Self-Care for People Trying to Adult Good

This guide was meant specifically to help people with ADHD and ADD. While I don’t have either of those (as far as I know, I am increasingly less and less sure of anything about myself these days), some of the self-care tips struck me as Really Good Ideas. Halfway through reading it I stopped and downloaded the Grid Diary app. Sam’s examples of his own questions he’s set for himself to answer at the beginning and end of every day are, after some slight tweaking, a good reminder for me to be more mindful. Some of these are (tweaks included):

  • What are some strategies I can use to be effective and get shit done today?
  • What’s one way I can support my mental health today?
  • Am I worried about anything?

And one suggested by the app, which I decided to keep:

  • What problem did I encounter today? How did I solve the problem?

As Sam comments in there somewhere, these tips won’t be perfect for everyone but work for him as he spends a lot of time on his phone anyway. My partner, who most likely does have ADD, swears by bullet journals and didn’t seem as interested in this app as I am when I mentioned it — but then I’m more of a phone person, and any time I spend on my phone that’s not noodling away on Candy Crush Soda Saga or Solitaire Tri Peaks is probably a good thing.

 

That’s when I knew: I didn’t want to live like this anymore.

via ADHD Survival Guide: How I Stopped Procrastinating and Got My Sh!t Together — Let’s Queer Things Up!

Walking With Giants

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. Your words have helped me feel a little lighter, a little more inspired. Plus, I had a kitty lounging on my chest and purring for quite a while this morning, which was nice.

The day after I made that post, we had already planned to go to a nearby redwood forrest and do a nature walk. My energy felt so sapped that I almost didn’t want to go, but between my partner’s infectious enthusiasm as sheer momentum I went. This particular park has an amphitheater area that we’re considering as a wedding venue, and I really wanted to see it. Temperatures have sometimes climbed to the 100s recently and that day was no exception, but at least the forest was full of shade.

“Green spaces are known to be good for mental health, and beyond that, there’s the powerful business of encountering.” —Nimue Brown

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With that, I felt a little better too. And this past weekend, as a delayed birthday present, my mom took my to Disneyland! It was very hot and very crowded, but even that helped clear my mind of non-immediate concerns. The Jungle Cruise was still there, despite some rumors we had heard of it being closed down permanently, and Space Mountain and Indiana Jones were as wildly enjoyable as ever. Plus, Disney is astonishingly good at accommodating allergies and I found gluten free bread here and there when I least expected it. (Grilled cheese and tomato soup, om nom nom!) Not for nothing is it called the Happiest Place on Earth, and although most of the happy glow wore off once I came home and returned to real life I do feel better for the three days of mental relief. I am extraordinarily lucky and grateful for that.

I don’t think I’m depressed. There are a lot of things I need to adjust in my life to get to a better mental place — I am too stressed, I am too anxious, I am worried about my upcoming endoscopy and the single Ativan I will take to keep myself calm that day, I don’t get enough exercise, I don’t eat enough protein, and I need to carry on with purging gluten from my system.

For the first three, I have started talking to a therapist again. I’m going to try and get back into meditation and breathing exercises, which might be a little easier to remember to do once the endoscopy is over and done with. I’m also taking some steps to reduce the stress in my environment… Work stuff. It’s a process.

For the last three, I have my Fitbit. I bought it for myself a few months ago and have been gradually bumping my step goal up from 5k as I build better daily habits. Currently my goal is 7k and I’m doing a pretty good job of hitting it. The app also tracks exercise and food/calorie/macronutrient intake. In the past week I’ve been using it as a food journal, in case I need to look back and figure out if I ate anything that wasn’t gluten free by accident. It tells me what percent of calories are from protein, too, so I can be more mindful of that.

There are probably other things I can do, but this is where I’m starting. I’m already taking vitamin D every day along with my anti-anxiety medication, which I believe isn’t giving me as much burnout from side effects as it was a few weeks ago. When I remember, I take gummy multi-vitamins. Once I get though the endoscopy, perhaps I will turn more of my focus towards meditation, vitamins, and writing more often.

And my partner and I definitely plan on taking more nature walks. We even bought matching water bottles for the purpose. 😊

Overall, I am not at my best, but I am better. I hope all of you are doing okay.

“Heal yourself first. Get what you need, do what you need to, first, always first, but after you have made some progress and stored up some strength yourself, go out and help the rest of the world heal.” — Lisa

Life is a Complex Matter

Happy 4th of July! I must admit that right now I am not the proudest I have ever been of my country — more like, rolling my eyes real hard — but a federal holiday is a paid day off work and that at least is worth celebrating. Today there was less car exhaust in the air during usual rush hour time, and that’s worth some happy thoughts as well.

This Independence Day I would love to declare independence from the bad vibes and depression that’s been clinging to me for a while now, but I can’t. The dark clouds over my head are there and pretending they aren’t won’t get me any less stormed on.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”  — Walt Disney

In the past several months I feel as though my anxiety has gotten worse, and being toldI tested positive for celiac disease hasn’t helped. My jaw feels tight and at times almost clicky again. I’m back to flinching when I’m a passenger on the freeway and someone cuts in front of us. I am borderline apathetic about getting up every morning, partly because I don’t want to move and partly because I feel queasy.

I can’t just overlook these things. They’re too big, some days it’s hard to see anything else. All I can do is remember the buts.

  • I might have celiacs, BUT that means that maybe going gluten free will help me loose weight. (If nothing else, a GF bagel is smaller than a regular one, and similar upsides to portions.)
  • I might have celiacs, BUT that could explain some of my recent spikes in anxiety and insomnia, and offer hope that they’ll settle again soon.
  • I might feel queasy more often and easily now, BUT that’s probably because my sertraline dose was increased three weeks ago, so my body will probably adjust soon and that’ll go away.
  • I might feel queasy more often and easily now, BUT maybe that just means I shouldn’t drink any more alcohol until my body settles down a bit. (Because I’m really, really sick of getting hit with a hangover an hour after having two drinks.)
  • Sometimes I feel way too stressed and panicky and like I have no way of changing any of the stressful factors in my environment, BUT I have my partner to support me and, if I really need it, lavender pills to help calm me down. That at least clears some space in my head to think.

In theory, lists like these will help me stay more level. I don’t know if it’s working. I think it might be… but I’ll have to wait and see.

Recently diagnosed and I don't know what I'd do without these. ❤️ #chocolatechex #cheerios @celiacdiseasefoundation

A post shared by Jean (@cat_in_the_ciderbarrel) on

Monday Musings #13 — Morning Pages

Good morning! Yesterday I hit my 100th post, and to celebrate I spent the rest of the day changing my blog theme and adding a guest blogger contact page (if anyone would like to submit anything). Today I’ve armored up against the week, however flimsily, with earrings, a t-shirt I’ve had since preschool, and the knowledge that I won’t have a two hour commute to get home tonight. It’s a start, anyway.

I tend to do that. Sometimes I armor myself with optimism, or with exhaustion, or occasionally a dreary “it is what it is so just deal with it” realism that neither worsens nor betters the situation. Often, I try to armor myself with rituals. A cup of tea in the morning. Meditation. Sunday gratitudes. Taking walks. Listening to audiobooks in the car. Remembering to floss. You’d be surprised how many times you might be able to tell yourself that you can handle anything just as long as your teeth feel clean.

It’s a toss-up whether or not most of this does any good. At least I haven’t had any cavities in a long time, and the meditation does help. I should do it more often — that and taking walks. But I’m always on the lookout for new good habits, just in case they are good and, importantly, just in case they’ll stick. Continue reading “Monday Musings #13 — Morning Pages”

Monday Musings #12 – Coffee Shop Self-Care

I don’t often sit in coffee shops. While the free wifi that’s pretty commonly available these days helps, I always feel self-conscious and anxious when setting out to do so. What if I can’t find a comfortable place to sit? What will I do with all my stuff when I have to go to the bathroom? What do I do about food if I’m there for a long time, take snacks (if I have any) or just spend money there? If I take my laptop, what if I can’t get a seat near a plug? Or what if I do, but lose it as soon as I get up to use the bathroom? And let’s be honest, do I really even want to use a public bathroom?

But today I’m just on my phone, and while I’m vaguely concerned about the battery I am temporarily without a charger besides the one in my car so it doesn’t matter if there are seats near the outlets. I ended up with one of the comfy chairs. The music has settled into a tolerable background noise. Today is a paid day off thanks to the holiday, and I have nowhere in particular to be. Well, at least not yet.

So I’m spending the day just chilling. This mornings I woke up at (gasp) 6:30am to have an early breakfast with my brother and parents, and see him off before his drive back to Nevada. Then I went back to bed. When I woke up again, I dusted off one of the half hour yoga recordings and did a (mostly) standing series of meditation stretches. Although that was mildly exhausting it returned to me some of the sense of unwinding that I felt after getting that massage the other week – where the masseuse recommended I do neck and shoulder stretches before bed and first thing every morning. This is the first time I’ve actually done so and I’m going to try and do it more often.

Over the past few weeks I feel like everything has been set to Fast Forward. Work feels as though it’s demanding that I move at breakneck speed, although I feel as though everything I do is more like treading water and I cannot explain that contradiction to myself – I’m pretty sure it’s all in my head. I’ve recently read the suggestion that one of the symptoms of depression is becoming a workaholic, and that seems to ring true because I feel so frantic to get something, anything done and that’s the easiest arena for accomplishment. In my personal life, situations keep escalating in the blink of an eye – this one I know this is all in my head and I’m spacing through a lot of what’s happening for various reasons.

Continue reading “Monday Musings #12 – Coffee Shop Self-Care”