The past year and a half has been an interesting ride. And aside from the past few months there are few things I can point a finger at and name as causes or effects of the minor breakdown I’ve been working through. I’m coming to think it’s just life and that leaves me both comforted and frustrated at the same time.
I’ve battled anxiety and depression on varying levels off and on for years. Sometimes I can pinpoint triggers for the panic attacks or bouts of depression and sometimes they come on unawares. I’ve also struggled with some health issues (some diagnosed but most not) for the bulk of those same years. And it seems as I reach that lovely age of middleness that my coping mechanisms and strategies are losing their efficacy, the triggers are more sensitive and it takes a lot more effort to bounce back. And that compounds the problem (not being able to do what I used to or what I want or think I should contributes to the feeling of failing, that I’ll never measure up and what’s the point anyway…vicious circle!)
I constantly set goals that I don’t reach and strive to push myself harder than I can handle because I’m working with an old mindset (my mindset but now outdated.) The trick is in learning to accept and acknowledge where I am NOW and how I can work within those parameters to set new goals that still equal progress (even if the progress is much slower than I want it to be.) It’s a constant battle that I have to fight every single day…which ironically, often leaves little energy for actually working on said goals. But I’ve noticed that when I can slow down and breathe and focus on the now (over the future or even the goal) I stay on track better and longer leaving more energy for the goals. But like I said, it’s not a habit yet, it’s still an every day struggle.
Some things that help (when I can get out of my head enough to just do them…)
- Yoga–I am old and have been inflexible since birth, but I feel great when it’s all over! I absolutely adore Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
- Meditation—So hard, but so helpful even if it’s just for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll zone out while staring at a flame and sometimes I actively try to empty my mind while repeating a mantra. Either way works.
- Deep breathing –I might be the shallowest breather known to man. This is a surprisingly constant struggle. I have many, many alarms on my phone set to remind me to do this throughout the day.
- Uplifting reading–Things like scriptures, poetry, even some self-help books—reading for fun or learning is a different category!
- Water–Drink it and observe/listen to it!
- Music–whatever kind feeds your soul. If you’re not sure, listen to a bit of everything and figure it out!
- Nature–Sometimes it’s watching through my kitchen window the puppy across the way romp across the grass, sometimes it’s a legit hike or mountain excursion or just a few minutes with my feet in the grass.
- Gratitude–The days I take time to sit and reflect and list 3 things I’m grateful for go immensely better than the days I don’t.
- Forgiveness–This is a lot harder and less concrete than gratitude, but just as vital-forgive yourself, forgive others, forgive yourself again.
- Creating–Wow, this one was eye-opening and huge! I’ve GOT to find a way to be creative every single day. It’s like its own form of medication/meditation. And one of the reasons why I’m writing this right now.
These are just a few. If there’s anyone out there actually reading this, I’d love to hear what helps you stay focused, be successful (whatever that might look like for you), and make progress. What am I missing? What should I try?