Just Another Day in the Life?

I’ve been swamped lately. More than usual, I’m afraid.

I …may have taken a bit (a lot) onto my plate -a plate that was a bit (a lot) full to begin with. I believe I did so because I was bored, and/or may have finally had a good night’s sleep.

Besides this lovely blog that I love writing upon and the lovely people whose blog posts I actually do read, I’ve also been attending school. Of sorts. It’s called Pathways, and is like preschool for adults. This quarter (?) is on math (or, maths, for Brits) and has a teensy bit (a lot) of busy work each week.

Add a few life events like almost-everyone’s birthdays, a birthday party, and a baptism this Saturday.

Then sprinkle in a paid job I was doing but (perhaps fortunately) am not any longer.

Plus the children’s school is winding down.

Plus the ever-present duties of house and home (and now yard).

Plus caring for an at-home dice business that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about.

And, just for kicks, throw in a planned visit from our relative who has 8 children….

Yeah.

I’m not actually the Supermom sort. I’m not the Superanything sort; really, I’d settle on an edible chocolate ribbon for Best Example of a Flawed Human Being.

But I’m toast. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even a bit ill.

I can’t help but look around at other people and wonder how they do it, especially those who work as full time teachers at my kids’ school and have children of their own. I asked one of their Vice Principals that question in jest. She laughed and said her kids tease her for running their house like her classroom.

-But that may be the answer I seek.

So, for reals, how do you run your household? Do you schedule the hours? Minutes? Especially when you have a job and/or children, was it all set up? Outlined? Assigned?

I really do want to know.

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—————-

I sort of wrote things this week, and here they are:
Wednesday, May 8: Questioned the legitimacy of personality tests and their appeal in “Are We Our Personality Types?

Thursday, May 9: “The Cure for Depression: Never Give Up, Never Surrender,” the final suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, May 10: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Michael Fishman!

And posted “Should You Have Kids If You Have a Mental Illness?” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog (now say it ten times fast).

Saturday, May 11: Announced the 25th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an elegy to your most commonly misplaced household item. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 12: “Gramma Dear,” a poem about my grandmother, in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 13: An inspirational quote by Mel Robbins.

Tuesday, May 14: Nothing.

Wednesday, May 15: Halfwayish through the month!

I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I’m pretty sure I need to stop trying to keep that one afloat and have downgraded to a free plan again.
Anyway; I wrote “Take Time for You. Ish” and “Happy Mother’s Day?

 

Photo Credit:
Andrew Neel

The Cure for Depression: Get Some Sleep!

Good morning, everyone! I’ve been meaning to talk to you all about ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT topics ever besides food and sex, but I kept sitting down to do so at incriminating times -like, midnight or four a.m.ish.

Yeah, I oughta be asleep then.

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Now that I’ve pushed hypocrisy under the rug by typing at my local time of 10 a.m., let’s get into it!

Sleep is important.

Duh, right? Well, so is eating the right food, but I still ate a Pop Tart for my second breakfast. So is positive self-talk and such with CBT, but I forgot all that when my kids had a meltdown all weekend. So is talking to my counselor and doing what she says and -no, wait! I did go back on my medication because the kids had a meltdown all weekend.

Point is: we know sleep is important. However, if you’re like me, then a good sleep schedule is one of the first things to go right out the window as soon as you have a small sip of it.

So let’s remember why we need sleep:

  1. Better Mental Health
    Isn’t this our goal? My internet reading says that mental illness sufferers almost always do not get enough sleep. I think that’s often because our stupid problems don’t let us sleep; for me, however, I intentionally do not because I’m self-defeating that way.
    Sleep is CRUCIAL to better mental health, resetting emotions and releasing the happier hormones into our systems.
  2. Learning.
    Our brains HAVE TO hit all the key sleep stages in order to retain information. -You know, all that REM/NREM stuff where dreams can happen. There are a ton of articles out there about this, if you want to do a little side research.
  3. Physical Health.
    After a good night’s rest, our muscles are relaxed and ready for a new day. Skin looks better, especially around the eyes. Joints, ligaments, and nerves have time to repair. Without the stress of maintaining activity, the body as a whole can work on healing.
  4. Longer Life
    No joke: consistently cutting back on sleep affects DNA. This bad practice physically shortens one’s life. Don’t get paranoid; decide to get a better schedule.
  5. Creativity
    Despite your tortured artist soul’s ideas to the contrary, good sleep produces more creativity. I am a regular practice-er of late-night muse-calling; I often produce dark poetry detailing horrific, depressive mindsets.
    In terms of consistent artistry, though, I am much more productive when I’m regularly rested.
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  6. Lower Stress
    Yeah, you should know this one. Well-rested is the opposite of high-strung.
  7. Other Crap You May Not Have Known About
    Lack of sleep affects: testosterone (meaning you’re not going to feel like sex so much), weight control, disease immunity, and focus.

Like water and breathable air, humans have to have sleep. The next question, then, is how do we go about sleeping?

  1. Make a sleeping place
    Yep, like a bed. Maybe you’re literally more comfortable in a recliner, though. Wherever you do your business, make it only for sleeping and sexing. Make it comfortable, dark, and free from distractions.
  2. Make a sleeping time
    Ideally (in a fiction novel), you’d get to bed around 9 or 10 p.m. every night of your life. I find that aiming for a reasonable time gets me close to it, plus trains my body to expect that.
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  3. Have a relaxing routine
    Once your time’s set, prepare for it about an hour in advance. We’re talking: showering if you do it before bed, reading a book or your phone on the couch, reconnecting with your loved one(s), getting a drink, bathrooming, etc.
    DO NOT EAT an hour before bed. If you are positively famished, I’d recommend light foods at least two hours before for metabolism and heartburn reasons.
  4. Stay in bed, but don’t stress yourself
    Occasionally when I wake in the middle of the night, I toss about and decide I’d be more productive getting up. Then I’m a zombie all day. Instead, I’ll choose to make myself more comfortable by repeating my relaxing routine and possibly adjusting the house/bed temperature. Then, I’ll go back to bed and just rest.
  5. Sleep aids and medications
    I’m not going to pretend some people don’t need medicine to rest. The elephant’s in the room (and now, in the bed), right? If you’ve tried a bunch of stuff listed above and have serious trouble sleeping, get your doctor on board to prescribe something to help.
  6. Cut out the crappy stuff like smoking, drinking, recreational drugging and caffeinating
    Tricky, of course, but so so so so so so so helpful for your body in so so so so so so many ways -especially sleep.
    If you gotta do it, keep booze and coffee to healthy times: alcohol in small amounts after an earlier dinner and caffeine in the morning after food.

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The other side of excellent sleep habits is your waking ones. Early to bed and early to rise isn’t just a great poem; it’s a blueprint for most people and a healthy lifestyle.

After a good night’s rest, a consistent, early waking time is equally vital.

In my crash-course study on this topic over the past few days, I learned that waking at the same time each morning trains your body. Our smart little brains start increasing key protein levels (PER) just before the anticipated wakeup. Some people don’t even need an alarm clock because their body has been set.

You, too, can be a living alarm clock.

Resolve today to make sleep a higher priority. Make your bedroom cozy, cut out stimulants of all varieties in the evening, wake early, be consistent, but -most of all- RELAX!

Sleep feels great; get some and you’ll see.

Thank you for joining me on Consider not Depressing. Tune in next time, when I discuss the next item that cures depression.

 

Maeghan Smulders
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Kristina Flour
Kinga Cichewicz

 

*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.

The Cure for Depression: Get Outside

I can’t believe I plan on spending an entire post on this obvious tip, but …I can count on two fingers the number of times I walked around in Mother Nature last week. Clearly, some of us are not practicing what we preach.

Therefore, I’m totes going to push the advantages of getting outside:

  1. Nature’s pretty. This prettiness helps instill happiness and inspirational thoughts that just might lead to award-winning poetry (though, you may want to only tell those poems to yourself).
  2. It smells nice, if you’re somewhere like a park. I’ve heard you might need air to breathe, too, so bonus!
  3. As a human with skin (unless you have solar urticaria), you need sunlight to soak up UV rays and make Vitamin D.
  4. Happy sun rays combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  5. Time outside has a buttload of benefits for your mind. We’re talking improved short-term memory, mental energy, concentration, sharper thinking and creativity, and overall mental health.
  6. Walking outdoors lowers depression and perceived stress, according to a study at the University of Michigan.

It’s highly possible your backyard doesn’t look like this. Does that mean that you shouldn’t even bother? NO!

Waaay back a full year ago when I started talking to my counselor, she gave me this one direction: “Get outside.”

“But… but, the kids…” (Me, making excuses.)

“No.” (Her, the one paid to help me.) “Tell your husband that I said to drop everything and go outside. Grab some food from McDonald’s or something, go to a park, and just sit out there.”

And she was right.

I don’t care if you slip yourself out the side door at lunchtime, if you sneak out before kids are awake, if you walk home because you missed the bus, or if you decide to go camping and sleep all night where our ancestors did -just grab some time and DO IT.

Since we’re about starting small, just tell yourself you’re going to hang out for a few minutes. Next, try 15. Ideally, we’ll work up to 30 minutes as a minimum daily exposure. Who knows? Maybe you’ll feel so inspired we’ll have to drag you back to cavedom.

If you’re fair-skinned and/or burn easily, put on some sunscreen. Otherwise, go to it with my blessing.

Of all the expensive, time-consuming, stressful things people consider for helping with mental issues; this is the best because it’s FREE.

Seriously, just look at that. What are you waiting for?

Becca Tapert
Jannis Brandt
Kym

 

*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.

Pity Party of One, Please

Some days even an entire bar of Symphony chocolate doesn’t help.

Not for lack of trying, mind you.

I ate the first row to move past the constant pain in my lower gluteus region. The second went toward a HAZMAT-type situation regarding dirty dishes. The third disappeared sometime between telling children to sit back down at dinner and get back in the shower; you’re still soapy. I removed the fourth row of toffee-filled delight from the wrapper when the husband and I had a loud ‘discussion’ just before bed.

Problem is, I just found out that I wasn’t a finalist in a writing competition. I’d allowed myself to think I had a chance.

And there’s no fifth row of chocolate.

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It’s All A Lie

I just love life aphorisms. I love them about as much as the daily grind of housework that regenerates every five seconds.

“Don’t worry; everyone feels that way.”

Really? If everyone felt the way I do, the world would be on fire. At the very least, I would not see so many smiling people getting out of the house and purchasing avocados for their lunch break.

In an actual session, my counselor voiced this advice. “I don’t think that’s true,” I countered. “Most people, when asked about a recent vacation, don’t go on about world disparity.” She laughed, and I noticed she didn’t disagree. Face it: everyone does not feel the way I do.

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“People will love you for who you are.”

No, people will not. People sense or see or smell the negative vibes emanating from my socially-anxious person before I even speak about world disparity. I see it in the falter of their smile (if it was there), in the excuse to go… anywhere and get out of the conversation.

Close family members are the only ones to use “love” with me, and do so with hesitation. I can tell they expect that world-burning explosion part of me to bite them in response. I probably ought to stop doing that…

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“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Yeah, maybe after the laundry is done. Even then, ‘anything I set my mind to’ is probably going to be an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom.

I’ve thought of writing a bestseller, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve considered a job outside the house, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve also toyed around with going back to school, but that requires an insane amount of debt and daycare and emotional stress on family life.

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“We only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

I regret everything. I second-guess myself before the chance, during it, and after it’s passed.

Besides, in my profession as mother, I can’t simply decide to be a roving gypsy. Child Protective Services frowns upon decisions like that.

 

Perhaps good advice works; you know, for ‘everyone.’ For me and others who may view things similarly, what do you say? “Tomorrow is another day?” Of course it is, stupid. Yesterday was another day, too.

There’s got to be an evolutionary advantage to cynicism, right?

Depression, Anxiety and Lethargy.

I am officially breaking my “no re-blog” rule with the ever-hilarious Katie. Only a woman who names her depression Betty and her bicycle Claude could aptly refer to dealing with depressive lethargy as “wading through treacle whilst carrying a donkey on (her) back.”

Katie’s even gone the extra mile this time and given some sound, anti-donkey advice.

Wednesday

Arthur Dent, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, explains that he “never could get the hang of Thursdays.” For me, it’s Wednesdays.

Midweek is not only Hump Day. It’s also our Garbage Day and my all-articles-are-due-by-noon Deadline Day. And, silly as it is to complain about, my two hour house cleaner is due to arrive.

The cleaner is part of my recent attempts to not be depressed anymore. You know, because cleaning is depressing. I’m not entirely sure it’s working, however, since my overall problem is that I procrastinate and then explode.

universe-2151332_1920Yep, like that.

So…. Wednesday is really Meltdown Day. Meltnesday. Meltdownesday?

As usual, I woke up after trying to stay up late finishing stuff and now feel like I have to clean the whole house so the cleaner can see the floor to mop it and then finish typing 500-word-each content articles that are so boring I want to get in a car accident on the way home from taking children to school just to avoid it and then watch the garbage truck drive right past my house because
+I
+++forgot
++++++to set out the cans last night
+++++++++…..again.

Plus, it’s our Birthday Season. But, maybe most days are actually like this. Even in Australia.

My Mama Said

Stress

My mama didn’t say there’d be days like today.

She didn’t say I’d wake completely wasted from staying up writing for a job I took because I have no job skills and only the lingering hope that everyday writing will somehow help and the paycheck is something whereas writing what I feel is nothing.

And the children, the children are yelling and picking and putting each other down like mean little parrots of their emotionally-drained parent who stayed up writing and let them watch a movie as a treat and to distract them from herself.

But watching a movie wasn’t a Fun Mom thing after all because now my child with some behavior diagnosis or another is telling me exactly what he thinks and his disrespectful behavior is the sort that would have gotten knuckles slapped or backsides switched a hundred years ago but instead I’m supposed to hug him and reassure him that his erroneous feelings are valid and I love him no matter what.

I don’t remember my mama telling me there’d be days where I didn’t love my children, no matter what because they’re impertinent and rude whilst telling me that I am the rude one while I’m washing their clothes and making their food and cleaning their residual dirt from all the floors.

No, she didn’t tell me about how many floors were in a house and how many clothing items four small boys can manage to dirty per hour or how many times they’ll throw an empty cup in the sink till only the backup ones are clean and those free-from-restaurant sorts are what visiting guests drink from.

But, really, I’m sure my mama did not anticipate driving to preschool in sock feet, gym clothes that never saw exercise today, and hair that keeps falling out when a light zephyr passes through the air or when a child dislodges several in a rough sign of affection that was probably more of an attempt to show how upset he was over yet another Rude Mom gesture.

Perhaps she knew about the hopelessness, about the parroting, about the ramshackle hairstyle. Maybe she was watching us mirror her sadness and repeat her empty, futile anger as we did whatever we wanted. Did we hear her crying as we knocked incessantly at the locked door?

Honestly, I’m not sure what my mama said because I didn’t always listen.

unsplash-logoFinn Hackshaw