I said on Monday that I would post about my plan – and I remembered!
So, what is this ‘Plan’? And why do I have one?
For those of you who don’t know my story, I was diagnosed with depression six years ago, and have been on medication for five years. It has been a struggle – a constant battle, but I have had some wonderful moments of brilliance. We have received had to increase my meds because I was getting down again. Some of you may ask, ‘why be down at Christmas?’ I had three relatives and a friend die in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas, so it makes it hard to celebrate when you lost your grandparents within 12 months of each other (Nanna was 17 years last month, Grandad is 16 years this month). Nanna was a big part of our Christmas’ so its a huge thing to not have her around – even after 17 years!
Before I discuss plans – I have a disclaimer to make: Everyone experiences depression differently. John Kirwan suffers from a deep fear, my husband suffers from extreme stress. My depression is an intense loneliness, like no one in the world would understand. Of course – others do, but that is where I come from.
But anyway – its important to have a plan. A plan in something that you can go to when you need to. In fact, it should be implemented in your every day life. It should include things you enjoy doing, and spending time with people. My mum had a plan that was ninefold – and it had things in it like spending time with family, spending time with friends, doing something she enjoyed doing. It was done in a grid, and each square had to be done each day.
Mine isn’t as complicated, or rigid, because some days are better than others, and some days you might not be able to accomplish something on your plan, because of the weather, your health, or some external factor. Having the ‘can’t help it’s’ doesn’t count. You need to do these ESPECIALLY if you can’t be bothered!
So list down things you like to do. Here’s mine:
- Going for a coffee
- Spending time with my best friends
- Volunteer work
- watching movies
- going for a walk / run
- spending time with my Mum
- Spending time alone
- Playing with my son
- Riding motorcycle / grass kart racing
- Spending time with my husband
- Doing art or craft work
There are other things as well, but you get the idea. Every morning, I spend time looking through the list and seeing what I can do for the day. Most mornings involve spending time in the garden before it gets too hot, then inside for a cuppa. I try and do some writing every day – although that isn’t always guaranteed. Twice a month Mum and I have a day where we spend together, and I don’t go more than two days without spending time with one of my besties.
3 days a week, very early in the morning, I am off for a walk – and I mean early – 5:30am. I do this because it sets me up for the day and gives me a buzz for getting some exercising for the day. Its a 40 minute walk that I do, walking up a hill and back down again.
I read every night in bed as this helps me to calm down before I go to sleep. If I am having an intensely stressful day, I will curl up with a book and just snub the world, because that is what I need to do.
Spending time alone doesn’t mean ruminating on my life. It can mean meditating, or just reflecting on the positives in my life. Because I’m an introvert, just having time to myself is perfect. Its what I need to recharge my batteries.
Spending time volunteering is another great booster – and this can be hard for someone like me, who likes my own company, but I seriously recommend it. Knowing that you have done something to help someone else really does increase your dopamine – which is a feel good hormone. Just something as simple as offering to garden for an elderly person, or dropping in for a coffee with someone you know is having a hard time. Don’t take on their problems, but do allow them to talk – if they want to. If they don’t, don’t push them, just talk about fun things, happy things. I volunteer at the local op shop, and while I haven’t done it for a while, I will get back there because I like the people that come in.
So, that is my plan – and you need to be flexible with it, because if the weather is yucky outside, you aren’t necessarily going to be able to work in the garden, but it might be the perfect day for watching a movie.
Do you have a plan? How does yours work? Feel free to share you thoughts and ideas.