Thursday, February 23, 2017

Off my game.

Y'all?  This week I am just not feeling it.  My brain is a parade of "I don't wanna."  I don't wanna get out of bed.  I don't wanna go to the gym.  I don't wanna go to work.  I don't wanna go to yoga.  I don't wanna get in the shower.  I don't wanna make my lunch for tomorrow.  I don't wanna get in bed.  I don't wanna I don't wanna I don't wanna.  Whine, whine, whine.

I've come up with a solution for this lack of motivation: do it anyway.  Don't wanna get out of bed?  Do it anyway.  Don't wanna go to the gym?  Do it anyway.  Don't wanna go to work?  Do it anyway.  And so on.  Self care and routine can't stop when I'm feeling lazy or uninspired.  In fact that is one of the times when I need it most.

But I also need to be gentle with myself.  It does not behoove me to adhere to a routine with military strictness without regard to how I feel.  So I am giving myself the leeway to go slow.  Do the thing, do all the things, but just a little slower than I normally would.

This is likely a short-term problem.  Mardi Gras break is almost here, and I have a feeling that by the end of it I will be enthusiastically reembracing my routines.

When you're just not motivated to do the thing, how do you get it done while also taking care of yourself?


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mardi Gras Malarkey

If you don't live in New Orleans, there are some things you probably don't know.  Like that Mardi Gras effectively shuts down the city for the better part of a week.  Parades have already been rolling for a couple of weeks now, but starting tonight they go hot and heavy every night - and, beginning Saturday, all day as well - right on through (Fat) Tuesday.  It's understandable and sometimes simply unavoidable that businesses close.

Well, one of those businesses is my yoga studio.  My class there last night will be the last one I take at Swan River for over a week!  My brain is registering this as an all-out crisis.  I am of course off of work on Monday and Tuesday as well (yes, we close for Mardi Gras), and my gym is closed Tuesday.  Routine = destroyed.  What's a routine-loving gal like myself meant to do?

Plan!  And panic.  And then plan some more!  I've decided to look at this interruption as an opportunity to really develop my home yoga practice - thanks two decades of therapy!  I've slated myself for home practices from Friday through Tuesday, sometimes more than once a day.  I've developed a basic yoga series based on the classes I take regularly, and I plan to develop both a restorative series and a more challenging "workout" series, all based around poses that I'm confident I can have proper alignment in.  I'm gonna be fine.  I may even get to go walking, depending on the weather.

How do you handle interruptions to your routine?


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sick?

Last night I thought I was sick.  And with good reason.  I felt shaky and fevery enough to go home early from work, and while my temperature didn't go very high it did go up to 100 - plenty high enough to make one feel like crapola. 

What did I do with this information my body was sending me?  Why I panicked of course.  I can't get sick!  My anxiety and depression will spiral out of control if I can't follow my routines!  I won't be able to practice yoga!  My pain will flare up and I won't be able to practice anymore!  THE WORLD WILL END!  Like so.

Luckily / via years of training myself, I was able to gain control of my brain about half an hour into spiraling, and instead think about what steps I needed to take if I really was getting sick.

1) Rest.  That meant cancelling a yoga class that I was excited about attending but would have been extremely physically challenging.

2) Fluids.  First one of my signature pickle jars of kombucha and water, then four cups of miso broth with fresh vegetables for dinner.

I thought about vitamins and supplements but I don't have any zinc or echinacea, I already take a B complex and D, and I consume more than enough vitamin C via the vegetables I eat daily.  I made a plan that if my fever got up to 101 I would go to urgent care to be tested for the flu, and would pick up supplements at the drugstore once I was out.  And then I chilled.

It was really hard.  I wanted to take my temperature every five minutes.  I wanted to dive headfirst into the worst-case-scenario spiral of doom.  But I didn't.  I colored in my new Anatomy Coloring Book, and read the yoga book I'm reading, and of course watched a fair amount of ponies.

And something miraculous happened: I felt better.  I think I was fighting something off, and maybe I gave myself what I needed to get that job done.  I'll likely find out today, when I will either continue to feel better or take a nosedive.  Fingers crossed for the former.

Do you catastrophize getting sick?  How do you take care of yourself emotionally and physically?



Monday, February 20, 2017

All hail the momentary freakout.

Last night I had an old, familiar, and profoundly uncomfortable feeling.  It tends to follow after periods where I've crashed and hit rock bottom and then rebuilt my life - like I've just done in the past few months.  What happens is that I finally get stable enough on my new feet to look around, and I don't recognize anything I see.  It's all new.  I'm a person that I don't know how to be.  It doesn't matter whether what I've built is good; I know only that it is different and strange.  And it's terrifying. 

My gut reaction is to berate myself for all of the choices I've made to change things.  This reaction is, of course, terrifically detrimental and makes the situation worse.  And so the self care tool I've built for this feeling is to talk myself through it the way I would talk to a dear friend in the same position.  "New is always scary, but the changes you have made are good.  Remember that.  Give it some time; it will feel like home again soon.  Take refuge in the things that haven't changed.  Be gentle with yourself."  I don't believe these things, but I say them to myself anyway, because they are true and I need to hear them.

The feeling subsides eventually, always.  I just have to wait it out and do my best not to make things harder for myself.

Do you ever feel like a stranger in your own life?  What gives you comfort?



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Clean slate.

I do not like cleaning.  I think that goes for most people.  I do like things to be clean, though.  And given that I won't be affording a full-service maid any time soon, that only means one thing.  Cleaning!  Wahoo.

I leave cleaning chores for the weekend, though it would probably be smarter to spread them throughout the week.  Typically on Saturday morning I'll make a list of must-do chores on the whiteboard on the fridge and work my way through them.  Sometimes when I'm feeling ambitious I'll start with the biggest chore first: cleaning up after my four rabbits.  Sometimes I can't stand it and I do alllll the little stuff before I finally begrudgingly go there.  The biggest problem with this system is that I never seem to get around to the irregular and large cleaning projects like reorganizing closets or cleaning out the fridge.  I just don't know how to fit those in.

This weekend I am cleaning a bit more than normal to prepare to have company during Endymion next weekend.  My house is always cleanest when I'm expecting guests, which is kinda sweet (I care about my friends!) and kinda sad (I care about them more than myself maybe!).  I have a four day weekend for Mardi Gras, and don't plan to go to any other parades, so my goals are to have the whole house nice for Saturday and sparkling before I go back to work on Wednesday.  Think I can do it?  I'll need something to do as most of my yoga classes are cancelled.  Grumble grumble.

What are your cleaning rituals?  Are they comforting to you or just necessity?  How do you keep yourself on track and make cleaning less of a chore?  What about big projects?


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Moderwhatnow?

I have trouble with moderation.  I mean, I'm bipolar for starters.  I'm also obsessive.  My instinct is to go to extremes.  Maintaining an even keel means going against my very nature.  I do it, though, because that's what living in this society requires.  Or at least, I try to do it.  Right now my struggle is with yoga.

If I had my druthers, I would quit my job and take three yoga classes a day and spend the in-between time reading about yoga and thinking about yoga and scheduling more yoga.  Clearly this is not realistic.  Not least of the problems herein is that if I quit my job, how would I pay for all the yoga?  Or, like, eat?

So once again I am scrapping with my nature, trying to find that ever-elusive happy medium we're always hearing about.  I *think* I've worked out how to take nine yoga classes a week - one every weekday and two on each weekend day - without breaking the bank or driving my body into the ground.  We'll see if it works.

I wonder how long this obsession will last?  Is it real love or just a passing fling?  Time will tell.

What's your passion lately?  How do you engage in it with moderation?


Friday, February 17, 2017

Rest stop.

I think I've designated Friday as my official rest day, from the gym at least.  I've pushed hard to get through a normal week of work, and I'm physically worn out from going to six yoga classes and five gym sessions since Saturday.  I've also got a big weekend planned: major housecleaning tonight, two yoga classes with a march in between on Saturday, and two yoga classes on Sunday.  So yes, this morning I'm up and following my normal routine at my normal time, except that I will not be headed to the gym.

Why am I talking about it?  Because I'm still holding guilt about taking breaks.  This will probably always be one of my biggest self care struggles: to rest without feeling like a lazy failure.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, but these feelings do not come from a rational place in my brain.  Feelings so often don't.

Do you need to rest after a long week?  How will you encourage yourself to do so?


Thursday, February 16, 2017

On the up-and-up.

Thank the stars, I feel better.

Depressive episodes are scary because I never know whether they're going to last for a day or two, or a week or two, or a month or six.  The longer they go, the more debilitating they are.  So I'm extremely excited that this week's spell was of the short variety.

Possible reasons that this was a short spell:
  1. Exercise and yoga kicked its butt
  2. Good eating kicked its butt
  3. Exercise, yoga, good eating, good sleep habits, and a million other small bits of self care kicked its butt
  4. Absolutely nothing I did even touched its butt and this is just what my brain felt like doing
I'll never know which if any of these it was.  I wouldn't change my approach though, because maybe the self care did help, and even if it didn't it has other benefits.  Hooray.

Are y'all on an upswing or a downswing today?  Here's hoping that if you're down it's not for long.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Successes and Not So Successes

I'm doing a medium job at self care this week.  On the downside I still haven't finished putting away my weekend laundry, I forgot to lay out my clothes for this morning, and I never watered my plants this weekend.  I've also been staying up too late.  On the upside I'm doing well with food (even in the face of Valentine's chocolate), haven't missed any gym or yoga sessions, and so far I've managed not to panic about feeling depressed again.

That's the trickiest bit about my depressive spells.  They tend to make me spiral into a worst-case-scenario doomsday machine of negative thought.  (Perhaps this happens to everyone with depression?)  But after many, many, many years - two decades really - of skill building through therapy and intense self-work, I can sometimes manage to somewhat successfully keep the panic at bay.  It is very difficult but so important, as going down that darkest of roads makes the episodes so. much. worse. in both severity and duration.

I'm not out of the danger zone yet with this spell, so I'm going to have to muster all my strength and do everything I can think of to mitigate its effects.  The nature of depression is such that sometimes, even when you do everything "right," it can still take control, and it is cold and grey today which is not going to help, so wish me luck.  

How is your self care going this week?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Doldrums.

The depression is back at me today.  It sucks.

I know that it will get better and I just have to wait it out.  I'm a rapid cycler usually, lucky me.  It still sucks.

I'd like to eat a whole large pizza and a pint of ice cream.  I'd like to skip yoga and just lay on the couch and feel bad.  But I won't do either of those things, because I know - rationally at least - that they will ultimately make this depressive spell worse.

Instead, I will eat my normal dinner.  I will go to yoga and work as hard as I can.  And I will cry if I need to.  Because these are the self care steps that have been proven to minimize the severity and duration of my spells.  It will be hard as hell, with 95% of my brain telling me PIZZA ICE CREAM COUCH FEEL BAD.  But I have found this strength before and I will find it again.  I hope.