Playing Hooky

Hello all! I hope this post finds you well. This morning I am watching the cat groom the dog, in a cozy living room with rainy chilliness outside. This week has been a long one. I am still trying to find ways to keep myself thinking calmly and rationally without letting depression take over.

I think it was about five months into my being sick that I began making a conscious effort to enjoy moments. To really enjoy the coffee cup in front of me; to take advantage of the weather and go for a walk without my phone out. And I find myself falling back into those patterns, it helps me be aware of things that put a smile on my face. On Friday I had been immensely frustrated with traffic, so I took a sharp right turn and went for a cruise. While this had started out as a dive out of traffic in a fit of rage, it ended with me going slowly down residential streets and enjoying the view.

I followed this act of refusing to be frustrated by playing hooky from social obligations this weekend. While I recognize that friends are great, relationships take effort and all those other good things, sometimes you just need to free yourself from obligations to keep yourself sane. So I bailed on a party (and the rushing, cooking, baking, pulling money from my visa because I’m too poor for shenanigans, and the hurrying of an overworked tired boyfriend that would have gone along with it.) and made plans with my best friend to go to an art show. I ended up bailing on that also, because I had very little sleep the night before, and my craving for adventure had dwindled. I watched a movie in bed with my boyfriend, after we had gone out for dinner (and bumped into my best friend I had bailed on! At least I was honest and told her I wasn’t feeling up to the art show… that could have been hella awkward.)

Anyway my point with all of this, is that learning to say no is so great. It doesn’t mean you are failing anyone, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad friend. It just allows you to take a mental health day, and take care of yourself. Something that I would have felt too guilty to do just a few months ago.

On that note I wanted to mention two apps that I am finding helpful. One is a Depression CBT Self Help app. CBT means Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it’s basically a way to train your brain out of bad habits.

Please keep in mind that if you are dealing with depression and/or anxiety as I am, it is extremely beneficial to seek out a psychologist. Having a level-headed outside perspective, with the years of schooling and tools in their tool belt, will not only help you figure out why you’re thinking this way, but help you to stop thinking that way. It is worth looking into your insurance and benefits for. It does not make you crazy or abnormal (this fact I have to remind myself of often) and it is nothing to be ashamed of. You can’t be your best, most productive, self unless you are healthy. You wouldn’t push through with a flu for months without seeing a doctor or taking a sick day, would you? Well the same thing goes for your mental and emotional well-being! 🙂 

There is also an Anxiety CBT app that you can find in association with this Depression CBT app:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.depression&hl=en

My favorite part of the app is the Cognitive Diary. It prompts you out of the downward spiral thinking, and pushes you to analyze your thoughts. Once you’ve identified what the negative thoughts are, it asks you to challenge these thoughts with positive ones. Such as “Demands just cause more stress” or “Sometimes things are out of my control” or “I can handle depression even if I don’t want to”.  The Anxiety app also features a cognitive diary, with positive challenges that are comparable to anxious thinking.

I have also been practicing guided meditation and progressive relaxation. I am a fan of yoga, and try to do it a few times a week. [I follow Tara Stiles because I like her approach to yoga] Of course, if yoga is not something you enjoy, it might not be the most beneficial for you to do… but finding something that puts you in a calmer place, and allows you to feel peaceful is helpful at any point in your life. I am also looking into Aromatherapy, but have yet to do some serious research. I know a lot of people swear by it, and I can see the potential in it. And lastly, I am simply trying to take care of me. Eat things that are good for me (not cheating on my gluten-free and dairy-free diet because then I am in a lot of pain and discomfort), get a full night of sleep, taking moments to enjoy, and talking to my boyfriend, my dad, my friend, my boyfriends mom when I am not at a good place mentally.

That’s all folks! Sorry for the length, hope you have an amazing weekend, and that the week is a breeze for you. ❤

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