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Self-Care Steps

As I’m working through the Stephen King Bill Hodges trilogy, there is a significant emphasis on suicide. The books highlight the many life events and circumstances that might lead to someone thinking that their life is over or that it would be better to just stop living.

Since our new president-elect became a part of my reality I have been struggling with a lot of thoughts and emotions. I had already been battling my ever-present depression prior to this, but boy did election day ramp up my efforts. I’ve never really been the suicidal kind of depressed, but in the first week after election day my mind got a lot more…creative.

So I don’t want to get too personal here, but I figured that I am probably not alone when I say that I needed to re-evaluate what I do to manage stress. Usually I just zone out and play video games or read (mostly reading) but that just wasn’t cutting it anymore. After I ate myself into multiple naps over Thanksgiving and bought some stuff on Black Friday, I did some research on stress busting stuff, which is just stuff I already knew anyway, and I decided to implement some techniques starting this week.

1. Get active! This is the WORST RECOMMENDATION EVER god do I HATE this suggestion and especially at this time of year because it is usually attached to LOSE WEIGHT YOU LAND WHALE! but I thought about what I could do without stressing too much about the weight side of it. I’m one of the weirdos in the world that doesn’t mind treadmills or walking/running, but I’m too poor to buy a treadmill, but I’m NOT too poor to buy a new pair of sneakers and a sports bra, so I’m gonna just walk up the road and back to my house and see how far it is. It’s 2 miles! And I did it 3 times this week because apparently walking 2 miles at a VERY leisurely pace is too much for my feet because I have wicked blisters and had to let them rest in between. The moral of this story though is that being more active does chemical/biological stuff in your body to make you feel better and increase your defenses against bullshit so find how you can take a walk or be more active and do it, even if it seems small. We only have like 7 weeks left before our country gets lit on fire so get walking please.

2. I’m trying out Headspace, a meditation website/app, as a way to calm my thoughts and mind on a daily basis. I’ve never been much for these kinds of things, but I’m on my 5th day and it’s really nice to take ten minutes and just be quiet. It’s $94 or something to have access to it for an entire year and that’s what I pay for Amazon Prime for crying out loud so I’m not sure if I want to invest, but I definitely want to look into my options. Feel free to drop websites or recommendations in the comments if you have something that works.

3. Drink water. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink soda, coffee, tea, all those other things, just make sure you’re getting enough water. Since Monday I’ve had the 8-8oz glasses recommended each day, but I drink two 32 oz Nalgene bottles and not 8 separate glasses. Again, chemical/biological things that are beneficial to you happen when you drink this much water, so just do it.

4. Pick something you’ve always wanted to try that is within the realm of possibility to do, and do it. Starting this blog and reading more was mine, and now it’s a habit (“library addiction”) so I’m getting back to Duolingo to start building my French skills back up. I’m having fun with it and I feel like I’m achieving something so hooray!

These 4 things don’t take a lot of time. The walk takes about 40 minutes, meditation sessions are 10 minutes, Duolingo is about 5 minutes, and I drink water throughout the day. My struggle is that it takes so much effort to do them in the first place. Just getting started is my struggle. But I have to be ready, I have to be prepared, I have to be ready and mentally stable. So I’m gonna keep reading, walking, drinking water, being peaceful, and learning. Join me, won’t you?

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