Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making it thru Winter

I was just thinking today that I am doing really good for it being mid January.  I am always a little off in the winter time especially in places that actually have a winter.  I suffer from some really bad depression that makes my life come to a halt.  When I lived in Florida it wasn't as bad because it was warm and the sun would show itself most of the time. I could ride Blue all year round and I had a great support system.

The last few years in upstate NY I barely made it thru the winters.  It was cold and gloomy most of the time and it seemed like the snow would never end.  I couldn't go out on Blue very often, I felt trapped and my support system was very limited.  Each winter I was in NY the worse it got.  This last winter was the worst and I tried everything to keep myself going.  I had many plans that might have worked if I was able to keep them going but myself and my job didn't permit some of the things I needed and then of course everything fell apart.

Some of the things I tried last winter was a strict schedule including where I needed to be, someone I needed to see every few days, what I was going to eat that day and something enjoyable to do each day.  I created a chore list so I was sure basic things would be done like feeding my boys, going to the grocery store, taking out the trash and cleaning my apartment.  I got a weighted vest and one of those sun lamps.  The weighted vest and an exercise ball did help out since I can get very frustrated but the sun lamp just gave me a headache so I rarely used it.  I had gotten to the point where I literally could not move for days.  As I said before I was at a point where hospitalization or a day program should of been where I spent most of my winter.  Luckily it wasn't.

Depression is hard to plan around but every year I know it is coming so planning ahead of time is key.  Finding a job that can be flexible and a support system is a good start.  It isn't that I don't have to worry about depression all year round but the winter seems to be where it is the worst.

This year I have been pretty happy.  Probably because I am living the life I have dreamed about forever but I also had to realize I am staying in a place where there is a winter.  It gets cold, we get a little bit of snow but luckily there is a lot of sun.

Some of the things I do to keep myself in a good place are:

I take vitamin D every day.. I use a liquid form where I just have to put a drop on my tongue every morning.

I keep a low stress life.  If something is stressing me out or frustrating me I put it down and walk away until I feel better about it.  I have a few bills and have to make some money but I don't have to worry as much about money because I don't have to worry about rent which was a huge stressor for me since I never made enough to pay rent.  Rent in most places is excessive for a single person.  In the dumps I have lived in it would normally cost me close to half of my salary... that is no more.  Stress is a huge trigger and it really isn't worth it in the long run.

I give myself things I need to accomplish every day.  Not too many things and simple things.  For instance one day I will take out the garbage and bring in fire wood.  Another day I may make a goal of crocheting a hat.  On all the nice days I walk to get the mail and play with all the dogs outside.

I am up every morning usually when the sun rises.  There is no alarm set but luckily insomnia has not met up with me yet this winter.  I go to bed at a decent time and I sleep thru the night.  I sometimes take a nap in the afternoon if I am tired but I don't even need a nap every day.

I have done really well with food which has the tendency to fall apart.  I make a plan in my head for the day of what I am going to eat.  I listen to my body and eat when I am hungry.  I have been drinking water and less caffeinated drinks.  I did have a day where I craved caffeine so I allowed myself but it is not a daily thing... neither is sweets.  I eat them when I want them but not necessary every day because my mood is pretty stable.

I have some other creative ideas that I work on a little bit at a time that make me happy but I can't work on too much or I become a perfectionist which leads to depression.  Unfortunately once my perfectionist part comes out I can't do anything right.... so I work on it as long as it is fun and put it away when it becomes more stressful.

These small basic ideas have made a huge difference.  It is also helpful that I don't have to be going all the time and there really is no one for me to please.  I can do what I want when I want which I guess goes with the stress level.  I am someone who likes people but I can't be around them all the time.  If I am constantly around people I need a day where I completely hibernate but since I don't see people every day or even talk to people every day I can keep going every day of the week.  I think it is having a good middle ground where I am not completely isolated but not a social butterfly either.  I am someone who needs to be a little more on the isolated side but again I don't mind people in moderation. The pets are really helpful also.  They all have a schedule and let me know it is time to get moving and when I am happy they are happy.  They like to cuddle and play and that makes me a happy Jackie.

So far this winter I feel I have been quite successful.  Finding things that keep me happy and I am very content with my life and couldn't ask for more.

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