The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine

Aw, crap. It’s morning.

Let’s roll out of bed after not sleeping well, glare at our alarm, blame everyone in the world for how terrible we feel, and stalk off to the bathroom to read our phone get ready.

With a winning morning routine like that nearly every day, why are we confused when the days continue to suck?

Did anyone ever watch The Lego Movie? D’ya remember that Emmett had an instruction book literally subtitled: “The instructions to fit in, have everybody like you, and always be happy!”? We, the viewing audience, laughed as Emmett breathed deeply, greeted the day, ate, exercised, showered, and even said, “Hello,” to all the cat lady’s pets.

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In true exciting story form, the film suggested that Emmett’s real, interesting life began once those stupid instructions blew away. Sorry; but this is not how life works.

Life is really long, and we need to want to live it.

Following a routine like Emmett does is not bad. Routine is not a swear word. It’s actually a magic formula, far more magical than Expecto Patronum or even Avada Kedavra. A routine gives us a little, workable guide for getting through our foggy cloud of negativity and hopelessness.

And, you’re following a routine as we speak. It just may not be a good one.

So! *rubs hands together eagerly* Let’s get started on following one that is good. Here’s a sample morning that I threw together:

  1. Wake up, preferably early.
    Yep, we’re starting there. You already blew the early-to-bed thing. Plus, if we start with bedtime, you’ll be like me and procrastinate starting a routine until you can finally get to sleep before midnight -so we’ll get started, like, NEVER.
  2. Tell yourself you love you.
    This is not vain, it’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s good for you; and you are worth it, you beautiful/handsome person.
  3. Do something active.
    If you are following my advice to exercise daily, this may be the time to grab those workout clothes you set right by the bed.
    OR, to not stress you out at all, just do a little stretching. L’internet has loads of simple yoga day-greeting moves that only take a few minutes.
  4. Eat food or get ready for the day.
    I am the only woman in a house of males (all family, don’t worry), so I have to get dressed pretty much right away. For you, though, maybe you can slouch over to the toaster in your skivvies. Whatever; just go. Keep moving.
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  5. Whatever you eat, make it healthy.
    Healthy also doesn’t need to be a bad word. Toast is healthy, at least compared to a breakfast of peanut M&Ms you found behind the couch cushion when you sat down to read your phone instead of stretching.
  6. Shower and/or get dressed.
    Just do it. Don’t give yourself time to think, What am I getting dressed for? Life is…. Ending that sentence is never a good idea for a depressive mindset. Like I said, keep going.
  7. Take your meds, if you do that.
    I don’t know your dosing schedule, but most are taken after a meal and in the first part of the day.
  8. Go somewhere.
    Yes, to your computer chair to check into a freelance job is “somewhere.” I know that some of us are recluses by choice and/or mental condition. If you can get outside to at least stand on the porch and watch the sun, please do.
    Otherwise, I highly recommend getting completely out of the house. Go on a walk, pick up groceries, visit a friend, see a museum, or go to work if you’re employed.

Obviously, this routine is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you decide to pack a lunch in between steps 7 and 8 I won’t leap through your screen and slap you. I mean, you gotta eat lunch, too. I understand.

Still, it’s a good format. Use it like a foundation, something to plagiarize completely for yourself and adjust according to your personal flair.

In terms of the rest of your day, I feel that people’s schedules vary too widely to tailor as much as I did above. If you work, the day’s pretty much planned out for you because you have to do that. If you’re at home, set up activities similar to the morning one.

The main idea is to have assigned tasks; to keep moving.

Depression loves to settle on us like a putrid cloud. We let it. Making life pointless and then dwelling on the pointlessness of life is a vicious circle, but a daily routine will help break you out of that.

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Now, if you’re still with me, you may be wondering about a nighttime routine. I mentioned this in a previous article on sleep, so I don’t want to bore anybody. That, and I’ve exceeded my morning routine writing time. If I wait much longer, I’ll finish the rest of the chocolate almonds and will somehow decide to not exercise due to post-sugar crash.

Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect routine. Use mine for now; I gave you permission. As you follow it, you can slowly change to what works better for you and your lifestyle and work schedule.

You can do it, you beautiful/handsome person you.

 

Photo Credits:
Wikia
Deryn Macey
gbarkz

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

“Too late, I found, you can’t wait to become perfect. You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.”

-Charles Halloway in Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

Christmas Musings

I am the fifth to admit that I overdo things. That’s better than last, mind you, though not as good as third might be.

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I delude myself that I am simple, efficient, and practical. I only own a Pinterest account because I had a writing job that involved saving pictures for crafting articles. I eschew the latest fashion or home-decorating trend. My children receive rules and guidelines but no sort of life-planned-out Supermom schedule. And, despite being in this Stay At Home Mom profession for over a decade, I do a terrible job at housekeeping in general.

I’ve decided I’m trying to get fired -but that’s a side topic for another post.

Back to fifth place: I’ve had a busy two weeks. In fact, we need to go back at least three months because events then affected the crunch of now.

Not that I voluntarily hurt my tailbone in a really really really bad way. I did, however, schedule a surgery on November 6. I also neglected to remember that Thanksgiving was on the fourth Thursday and would therefore arrive not-too-long-after that surgery. Then, I forgot that we all usually attend The Festival of Trees… which precedes a holiday most of the world celebrates… and that led to a service project for the boys’ principal, an annual Christmas newsletter to be sent with cards, decorating for Christmas, a son’s birthday party (with a theme and guests), and cookie-making and distribution.

Congratulations on getting through that last paragraph. You can rest, here, with me.

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Even though I do not re-label juice boxes for birthday themes, I tend to take on a lot at one time. I also have a high standard of perfection. Maybe I think things are more exciting that way?

I mean, I not only did everything in that too long; didn’t read paragraph, I also have been trying to uncover the house from the molding lump it degenerated into whilst I was recovering/ignoring it. Add shopping for presents and food, plus wrapping all the gifts for everyone, and my cup runneth over six feet below the surface of the well.

I mean… I spray-painted Costco milk boxes to look like Minecraft blocks. My Christmas newsletter was a paragraph for each of seven well-known poems, incorporating bits of A Visit from St. Nicholas AND news about each family member. My cookies were all from scratch.

Maybe I really am one of those Supermoms, just one who sometimes wears pajamas in public ’cause I love my comfort.

Maybe everyone overdoes his life, and it’s not just me.

…Tell me it’s not just me?

 

This week in review, because I’m taking tomorrow and the next day off. So, there!
Wednesday, December 19: Down-Home Marital AdviceWhat’s your take?
Thursday, December 20: The day my kids got out for Christmas Break. So… I got the days mixed up and posted The WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Molly and Gerard!
I also apologized for messing up, in The Most Sleep-Deprived Time of the Year.
Friday, December 21: Skinwalkers, XLVI.
Saturday, December 22: Christmas Cookie Limericksterrible rhymes about my baking exploits.
Sunday, December 23: This post.

I also almost thought about planning on the possibility of catching up on my Reader’s Feed. If you see that I left a comment way back on December 12, then I finally have. My apologies if you’ve felt slighted in the meantime.

Ready or Not -Ah, Forget It

Perfectionism is the writer’s block of my life.

“I think I’ll clean the house,” I tell myself. Sometimes I say it out loud, confidently. I feel motivated and self-assured when I do so. I feel that nothing can stop whatever I want to do. I know I’m baiting my old enemy, taunting him, and I thrill in the power of supposed victory.

“Door decoration for my kid’s anti-drug week at school? I can do that,” I tell a neighbor. If I say it in public, there is more culpability. The encroaching hesitancy I’ve moved on to will have less power. Strength in numbers, I assure myself.

Maybe I’ll write a book, I think to myself timidly, as if staying quiet will save me. I should know by now there is no safe place when I’m feeling down. He’s been laughing for a while, through all the resistance. He knows the true battles, and that he’s been the ultimate victor.

“What’s wrong?” The few concerned who are left in my life ask me. They don’t understand the reason I’m in bed, or in the closet, or on the couch mindlessly distracting from thought and life.

Perfectionism knows.

He’s reclining comfortably in the disused spaces of my mind; the spaces he’s artfully cleared of annoying furnishings like deep feelings, motivations, ambitions, and inspiration.

Nothing disturbs or demands him. He stretches out to watch the video game flashing before his host’s eyes.

“Ah,” he says, sipping brain fluid from a convenience store cup, “Perfect.”