Survival Mode

Remember the Wizard of Oz? It is one of my son’s favourite movies. You know when Dorothy is trying to figure herself out and she gets so stressed out that she dreams of Oz? Yeah, that’s my life in a nutshell right now.

I’ve been so stressed that I am in survival mode. I just go from one obligation to the next then pass out on my couch at night. The end of the school year is closing in and there is so much to do with two kids in full-time school.  All I seem to do is jump from one appointment to the next and cook meals in between. There is extra stuff going on, too, which adds to the workload ten-fold. I am in survival mode, doing just what needs to be done to survive and for my kids to thrive, without any frills or focus on extras.

As a result, I haven’t been doing any self-care. I was in such a busy daze that I barely noticed that I had put my own health, mental and physical, on the back burner lately. Suddenly, a month has passed and I’m starting to feel the self-neglect. I haven’t been working out, foam rolling, having baths, or taking time out. I fell off the meditation wagon as well. As a result, my eyebrows have grown in, my nail polish is chipped, the emails are piling up and my back has seized. My whole body is in pain because of the lack of positive activity and I have been suffering from stress headaches, acne and eczema. I haven’t been creative at all and I have zero energy. I am kind of a hot mess right now.

Last week, I fell into a depression and kinda leaned in to it. I slept in, napped, neglected housework and binge-watched Skins on Netflix (#teamcassie #teamchris #teamjal<—heehee). I let my productivity slide, fooling myself that the feeling I was overwhelmed and depressed was just because I was putting too much pressure on myself. Which just made my body ache more, the house a mess, and me feel gross. I ended up having to do twice as much the next week anyway!

My gut is a mess and your gut, your “second brain”, has a huge bearing on your mood. That, on top of the constantly changing weather, my stressed out kids and year end appointments, had me in a funk. I realize now that the less I feel like working out, the more I need to. It is a huge stress relief for me. As well, I need to really start trying hard to make meal plans and center my meals on gut-friendly food. My gut is getting worse and worse and I need to get a handle on it since it is no longer a “minor annoyance” but a major factor. Perhaps my gut has always been a huge reason I have suffered severe depression on and off? It could be.

Another big thing I need to do is say “no” more. When I would say no in school, people would hang out without me, cliques would form, and groups kind of forgot to keep asking me to join in. As a result, I have this giant neurotic tendency to wear myself out trying to maintain even the mis-matched friendships and agree to any obligation thrown at me to seem agreeable, even if I know the task is a really bad fit. I need to learn that I am an adult now, that having friends comes more naturally to me, and that saying “no” is hugely beneficial. I have to stop working AGAINST my personality type and do me.

My kids have been stressed lately, too. Summer makes Hunter think of Bailey, since her birthday was in the summertime, and Isabella is having a hard time relating to kids in her class and keeping her anxiety levels down. So they have weighed heavy on my mind as well.

Today, I feel a bit better: less like pulling covers over my head and shirking my responsibilities. In clumsy metaphor style: I feel that the high tide has quit crashing into me and, now that it has gone out again, I have the space to breathe and plan and think again. I started a simple bullet journal– hopefully it will keep me feeling organized and, therefore, less overwhelmed. I have more energy today and feel up to tackling new challenges. Yesterday, I planted new seeds for the summer garden, finally, and repotted anything rootbound in my indoor garden space. I feel as if I am emerging from the darkness which does, indeed, come in waves.

Life is magical and a gift, and even when I am in a depressed mood, I recognize that. I hope that if you are depressed, there is always that star of hope in your belly, guiding you through.

Related Posts:

Setting Up Grief Counseling

Kid Time vs. Adult Time vs. Izzy Time

5 Ways I Fight Anxiety & Depression

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