Drop Kicking the Mommy Blues!

For no particular reason the blues have returned, and it also happens to be Monday, so extra mental power is needed today.  Well, actually there are many reasons, but I have been coping with stress a little better these days.  So this must be one of those days I need to hit the PAUSE button and recalculate what is out of balance.  BALANCE is an illusion, my balanced life may not look anything like your balanced life.  BALANCE is also very fragile.  The busier my life becomes, the more cracks will appear in the veneer of seemingly balanced life.  The cracks have caught up with me today, and I'm leaking...I guess I may as well admit...they are tears.

There I said it.  Tears are one of the long-lasting symptoms of my journey with depression, they have managed to stick around two years post-partum.  Pre-pregnancy, I was one of those people that stuffed my frustrations down, and tucked away my emotions.  Really, what has crying ever truly fixed?  So I got a flat tire on the way to the airport...will crying magically fix it?  Will the mechanic fairies fly in and replace it.  NO, pick up the phone, call CAA, get the tire fixed and carry on.  I have certainly made up for all the tears I haven't shed in the first 34 years of life.  Either I must be letting my head get swamped with woes, or I am trying to do too much and getting overwhelmed.  I am more prepared for these low tides now and have a game plan to turn to on days like these.  These are some short-term fixes I use to help drop kick my Mommy Blues:

Go For A Walk:
Exercise helps me clear my head, or even zone out for a while.  Though it is difficult to get up and out the door.  You know what it's like when motivation is low...I usually feel better for it by the time I get home.  This morning I went for a 50 minute power walk, which is why my post is up at noon instead of 9:00 am.

Take A Break:
If I can't get out for a walk, I take a break.  Do some stretches, play a game, read a magazine, etc.  Set a time limit, 15 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, whatever you can afford to give yourself.  I could sit in front of the computer and force out an email, or write an article, but every task suffers from forced sentiment.  Productivity will improve if I check out for a few minutes, or even hours.

Call A Friend or Loved One for a Pep Talk:
Just don't call the people that annoy you, save that for another day.  I'd like to say I was kidding but I'm not.  A good laugh, cry, or venting session can help clear my head.  Sometimes a good friend can offer wisdom or simple solutions too.  I recently called a friend and the converation went like this:

Me: "Hey, it's been a crazy weekend..." *Then I went on with 5 minutes of rambling and general malaise.*
Friend: "Have you eaten yet?".
Me: "No."
Friend: "Go eat, then wait 10 minutes and call me back."

Get A Snack:
Which leads to the next item.  How many days have I reached the 2:00 pm mark and realized that all I had to eat that day was a bite of toast or three scoops of my daughter's leftover cereal? So making a plan to feed my body, also helps combat my mood swings too. If I have eaten, but still need a little something~ I'll get a healthy snack, small amount of chocolate, or a little caffeine boost.  Don't over-indulge on the sweets.   Though they offer a quick pick me up, the crash often leaves me feeling worse than before.

Give Yourself a Reality Check/Write a List of Short Term Goals:
I am one of those people that are kept awake with plans, priorities, and problems swirling in my head.  If I do manage to fall alseep, I wake up frequently with the same marathon of ideas.  Worrying or thinking about anything too far in the future is not productive when my brain is in a slump.  And we all have only 24 hours in a day.  So I need to find a way to STOP the running dialogue in my brain.  Keeping a notepad and pen beside my bed helps, daily/weekly lists are good  too.  After my walk and my caffeine break, I sat and wrote a three columned list.
1) Appointments and deadlines for the week.
2) What needs to be done today.
3) What tasks can wait for another day.

After these simple tasks, my list for today is actually shorter than it seemed when bouncing around in my head.  The Mommy Blues seem to be kicked aside for now.  And the tasks for today are seeming a little more managable.  Here's hoping for a sweet naptime for Princess Destructo, so I can tackle my To Do List.

Would you like to read about my early days with post-partum depression?

*Original post pulled from June 2011 archives.


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