Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Last night I had a blast.
One of my friends recently celebrated a milestone birthday and we decided to take her to an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. A group of folks put on an interactive cocktail game where we were asked to solve riddles, paint the “roses” red, and take cute pictures!
Of course, if you know anything about me and my besties, we like to make an entrance; we each used various character inspo to create our outfits and we looked so CUTE.
It was a great night of laughing, drinking, gossip, and fun; a kind of fun I haven’t had in awhile.
I hate to admit that, at times, I was scared. Taking the Uber, being at an indoor event, hanging out in a bar; despite all of the fun moments, it made me worry.
Of course, I am fully vaccinated and kept my mask on as often as possible. Our small group kept to ourselves and only engaged with folks from a safe distance, but my paranoia has still grown in light of COVID being back on the rise.
I did my best to speak health, protection, and positivity over our crew; 3 of us are mothers and all of us have vulnerable people we love and want to consider.
The guilt hasn’t quite subsided yet.
I can’t help but feel like escaping this pandemic (endemic?) without serious illness for all this time is little more than pure, dumb luck.
While I so badly want to get back to a life where cocktail parties and girl’s night at the bar can be a carefree experience, I can feel myself getting nervous. We were all so excited to get back to “normal” and it feels like we could be right back on lockdown at any moment.
It’s enough to make my depression and anxiety more difficult to manage.
I know it’s often a little awkward or difficult to talk about mental health, but think about it, many of us have been in some form of lockdown for more than a year. Regardless of your politics or geographical location, it can often feel like the hits just keep coming and coming with no sign of slowing down.
When things got to be too much for me, I finally had to reach out for help. I started a journey of medication and things have turned around significantly. It might be controversial, but while I do believe in the awesome power of medication, talk-therapy, and trauma healing, I am also the type of person who believes that there are things that we can do to keep us from slipping too far down the white-rabbit hole (see what I did there?) ;-).
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes, our happiness and ability to cope is within our control.
Yes, I take meds and I know how much they help me, but there are also active decisions that I can make (or avoid) that will either enhance the impact of my medication regimen or take away from my ability to effectively problem solve in times of stress.
I decided to spend some time brainstorming methods that I’ve used to feel happier, even if the happiness is short-lived.
These are [some of] the things that never fail to make me feel more at ease:
- Gratitude – we’ve talked about gratitude journals before so you likely know how to do one already! I have found that appreciating your blessings has a way of boosting your happy energy.
- Nature – go for a walk, spend the day at the beach or lake, take a hike, listen to nature sounds or falling rain
- Daydreaming/Meditation/Visualization – I love getting lost in a daydream. While I don’t want all of my daydreams to actually come true, when I’m not in the mood to simply “zone out”, I turn my daydreams into visualizations. I see myself living the life that I want and I meditate on receiving those changes and expecting good things.
- “To Do” list – do one thing on your to do list that has been really bugging you. Maybe it’s the thing you’ve been putting off for weeks? Maybe it’s as simple as washing the dishes or going to the grocery store? Regardless of how big or small the task, it feels so good to check something off!
- Looking Outward – similar to gratitude, I often find it helpful to look outside of myself and gain perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we focus on other people who seem to have it “worse” than we do. I mean that sometimes it is easy to forget that we are only a tiny, almost insignificant part of this great, big world. Our problems and struggles aren’t meaningless, but they aren’t everything. To me, looking outward means checking in on friends, reading the news, offering to support others in need, or educating myself on things I am not knowledgable about. See the world outside of yourself and your own bullsh*t.
- Being Proud – celebrate yourself for who you are. Be proud of you because you are still here and still fighting. Remember that you aren’t the same person you were last year or the year before. You’ve grown, you’ve learned, you’ve changed. You are setting goals and doing the work. Be proud of yourself, no matter what. Find things to hype yourself up about.
- Connect – it might be easier said than done. Sometimes, when I am depressed, the last thing I want to do is reach out to others. I just want to be alone and wallow or worry. I don’t want to burden anyone and I get embarrassed by the weirdness in my mind. Connecting looks different for everyone, but the general concept of exchanging with others is soul-healing at its core. Spend time with your pet. Call a friend or send a text. Post in an online forum. Read a blog or watch a Youtube video of someone sharing an idea or experience.
- Minimize – this might be a little strange but hear me out. When a tough bought of depression and/or anxiety hits, I often feel the literal burden of my sadness and worry. It manifests itself in my physical body; causing me to feel heavy, bloated, suffocated, gross, and worn down. I have discovered that simplifying an aspect of my life goes a long way in making me feel both emotionally and physically lighter. I clean out my closet. I get rid of old clothes. I get rid of things we aren’t using. I throw away old food. I purge EJ’s old toys. You’d be surprised how freeing it feels to live with a little less clutter (literally, emotionally, or otherwise).
- Cleanse* – drink 10 cups of water, workout 3x this week, eat at least 2 vegetables/fruits each day, skip out on meat (or coffee, or sugar, or alcohol or other vices) for a short period of time and note how you feel. Challenge yourself to meditate, get 6+ hours of sleep each night. Eat regularly. Be safe. Tune out the noise of others. Get off of social media. Speak life into yourself and your loved ones. Sage. Light candles. Pray. Heal. Wash your face. Floss. Cook. Smile. Listen.
- Small Victories – things can be dark at times. Please try to remember that, for many of us, existing is a fight. When things are hard, I want you to know that I’m proud of you. I am proud of you for getting out of bed. I am proud of you for eating. I’m happy that you got through the day. Give yourself credit for doing the “easy” shit that isn’t really easy at all. It matters.
*please note that I am FULLY aware that a positive outlook, exercise, and a better diet is NOT the cure-all for mental health problems. I am NOT a picture of perfect health by any means and loving myself has been a lifelong effort and commitment; I hate when people tell me to “cheer up” or “think positive” when I am having a hard time. Still, there are moments where things like prioritizing workouts and mindfulness (along with regular therapy and medication) have made a world of difference.
What do you guys do to try to fight off the negative vibes? Feel free to let me know in the comments! I will see you very soon for yet another post — a little something new that I am SO excited about!
Until next time,
Carry on wifeys & gents!
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