Thank you for your responses on the last post. Since the majority of those were direct to me via email, phone, or in person, my HH (Hot Hubby) suggested allowing anonymous comments. So, if you have something to share, but are feeling shy, you can now leave a comment anonymously. I would really like you to leave comments since we'll all benefit a lot more that way. I can offer limited insight since it's different for all of us.
Also, I was discussing with a friend the different levels of depression. I am hoping that this site can benefit people at all levels, from just having a down day to extended periods of sadness. That being said, this is, of course, not meant to treat depression or anxiety. If you are dealing with extended and/or extreme sadness, please seek medical attention right away. I have had successful experiences with both counseling and medication and would recommend trying whatever seems best for you.
Okay, onto today's topic. After I was forced to admit I had depression, I wanted to rebuild my life. That was an overwhelming concept! Thankfully, I was inspired to create a weekly schedule. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to add it here. So, I'll give you the basics.
I did it as a spreadsheet, so you can picture that in your mind. And I named it "Good Life", in the hopes it would help me create one. I listed every day of the week at the top and then going down the side I listed the important categories in my life (not in order of importance): Home, Spiritual, Physical, Educational, HH, KN (my daughter--my son wasn't around yet), Emotional/Personal, Social. Then I put things to do for each one under each day. Somethings are for every day and some are just for one day.
Home: Straighten (every day), Bake something, Vacuum, Dust, Kitchen, Vacuum, Bathrooms, Bathtub, Blinds
Spiritual: Scripture study (every day), Read lesson manual (I taught a Sunday School class), Write in journal
HH: Family Home Evening (a weekly activity/lesson we do as a family), Neck massage, Talk, Date
KN: Read a book (every day), write in her journal, learn ABC's, Play with Play-doh, play at the park, Do a puzzle, Color together, Go for a walk
Physical: 30-60 min. walk (every day), sit ups, weights, stretch (every day), Be in bed by 10 PM, Drink 4 water bottles/day
Emotional/Personal: Do hair and make up (every day), Say 5 positive affirmations (every day)
Educational: Read a book (every day)
Social: Call 1 sibling, Go somewhere public, Call a far away friend, Call a local friend, Hang out with a friend(s), Go on a date with HH
So, you can see it was nothing major and now some of those things seem really basic (like doing my make up). But at the time it was all a stretch for me. And a big part of why I was depressed was because I felt like I never accomplished anything. I never accomplished anything because I got overwhelmed when I tried to determine what to do with my time. Laying it all out on paper really simplified things for me. And it forced me to do things (I made a commitment to myself to do everything on the spreadsheet each day--without any pressure if something came up and I had to miss a day). Most days I just didn't feel like doing anything. Well, what could be more depressing than days full of nothing! I shouldn't say "nothing" because I had KN with me all day, but I really wasn't doing much of anything each day. I was blessed with a very low maintenance daughter who could cope with that.
I just want to comment specifically on a few of the items from my "Good Life". First, I believe a clean house is essential to feeling well. That doesn't mean spotless. Just straightening once a day will go a long way in restoring inner peace. Second, I believe having faith in something is also essential but that will be left for another day as it is a much bigger topic. Next, I tried to focus on serving the people in my family and keeping it all small and do-able. Next, how many of you put off taking care of yourself b/c there's not enough time? Make time. This is another subject that deserves it's own post, so I'll leave that for today. Along those same lines is doing hair and make up each day. It's about taking care of yourself. No matter what you tell yourself, you deserve that. You do. I had days where I never even got out of my pajamas because no one but KN saw me during the day (my HH sometimes has to work really long hours). But it only made things worse because I looked outwardly the same way I felt inwardly. Next, being a mom is challenging, but not necessarily stimulating. I think lifelong learning is also essential to happiness. That's why we have such amazing minds! And lastly, I know socializing is one of the last things you feel like doing when you're down. That's why it's so important! When you're with someone else (on the phone or in person), you have to move outside yourself at least a little. And so you can forget, at least a little bit, how yucky you feel inside. Or, you can confide in them and find the reassuring comfort we talked about on Monday. Either way, it's a win.
So, start with wherever you're at and add on. Look at what you want to accomplish. Break it down into daily or weekly tasks and schedule it in. We started this blog talking about how our lives are too full and busy to find peace and joy, so why am I tell you to add more in? I'm not. When you determine what really matters to you, then look at what doesn't matter and cut it out. At least some of it. But keep your desired result in mind. Don't cut out things that bring you joy even if they seem less worthy. Just make sure it's real joy. For example, I can spend a whole lot of time reading people's blogs every day. But a phone call to one of my sisters really renews me. So, I might schedule a phone call with my sister and leave the blogging for a day when I have some extra time.
That being said, I still struggle with doing what is truly important in life. It seems like it's so much easier to blog than make dinner, or watch TV than go to bed on time. How do you do it? How do you determine what is important in life? How do you follow through? Is it easier to find joy when your life is organized, or is it just me?