indulgences


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indulgences

Sometimes it’s good to treat ourselves.  It’s even better to plan for it.  There’s nothing wrong with having a little of what you fancy, as my friend’s mother always told her.

The thing is,  most of us feel a little guilty about indulging ourselves. And certainly we can’t imagine scheduling it. But what’s wrong with that?

Why not for the rest of the month and for every month after that,  you pencil in a symbol (maybe a book, if reading is your indulgence of choice) that has meaning for you on a few days of each month. These are the days you will “treat” yourself.  It doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be anything.

An hour to curl up and read a book.

Browsing through a stack of magazines.

An ice-cream cone.

A facial of oatmeal and honey. (Lots of other recipes on internet.)

A diy pedicure or manicure.

Bake something great.

A call to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.

A hand-written thank you not long over due.

A visit to the library.

“Pinning” on Pinterest.

Planning a special meal.

A nap.

Browsing  bookstore.

Visitingt an art gallery (even on line.)

Doodling. (Now frame it!) You’d be surprised at what talent may be lurking inside. (I was never even interested in art and one day I signed up for a drawing class, which led to painting classes and now most of the art work in our home is original and the artist is ME!)

These are just a few things you could try. It depends on how much disposable time  and money you have. And when you start indulging yourself a little, you will probably find yourself thinking about other things you can try. Fresh eyes are always good. here   But if we don’t actually schedule some time, we’ll never do it. Most of us have a hard time giving ourselves some “me” time but something abut putting in on our calendar makes it “official”.

I’m not very good at personal indulgence either. But I do try to do something I enjoy every week. It might be making paper jewelry, playing around with my craft supplies, spray painting something-anything. (I love to spray paint.)  Lots of interests keeps depression at bay.

I like to have a lot of projects going on at the same time. That way, I have lots to choose from depending on my mood.  This may not be for you but it works for me.  I usually have three or four books I’m reading, something I’m knitting, jewelry in the making, various diy projects and a stack of magazines.And if none of those meet my fancy, there’s always something that needs spray painting. I hate to be bored or inactive and I’ve found being idle not good for my moods at all.

So indulge yourself. And whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t.

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baby steps


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baby steps

I love what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”(By the way, I may be a Christian but God speaks to us even through those that are not, as evidenced by many a story in scripture.) I wonder if Gandhi suffered depression because this cycle of thinking, speaking and doing is the same cycle that must be interrupted in a depressive episode. If even one of them is damaged by depression, all the others are affected as well.

I found in my own recovery that stepping into the cycle anywhere helped but my greatest success came from changing my actions first-the doing part. I found that if I got up and moved and did something constructive, that led to other actions and pretty soon I was in better spirits.  

Overcoming depression is hard work.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that this alone will heal a serious case of depression. But it does lighten one’s mood and makes taking other steps easier.  It requires a herculean effort to do this when all you want to do is stay in bed and not face the world.  But if getting better is the goal. it’s a practical place to start. 

Try it just for today and see if it doesn’t make even the tiniest difference. I think we forget sometimes that depression didn’t just smother us in one cataclysmic moment. It was a lot of little things that incrementally pushed us over the edge and it will be little increments that get us out.  It’s not a process that can be rushed which, of course, is what makes it that much harder.

There are two people in my life now that keep asking “when are the pills going to kick in?” I try to be patient but I also remind them about the above stated process. I can remember asking the same thing which is what ultimately prompted me to “fly solo” in the first place.  Pills are part of the recovery for some people but they are not the only therapy that should be considered.  It’s a whole lifestyle, this battle to overcome depression, and must be fought on many fronts.

God bless.

dissatisfaction

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Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dissatisfaction

My husband and I are at our “teeny-tiny red cabin”.  We bought it nine years ago, move-in ready.  It’s adorable.  We love it.  But it is only about 500 square feet.  That’s fine for the two of us but when family members come for a visit we need more space so two years ago we had local Amish people build our even cuter bunkhouse “LaCabinette”, a 12’ x 16’ building with a porch.  We left all the 2’ x 4’s exposed, walls and ceilings.  We “whitewashed” the peak in a beautiful pale aqua blue and the walls are whitewashed in white.  Except for the futons in both buildings, everything is from thrift shops. Most of the book I’m writing that I mention on my home page was written here. It is a retreat from a very hectic lifestyle and is the most peaceful place I know.

Now that you know how much I love it here, you’ll be surprised at my reaction to what I’m going to tell you.  I’m embarrassed to share this with you but I promised to always be honest. Anyway, my husband and I were talking a walk along the dirt road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we come upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned.  I was envious.

Why is satisfaction so tenuous?  So fleeting? What makes us perfectly happy with our lives and then whoosh; it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else? Surely, it can’t be that we don’t realize there’s always something better?

I’m afraid I can only pose the question. I don’t know the answer. I do know though, that dissatisfaction can lead one down some dangerous paths.  It’s easy to go from dissatisfaction in one area in our life and generalize it to other areas in our life. For one prone to depression, that’s not a good thing.

For myself, I’m careful to maintain an attitude of gratefulness because down deep I am very grateful for everyone and everything in my life.  My envy of the beautiful house was very short lived. Do I still love it?  Yes.  Would I love it if it were mine? I think so.  But does my teeny-tiny red cabin still bring me more contentment than anywhere else on earth. Yes. Am I grateful beyond belief? Yes. Was my sudden envy something to be ashamed of? NO!

I’m just human, that’s all.

I once read that one of the ways to avoid purchasing things we don’t need is to look at the things we see in stores as if they were in a museum. Beautiful to look at but not to buy.  That’s what the house around the corner has become for me. Beautiful to look at, but not mine to have.  “Teeny-tiny red cabin” is my piece of heaven and nothing changes that. Should someone buy the lot next to us and build something grand, I’ll go through the usual first pangs of envy and then I’ll come back to “teeny-tiny red cabin” and be glad it’s so small because I can clean it in an hour. So there!

Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that could lead us to constructive change

There’s a truism I run across all the time-“There is always something to be grateful for—always.”

What about you?  Have you find yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nose dive?  What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life? What in your life can you be grateful for?

peace with my hair

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peace with my hair

O.k., today’s post may seem silly. What does hair have to do with depression? Actually, more than you might know. I got to thinking over these past nine years of depression-free, pill-free years. The one constant was my hair. It’s wild, unruly, and I have a lot of it. I’ve colored it for years but somewhere in these nine years, I gave that up. At least the permanent color. Sometimes I still add a temporary color that fades away in a few short washings. All it really does it tone down my too-bright hair.

I guess I’m bringing this up because I just looked at some recent pictures of myself when I thought my hair looked good and, well, -it didn’t. Our hair humbles us like nothing else and we need to make peace with our constant dissatisfaction. It’s just hair, after all.

In addition while most women over forty have short hair, I’ve gone the other way and have relatively long hair. I just think I look better in longer hair. Besides, can I just say it? I don’t want to look like other women over forty who all have the same short hair cut. Hair should move, shouldn’t it?

I can actually gauge somedays what my mood is going to be like by what my hair looks like. Every woman alive knows that “a good hair day” is a good day in general. But when you deal with low moods it’s even more important. I take great care to make myself and my hair presentable every day. It helps set the tone for the rest of the day.

That’s why hair is important. The last thing a depressed person needs is to look in the mirror and see a disheveled wild person staring back at them. I’m not saying that if I’m weeding my garden or painting a room that my hair never looks messy. Remember, I said I like my hair to move. I’m talking more about the effort than the result.

So if you’re having a bad day, do this one thing for me. Go wash your hair and do something with it. It’s kind of amazing how mild to moderate depression responds so well to the constructive little things we do. If you’re really down, I know, I know, it’s an effort to even get off the couch and move. But, please, do it anyway. It doesn’t cost anything(unless you use really expensive shampoo). It requires very little time.

Do you find that if you look better, you feel better? Or are you wanting to look bad so people will feel sorry for you? Good question, huh?