So, I'm 38 now. I had the nicest birthday filled with tiny celebrations over the course of four days. I am eternally grateful for all the goodness I have in my life. And all the delicious cake. And tiny little gifts from Shira.
I'm having the quietest couple of weeks, in part because I've been sick with a bad cough, but also because I'm feeling like I need a lot of alone time lately. No wait, let me be honest. I need a lot of alone time right now because I'm struggling with my depression. It happens. It's not the "I can't get out of bed" depression, but more like the "I'm walking from room to room wondering how to get started so I just sit down on the couch and knit" kind.
You guys, I miss being in school. I just want to forget about getting healthy and strong and instead go out and learn to be a midwife. Blah, blah, blah, I know this break is good for me, but I'm really struggling. This liminal space is filled with so much discomfort. While I know that taking this year off from school was a good decision, it's not been an easy one. I'm working a little bit each day, but most of my time I am left to my own devices to make my days my own. I have all this time to fill with Getting Healthy! but I often end up feeling overwhelmed by it all, and then I find myself daydreaming about reproductive physiology or starting IVs.
In these moments I need too work hard to push myself out of my slump. (This isn't to say that depression is just a slump. It's a mental illness. But for me, when I'm doing other things to support my illness, like taking the medications that work best for me, I know that there are other things I can do every day that can help make a difference.) Here's a list of things that work for me.
Some things to do when you're feeling slumpy
We've all heard it before, but seriously, go for a walk. Or to a yoga class, or run like crazy on the treadmill. I am the worst at not following this advice, but I'm working on it. I've got the gym membership now and I'm exercising on the most regular basis I have in years. I let myself stay home today and snuggle on the couch when I know I should have pushed myself to get out and exercise. Tomorrow I will push.
Call your best friend. Let someone make you laugh. Do not dodge their phone calls when they reach out to you because you're feeling blue. Push yourself to answer the phone. If you're feeling even more daring, make a coffee date to laugh together in person. Last week I did just that with a dear friend and it did amazing things for my mood. And we ate scones and jam, which was an added bonus.
Eat your vegetables
Just say no to the leftover birthday ice cream in your freezer, says the woman with personal experience. Decide to make yourself at least one nourishing, healthy meal and consider it a victory.
Clean your house. Or maybe that's just me. And I don't mean do the dishes (though that might not be a bad idea while you're at it). I mean clean out your bedroom. Change the pictures on your wall. Rearrange your living room. Tiny fresh starts can do wonders for your soul.
Dye your hair. Get your nose pierced (it's on my list). When I'm feeling slumpy I'll sometimes put on red lipstick just to fake it and it helps.
Sit with it for a day
Give in for a day and binge on Netflix. Invite all four cats into your bed to snuggle while you cry over another episode of Grey's Anatomy. Knit a scarf. Read a book. Do absolutely nothing. Indulge in a day of being gentle with yourself.
If you're in a slump, I hope you're feeling better soon. It happens. We can do this.
P.S. Another post on depression.