Taking Care of Myself

So, the Ick is early this year (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal depression – I like calling it the Ick better).  So, *sigh* I get to start the winter routine, with at least one addition – I have a SAD lamp for work and may have meds within the next few weeks.  We’ll see if those help.

I’m going to address the Ick more specifically in another post, because I think it’s a bit of a distraction from the point of this one.

I anticipate this year will be a return to the standard pattern (that being Ick minus generalized depression) that I saw before Minx died – the only aberrations in that pattern having been in the last few years since she died.  But I have learned in those years how better to take care of myself, what is soothing for me.

The Routine:

  • Making sure to get calories in me in the morning (makes it easier to keep energy levels stable) even if I’m not hungry.
  • Upping my Vitamin D dose (I run lower in the winter than summer)
  • Taking magnesium every day (cannot take it for 3 hours after my thyroid med doses, so this is tricky)
  • Getting my ass outside every day, even if only for about 15 minutes
  • Getting whatever exercise I can, even if I don’t want to.  Logical brain gets to remind emotional brain that exercise might not feel worth it in the short run, but in the long run it helps stabilize energy levels and moods.  Which is good.
  • Talking myself out of anxiety related decisions – everything is fine, everybody is fine with you (unless they actively say otherwise), your job is stable and they need you there, and you have a great chosen family and partners who care about you.
  • Reminding myself that it is okay to say “no” to the things I don’t have the energy to do

Self Care

What is self care for me?  What activities can I do to help myself?  In no particular order:

  • Baths or burying myself in blankets.  Warmth can be a hard thing for me to achieve, so it’s amazing when I can get it.
  • Eating things that go beyond my calorie allotment for the day or that may not be “healthy”.  I have the philosophy that if I’m craving something, that’s my body’s way of telling me that it needs me to consume more.  And I’m trying to get away from the socially ingrained idea that my body is the enemy (even though, with an auto-immune condition, it kinda literally is…).
  • Manicures and pedicures.  That kind of pampering can be amazing.
  • Dressing for comfort rather than appearance, if I need it.  Sometimes dressing up can be soothing.  Other times it triggers dysmorphia and that makes me feel like garbage.  So, sometimes this means having a change of clothing on hand, just in case.
  • Reading.  Having books on hand that may not be high-brow intellectual, but still make me feel good to read.  Preferably series, because I can go through books rapidly.
  • Writing.  Even if it’s just a tidbit in a journal or blog, this makes me feel wonderful.
  • Talking to those near and dear to me.  Especially by electronic means, as social gatherings can be super stressful if they’re too large or have people whose energies I’m not familiar with.
  • Consuming various altering substances (usually in moderation).  Caffeine when I need it at work.  Alcohol, in public, after work.  Pot (I live in a state where it’s legal) when I want all the distractions and constant thoughts to go away for a bit, or when I need it for pain purposes.
  • Comforting textures and sounds.  Music from my childhood, soft stuffed animals, smooth skin, cuddling etc.
  • Meditation or just mindful breathing/thinking.  Brings me into the moment, and moments are far easier to deal with than long chunks of time.

 

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