Routine and habits
As I shared in a previous post, routine and habits are essential to hang on to in times of SAD or depression. Yes, it might take longer to do the chores, and yes, it will definitely be harder to fulfil them. BUT, when they are part of your system, you can decide not to pay attention to how you feel about them, but just do them. That is the beauty of habit. Mindlessly doing what you always do.
Why is order so important?
Keeping order in your mind starts with keeping order around you. It is so easy to let go of housekeeping duties, especially laundry and dishes (made easier with a dishwasher, I know, but it’s luxury I don’t have), and within a few days your house is a mess. Cleaning up the mess seems impossible and soon you feel like drowning. The mess overwhelms you, causing more anxiety than you can handle, which in turn increases the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, guilt etc.
Been there. Done that. Forever.
I discovered that habits in and of itself do not really cut it. You need a good reason for doing them. Otherwise you drop them at the tip of your hat. Or at least when the going gets tough. That used to happen to me all.the.time.
What made the difference for me, though, is the motivation WHY I do what I do. The secret?
Finally I know how it feels to do things because they are in my best interest. The fact that when I pass my kitchen, I stand still to simply enjoy the look of my window sill. It looks so nice, after it has been a mess for so so so long. Because I have an extra kitchen cabinet, now it makes sense to keep the clean look. Every time I am in the kitchen, I do the dishes, so I will not be overwhelmed again with the amount of dishes overflowing from the sink. It makes me feel proud of myself that I am keeping it up and I thoroughly enjoy the clean look of my kitchen (and no, this does not mean my floor or my stove are clean – I am still working on that )
The fact that I feel happy in my bedroom because there is order – everything has it’s place. I never realised that simply dumping all my clean laundry on a heap was in actual fact disturbing to my soul. I am even able to keep up with the laundry, the hanging up and even putting away. Right now, my wash bin is empty! This is unbelievable as I never seemed to get ahead of it.
Here are some things you can do, because they are in your best interest.
Getting up – even if it turns out later than usual.
Getting dressed – even though I love my jammies, I noticed that being dressed changed my attitude about the day.
Have breakfast – sounds so logic, eh? But I tend to ‘forget’ it. Then hunger strikes and I eat snacks and junk food.
Have a cuppa – tea, coffee, whatever. Keep the fluids going!
Take a walk in the morning
Yikes… Confession time: I don’t like to go out for the sake of going out, especially in the mornings. But if I have to go out for whatever reason, when I come home, I notice the difference. It feels so good! Yet, the experience is not strong enough to get me going by myself. So especially when I am in a funk/depressed/SAD I try to make appointments in the morning to get myself out of bed and out the door!
The scientific reason to do this is to get yourself in day light in order to re-set your sleep-wake cycle. Getting day light kicks the melatonin in your body in its place. Melatonin is the body’s sleep drug. Resetting it helps your body to feel sleepy when it ought to in the evening.
Speak to a human being
Make contact with someone. Doesn’t need to be long, nor about something serious. Main focus is being in touch as opposed to isolating yourself. This is especially important for singles (like me). When you have a spouse and/or kids, they will keep you on your toes. Which is good. And raises other challenges, I know… Still.
Do something creative
I maintain the view that each one of us is creative. Either with writing, knitting, gardening, drawing, designing, photography, card-making, whatever it is you do that get your creative juices flowing. Do it! It will definitely make you feel better as you have accomplished something.
Do something you know you enjoy
For me, going to the library and having a coffee there is a treat. It’s just one of the simple things I love, even on my own. Whatever it is you love to do, do it! ANd don;t think that you are accomplishing nothing, you are working hard on your self-love ;-)!
Do you have any ‘home remedies’ that help you deal with S.A.D. / depression?
Please share with us in the comment section below!