Sustain-ability: Bitches Get Shit Done
So, for the past couple of weeks I've had reason to be a bit emotionally under the weather -- sad even. The reason doesn't matter. But due to a couple of techniques, I've been in the upside position of being able to objectively evaluate what I'm feeling and see how it's impacting me... and therefore to do something about it.
As a disclaimer, this isn't about clinical depression, I'm not a medical provider, and I don't give medical advice. In fact, this isn't even about me so much as it's about this process that I went through that I found helpful. Your mileage is totally going to vary.
First, the new things in my life that helped me:
1. Mindfulness practice. In recently months I've been much better about meditating. This is due to a recommendation by Gordon over at Runesoup for Headspace. So credit where credit is due and both are highly recommended. This also happened to be a goal of my PMPM project (kicked off last year and blogged about occasionally under the label project Ivy).
2. Tracking. Haven't you written about this before, Ivy? Why yes, yes I have. But I recently started tracking some additional stuff with a "don't break the chain" model. Things that I want to accomplish on the regular, I track with this method (note, it's a technique, not a tool -- you can use paper or a calendar or a digital app, doesn't matter, doesn't cost anything).
Because of these two things, when I was feeling sad I could better see the impact. For example, I started eating like shit, had zero energy, experienced a kind of irritated ennui, and - ironically - completely broke the chain on my mindfulness practice (doh!). You can see what a horrible loop this could be, right? Because the very symptoms of my sadness could loop round and become exacerbating causes. So that's the good news, that I could get perspective on it and break the loop.
So, how did I do that? First, I gave myself permission to be sad and to communicate that sadness to my family (not that they didn't know). No point in feeling guilty about a perfectly normal emotion. Second I attacked the problem proactively. Now one school of thought is to be nurturing and baby myself a bit. But I was already a winey lump of woe, so I figured this might not be quite what was needed. Here's what I did instead:
- Magic, about three different kinds (sigils, conjuring, kitchen witchery)
- Took bonus longer dog walks
- Harvesting and drying herbs from the garden
- Making mushroom power (not those kinds of mushrooms!)
- Canning local strawberry syrup and jelly
- Baking an almond cake for father's day with pastry cream and fresh strawberries
- Cleaning out the fridge
- Doing 1000 loads of laundry (or so it seems)
- Chia pudding
- Found a source for raw dairy and making an order
- Arranged to purchase a side of grass fed beef for later in the summer
- Trying three new recipes for dinner veggies (two were even edible)
- Kale salad!
- Probiotics and B12 (lots of B12, I tend toward anemia)
- Sun -- no shortage of that here this week
- Best feel-good cure ever that I won't get into here (involving the spouse)
The important part of this though is not what I did to feel better (your list is going to be lots different, though walks / sunshine / and veggies are pretty universally applicable "feel better" cures). The important thing is that I managed to recognize how I was feeling and -- maybe even harder -- what the impact on me was.
And this was due to some good habits that I'd already had in place. Which speaks for a risk management model where you shore up the good stuff when things are going well instead of only focusing on the potential bad things. ... which will tie into my next post. But first, I have some chicken broth to make!