Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How I Fight Depression *and* Seasonal Affective Disorder (And Attend to Serious Boo-Boo's)

These are the months. The months of the year when you listen to James Vincent McMorrow, buy too many books, there is more darkness than light, more cold air than warmth, your 2-year-old gets a severe burn, and maybe more quiet and loneliness than friendly interaction, as well!

I have struggled over the years with Depression, and I want to share with you how I stay attentive, and keep the demonic of comparison at bay in my life, and I'm talking currently. While I'm attending the second or third degree burn from a baby putting her hand on the stove. Yeah.

If you feel like life is hard, remember that stress, demands, challenges, and disappointments are common to all.  Struggling is universal. Being a Mom has its own set of challenges, but that doesn't mean I am undermining whatever it is you are going through-- I do get it. We are all trying to do our best and enjoy life.  We are all trying to live above the circumstances, not because of them.

This goes without saying that a healthy diet is essential to feeling your best, and aloe vera and soaking in egg nog works wonders. Onward.......!

How do I fight depression and seasonal affective disorder, as a Mom to littles and a person with a lot of responsibility? (I can't check out or a baby will fry her hand)

1. Fill your life up with life

It's an understatement that we have a lot of life in our home.  #😂 We have six kids under the age of 9 roaming our halls, and they.are.all. prancing across beige carpet and running slimy hands against beige walls.  But this is actually my happiness and my joy. My baby's giggle can cheer me up any day.   Of course it's my calling, and I'm unbelievably biased, but these people make me happy. :)

Also, don't fill your mind with junk and garbage (can you say Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey?!) ... because out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Maybe fill your mind up with life, as well. 😊😳

2. Stay busier than you would think normal (say it with me: color-coded spreadsheets!!)

If you saw my to-do list, you would think I'm a crazy person.  I'm not OCD, not even close, but I have a million things constantly rotating through my Google Document + Sheets. (This is not Excel, I'm talking --- >  Open Docs, Tap the Upper left corner, you'll see the word "sheets"-- that stands for spreadsheets). I honestly have tired but I don't really use any fancy, expensive apps on my phone. I tried using apps for a while, (I know what you did last Summer), but it can be a time suck and you have to invest precious time that I simply do not have.  Spoiler alert: I cheated ... by searching on the internet for helpful tips.  If you're interesting in using Google Sheets to get organized, this article is a helpful place to start.

I DO use Reminders consistently, but I don't usually print out my to-do list, because if I write it in my planner, I can take photo on my iPhone and that's a lot easier!  BUT-- I do use spreadsheets for my To-Do's, Grocery List/Meal Plan, Book Read for the Year, Recipes, and Budget. I can transfer to my phone after I do a major brain dump in Docs and Sheets.  A great resource for grocery store staples can be found here.

One thing that's really helpful is to denote the difference between expenditures and budget.  You can write down everything or have a million money/finance organizing and to-do apps, but *if you don't set limits,* you still won't be organized, ultimately.  Organization means reaching attainable goals, and so without a real budget, not just jotting down accidentals and expenditures, you can't do that. {preaching to the choir, maybe?} :)  If there is something you really want, you can always wait a month (or longer) and see if you really *need* it. We tithe every month and truly leave our financial peace up to God. Flexing is never going to be more simple than that.... I'm serious :)

But yeah, I'm so very busy. I'm running errands, cleaning like a maniac, folding laundry, doing the dishes, constantly thinking of more I could do, and of course taking care of the kids. Shuttling them around, finding socks and homework and  books and you name it.  My planner is out.of.control! I love my mini happy planner, and I'm not gonna lie, I do love stickers.

The trick here amidst the CRAZY is that I rest on Sundays.  It makes me *more* productive throughout the week.  I'm pretty serious about it. Yeah.....if you're worried about me, you can read more about that manifesto here. (HA!)

3. Have conversations

Yeah, I'm talking IRL conversations, not texting or voxer!!!  :0)  Life isn't perfect. But mostly when I say this, I'm talking about talking to the people you do life with- mainly, for me, that's my husband. Obviously, I need someone to de-stress with. A lot of that is "How was your day" stuff over dinner. I also need someone to rehash situations or experiences with!  He is a good listening ear.  But I also have a tendency to be needy in talking with him.... waiting for him after the kids go to bed to have a "talk."  For those serious conversations,  I also need sisters, friends, Moms, mother-in-laws, grandmas, aunts, uncles, brothers..... you get it.  I have some dear friends who check up on me and whom I check up on, and I see them mainly at Church and Church events.  And, I have a counseling who I see for therapy on the regular.

4. Get fresh air

Even if you walk around the block at 6:30PM... in the dark, in the rain-- that counts!  Of course daylight hours are preferable, but at this stage in my life, I'll take what I can get.  Kids need fresh air, too. Schedule it into your week if it's hard to make it a priority. I'm talking to myself, here.

5. Be involved in a community {Don't make excuses}

I have been blogging for over 10 years, and during that time, I've met some really lonely people.  One specific category seems to be in chat groups on Facebook. I have met people in this subculture who may live in rural locations, or even those who "See" people everyday in a big city, but truly "Know" no one.  Perhaps life is a series of dates and shallow, empty parties or out-to-eat experiences... or the need for friends is "met" online, and so they only interact with their immediate family .... and that's about it. There are those who simply do not have the habit to make a lot of friends, and it concerns me the way the internet seems to make people feel less alone, so they do not reach out to the people in their own locale for x, y, or z reason.

Make friends.  Do it. There will always be bad days. Amidst those, DON'T make excuses, but in a moment of light, reach out. It takes courage- I've been there. But. Really. Make some friends!!! If you don't have an IRL community, you are missing out on alllllll the perks. Help, assistance, honesty, a ride, a listening ear. ALLLL the perks.
 #sufferingiswhenyouneeditmost (!!!)

6. Give feedback and receive it

Community requires work and vulnerability. I'll leave it at that. But don't be too proud to receive the honest truth about yourself.... and never be afraid to offer the truth to someone else. It can be painful. It can be scary. The truth takes work.  Learn how to have a conversation. It will be worth it..... in the end.

7. Receive Christ in his Eucharist

Just sayin.  My faith makes me whole. My faith, I believe, is the fullness of the faith of Christianity. Read more about that here:   A Convert on Mary  // Reading Our Way into Catholicism

8. Keep good parameters

Trite but true.  Boundaries with friends, family, screens, Twitter, Facebookin' and all of the above! Within limits, is always found freedom. It makes life much, much better. 😅

9.  See your family and keep up with them

This has become so special to me over the past 5 years. Even though it has its drawbacks at times, being close with my family is a good that outweighs the bad!  I can reach out if I need a listening ear or a favor. A ride, an errand, a prayer, an answer to a burning question, medical assistance, you name it. I have help and love and that support from my family brightens my day nine times out of ten!

10. Have limits and set limit

Practice giving something up for Lent. I gave up blogging for Lent last year, and it was so very good for me, I'm considering doing that again this year.  We as a family practice "No Screen Sundays" and it is outstanding for letting our kids un-fry and just play!  We can focus on them better, and that always seems to work wonders.

11. Consume Caffeine :)

True, although it can become a crutch and your nasty temper might flare if you can't get your fix (ask me how I know).  I love this nespresso maker and it can work wonders.  We have this milk frothing wand to easily make cappuccinos with our espresso machine.  I love this chocolate and diet cokes. I also love this french press, although ours' is old and missing parts so I haven't used it in ages. We use this pour over method for each cup of coffee. A cheaper espresso maker can be found here.  I love real half and half, and you can even steam it -- called a breve.

If you see me with a smile, usually it's because I am well-caffeinated. HA. 🐡

Set limits for yourself.
Be in community.
Soak in the sunshine.
Read for growth and for fun.
Read to your kiddos.

Oh and pray!

I hope this helps! :)

cross-posting here at the ACWB


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Manny said...

I know several people who get seasonal depression. These seem like good ideas. My prayers for you.