work that I need to think about and/or address?
- Is my life balanced? Are there changes I need to make in balancing work/school, core relationships, social life, and self-care time?
- Am I taking enough time for activities I enjoy outside of work or school?
If you find that one or more of your needs are going unmet for any period of time, it may be worth reevaluating your current patterns in order to better meet your basic needs. Schedules can become overwhelming or overbooked without us realizing it, and all too often our responsibilities to others may be outshining our responsibilities to ourselves.
Other things to consider
Are you someone that has a diagnosed mental or physical health condition?
If so, consider checking in on your medication schedule, any possible medication interactions, your blood sugar, or any other medical indicators that could contribute to your negative feelings. If you’ve lapsed on medications or are experiencing a health complication, reach out to your doctor.
If applicable to you, could it be linked to your menstrual cycle?
If you are currently experiencing your period, consider how your “off” feelings may be related to where you’re at in your cycle. Hormonal changes can cause fluctuations in emotions and energy levels. Feeling more emotional or less energetic due to your menstrual cycle does not invalidate or delegitimize your feelings. If the feeling persists and if you think the emotions you are experiencing might be related to menstruation, talk to your doctor.
How to feel better
Check out our article on How to Cope When You’re Feeling “Off” or “Weird” for a complete list of tips and resources, but in the meantime, here are some steps you can take to start feeling better:
- Start meeting your needs and keep meeting them.
- Create good habits around eating, hydrating, sleeping, and moving your body
- Take breaks for hobbies, meditation, and other positive activities
- Express and process emotions in a safe, productive way
- Find coping skills that are right for you. Some examples are:
- Journaling and creative writing
- Drawing, painting, or making art
- Exercise, walking, or hiking
- Meditation, mindfulness
- Engaging in one preferred spiritual practice and/or prayer
- Yoga or stretching
- Talking to family and friends
- Talking to a therapist
As always, if you or a loved one are feeling “off” and having thoughts about suicide or thoughts about self-harm, reach out to a professional for help immediately. Text “START” to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).