I didn’t post yesterday because some nonsense took place before I got up that morning. The sun had already illuminated the sky, but I was still in bed. I heard a pop somewhere outside then the power died. Because I sleep with a CPAP, there was no chance of rolling over and going back to sleep. As it turns out, a drunk driver plowed into a light pole in my neighborhood, bringing down the pole, taking the power lines with it. Great. That was at 6:30 in the morning. It took until almost 8pm to bring electricity back to the neighborhood. I have to say, hitting the gym thoroughly unrested let me do cardio for a bit longer. My brain was NOT firing on all cylinders. All better now!
World Suicide Prevention Day, a day for raising awareness about suicide and taking proactive measures to prevent suicide, was Saturday, the 10th. I’ve battled depression for over twenty years (some years more than others). I thought it might be nice, considering yesterday’s occasion, to share my self-care kit. Note: This is by no means meant to replace professional treatment or advice. I am a strong advocate for therapy and seeking medical and psychiatric assistance for mental and emotional issues. The list below is only a compilation of short-term pick-me-ups that often (but certainly don’t always) help me recenter myself so I can take the next big step to take care of my mental health, whether that’s calling my counselor or talking to my doctor about antidepressants. My self-care kit is the baby step to help me get to the big steps; it doesn’t replace them.
My Self-Care Kit
Sight: Phone (containing a hefty collection of pictures of kittens). When I find myself unable to use my phone for any reason, I look up at the sky. No matter the time of day, I can appreciate stunning blue, gorgeous clouds, a sunrise or sunset, or the moon and stars. Taking a moment to look at something adorable or beautiful reminds me that there are good things in the world, even when my life is overwhelmed by unhappy feelings or events.
Sound: Phone and headphones (for playing George Winston’s Autumn or a Headspace video). Without my phone, I find focusing on my own breath to be a useful and grounding exercise.
Scent: Peppermint essential oil sniffed right from the bottle or dabbed on the wrists to relieve anxiety and nausea (a common symptom of emotional distress for me)
Touch: A novelty Squishy (mine is shaped like a Hearthstone from World of Warcraft). When caught without my kit, my own hands do the job. I squeeze and tap my hands and wrists to harness my attention. BONUS: If I am at home, bundling up under my weighted blanket does a world of good. Obviously, this is not portable, but it is an amazing tool to have a home. It’s like a perpetual cuddle.
Taste: Dark chocolate. I often keep individually wrapped dark chocolates or serving of chocolate-covered blueberries on hand. Engaging all five senses is a fun and engrossing way to bring the mind back into the here and now.
Truly, capturing my own attention and redirecting it toward the something concrete and in the present helps pull me out of the spiral of dread and depression I sometimes face.
Much of my time in the last few days has been consumed by watching the live coverage of the queen’s honors. Queen Elizabeth II, second longest reigning monarch of all time, died on September 8, 2022. Rest in peace, good lady. You were a pillar of reality, a constant, a given, for everyone under the age of 70. I am bookmarking and saving several videos of the coverage. I’d only ever read about anything of this scale, and I am fascinated to see it now.
Here are this week’s suggestions for fun and enriching activities:
- Relaxing Music: “Only the Beginning of the Adventure” from the soundtrack of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You can listen to it here (the first track), or find the album on Amazon* or streaming.
- Soothing Sounds: Preparing an Order at the Apothecary Shop by Moonlight Cottage ASMR.
- Puzzle: Mahjongg. You can find the game here along with everything you need to know about how to play.
- Movie: The Lion King (1994). You can find it on Amazon* or on a streaming service.
- Creative Prompt (write, draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, or collage something based on this subject): sun
- Mythology Lesson: Helios. Read about him here, and do a little further research if the mood takes you!
- Short Reading: “Tom Thumb.” You can read it here. This webpage also provides the audio for the story if you prefer to listen.
Try one per day or everything every day, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a more vibrant daily round.
*This is an Amazon Affiliate link.