Remember that time that I said that I was better? That the fog and lifted and I was shiny again? Turns out I was just kidding myself, because the very next day the fog was back, and after 6 months, this shit just ain’t funny anymore. I feel like I’m 17 again, and that’s not as awesome as you might expect.
A close friend recently went through the worst two weeks imaginable, so I spent that time trying to give the impression of being mentally intact, so as not to detract from the immeasurable stress he was suffering. I feel hideously selfish for being depressed and anxious without good reason, and I hate making people around me unhappy by proxy. Clearly just toughing it out isn’t going to work this time around, so I’m going to change tack.
First tactic: Humour
Reflecting on the last week or so, I realised that there was one time that I felt free from the crazy, and that was when I was watching Grimsby, a disgusting and hilarious movie by Sacha Baron Cohen. We’re talking tears-in-my-eyes, slightly hysterical laughter. Laughter has a huge impact on mental wellbeing, and it gives a high that lingers. This week my plan is to watch at least three laugh-out-loud comedies (recommendations welcome).
Second tactic: Cuddles
Cuddles are awesome anytime, but when your depressed, cuddles, or any affectionate contact, can be a life-saver. The benefits are scientifically proven: cuddling increases production of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, and it reduces anxiety-causing cortisol. Unfortunately this tactic requires participation from others. Hugging unwilling parties is frowned upon. You can, however, hire a professional cuddler if you’re unable to entice a friend to join you. I’m not even joking.
Third tactic: Cutting Lists
When I’m losing my mind, it’s hard to remember what needs doing or how to prioritise jobs, so I spend a good chunk of my day wandering aimlessly wondering what I’m doing. Lists help me keep on track and you can usually tell how insane I am by seeing how many menial tasks on my list. When I start adding things like “have shower” or “brush teeth”, then you know I’m well and truly fucked up. Except, lately I’ve been finding that I’ve been adding too much to my lists and am getting stressed when I haven’t completed the jobs I wanted to get done. So I’m going to be cutting back and just sticking to the essential jobs for a while.
Fourth tactic: Music
Once upon a time, music was a constant in my life. Somewhere along the way I stopped listening. I suspect it was probably a side effect of having children. I started turn the music off because a child didn’t want to hear it, or wanted to watch TV instead. Or perhaps it was just that in the general noise and chaos, turning off the stereo was a way to reduce the overall din. The great thing about music is you can adjust your genre and tempo according to what effect you desire. I love heavy metal and hard rock for motivation and getting things done, and classical is helpful for relaxation, zoning out and as a soothing backdrop to a harried mind. I plan to make a conscious effort to re-instate music in my days.
Fifth tactic: Nutrition
Now, I’m not going to set myself up for failure by claiming that I am going to eat only clean/paleo/whatever-unattainable-fad-is-popular-with-the-Instageeks, I’m just going to try to make sure I’m getting plenty of quality nutrition in between the cookie breaks. Healthy fats, lots of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, without being OTT and obsessive.
So how effective will my new plan be? I have no fucking idea, but it’s worth a shot. Stay tuned!