I’ve never been shy about sharing my ongoing battle with depression and anxiety because if it helps just one person not feel alone then it’s worth it. As most of my long-time readers know I had mild to moderate postpartum depression after the births of both Maia and Mason. But after Zoey’s birth it all went sideways and I had severe postpartum depression which slid into postpartum psychosis and settled into debilitating anxiety. It’s taken me years to climb out of the pit. And it’s still a struggle sometimes. My moods are affected greatly by the seasons and the weather and my current level of stress. Managing my mental health is something I will be conscious of for the rest of my life. I’m in a good place right now. I feel like I’ve climbed the highest mountain for the last 6 years and I’m finally reaching the summit. I no longer spiral into a panic when I’m having a bad day, worried that I’m sinking down into that familiar black hole. I can accept that a bad mood is just a bad mood and know that not getting enough sleep one night will not trigger a depressive episode. It’s a work in progress, always. And I’m always reflecting on where I am at and what I’m doing that is helping keep the depression and anxiety at bay.
1. I leave the house every single day. I can’t believe how much this has helped me. I dreaded this school year with having kids in 3 different schools because it meant I had to go out to drive kids around every single day. And in retrospect, this has been the biggest blessing of my year. Getting out of the house and having a change of scenery every day has boosted my mood considerably.
2. I make my daily to do list. One of the issues I struggled with was feeling unproductive and lazy. So I have a notes section in my planner and I make a to do list for every single day of the week. I check off things as I go and I feel motivated.
3. I keep the house clean and clutter free. I’m still in the middle of a purge but I did finish my 40 bags in 40 days challenge. It felt great to get rid of so much junk that we just didn’t need. My house feels more open and clean and it’s helped me considerably. I am committed to maintaining a clean and clutter free home.
4. I have one hour of quiet time every morning. I fully admit that I’d rather be asleep. But the big kids leave for school at 6:15am and the little kids don’t wake up until 8am. So I have over an hour of quiet time to read and relax and be ready for the day.
5. I keep the house bright and cheery. I keep the lights on, the blinds open, and the ceiling fans going. The house is bright and open and it makes me feel happy. I add a few drops of essential oils to my diffuser and make the house smell good.
6. I make the vision for our family top priority. I keep at the forefront of my mind what we want for our family. We want a happy, peaceful family. We want joy. We want laughter. We want experiences. So I ruthlessly cut out anything that is not adding to the vision of our family. I say no to things that don’t fit with the lifestyle we are trying to create.
7. I go with the flow. This has probably been the hardest for me to achieve. I’m very much a planner and going with the flow goes against everything I am. But it’s helping. Plans changing at the last minute used to send me into a tailspin. Now I just laugh, shake my head, and adjust. And we’re all happier.
8. I keep looking forward. Nothing lasts forever. A bad mood passes, a rain storm moves on, stress dies off, and it all evens out. I just have to keep looking forward.