Thursday, March 27, 2014

Difference In A Day: What I Do When I Start To Feel Low

Today is grey and cold. I feel that way a little bit inside too... like, inside my heart or my spirit... or wherever we feel our feelings. I feel kind of blah today.

This week has been a little low for me, to be honest... and when I feel low, I just want to sit around and do nothing. So instead of doing nothing, I've tried to stay busy with this and that. Here are a few ways I keep myself from diving deeper down:

  • Craft time. Pull out paper, glue, scissors, doo-dads (I had buttons), sparkles and go for it! Be creative, have very few boundaries and see what happens. I made a few cards and Lucas created the cutest little crocodile I've ever seen!
  • Cooking. I've severely cut our grocery budget this past month (because yikes!), which has resulted in creatively making meals and snacks with pantry items I already have. My favorite is to make baked goods using substitutions like peanut butter, bananas and non-dairy nut beverages. It's fun, and there are always delicious treats as a result!
  • Writing. I've written a blog post on disappointment, but have yet to post it online. Still in the works.... Writing is a great way to clear my heart and head. Often I keep the writing private, because if we can't be fully honest in our thoughts, then it's not helpful to our hearts. 
  • Nutrition. When I'm feeling low I can often see patterns that have led up to a bad day. Too much sugar, inconsistent meals, lots of caffeine, and not enough wholesome foods. In addition to cleaning up my food habits, I tend to add things like lemon water, turmeric tea and smoothies to my diet. Usually within a couple days, I feel better... mostly.
  • Naps. For some... naps are not a good pattern to get into when suffering from depression. This can lead to avoidance, withdrawn behavior patterns and apathy... resulting in more depression. For me... a nap can help jump-start my late afternoon and evenings. As a mother and wife, I often feel weary and worn down. The day in and day out of constantly serving can lead to emotional and mental weariness. A nap can feel like a break for my brain and body in what often feels like a long day.
  • Movies or series. I'm not gonna lie... on days when Lucas lays down for his own nap, I get excited to turn on the tv and watch whatever interests me that day. Sometimes it's a documentary, and other times it's something frivolous and silly. Whether it's a good laugh or a good cry, it's a distraction from my internal dialogue, responsibilities and again, what feels like a day of serving others non-stop.
  • Something physical I can do indoors. I typically choose yoga, but sometimes prefer pilates, a game of hide and seek with the kiddo or just a tickle fight. Whatever gets the blood moving, always helps.
  • Reading. Lately, reading has been a little bit more challenging. Not sure why... but my focus hasn't been what it usually is. That being said, reading can be a great little escape when you have a few minutes here and there.
  • Reading something inspirational. For me, it's usually something spiritual, but we all find inspiration in different ways and whatever makes us feel like we've got the umph! to put another foot in front of ourselves, do it.
  • Looking at funny things on the internet. I'm not gonna lie, you guys... sometimes I go on Pinterest and look only at the "humor" section. Because some days... that's what it takes. Plus... you can always send the pins to your friends and then you have someone to laugh with! Laughter increases special hormones in your brain, and then... you feel just a little bit better.
  • Talking to friends. When I feel crappy, I email my bestie and text my sis. Always cheers me up. In addition, I try and FaceTime, Gmail Chat and be in touch with people who are both encouraging and honest. The temptation to withdraw and stay private has to be resisted, especially when a good chuckle or a sweet story from a trusted friend can make all the difference in a day.
Everyone has things they like to do, but depression can distract us from holding on to our "hobbies." Often, I just sit and dwell in my thoughts, which is super unhealthy for me. My internal dialogue isn't always in a good place and I find myself feeling convinced of things that are severely untrue (feelings of worthlessness...etc.). Staying busy can really help get us through the "dark times" and though we should remain self-aware, making efforts to do the things we enjoy can make a huge difference in a day.

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