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Florence 12-19-2013 10:05 AM

Methods of Self-Care
With the holidays coming up and so much snow on the ground, I'm feeling a little down. I have a lot of daily stuff on my plate, some deep emotional stuff I'm working on, and TWO pending custody cases queuing up for the new year. This summer I had a great self-care routine and I was happy and energetic and felt capable of handling everything in my path. A lot of my routine involved being outdoors, exercising in the sunshine, and seeing the world. We biked A LOT as a family (me, DS14, and DD2), all over town, and even took our bikes to different locations to breathe some different air and see, as DD2 calls it, "NATURE!" It was great! I really miss it. But I can't do that so much in the wintertime. TV and craft time ain't cutting it.

I need some new ideas. What do you guys do to refuel your tanks?

readerbaby71 12-19-2013 10:33 AM

Sorry you're feeling down, Florence. Winter's a tough time for me too. I really enjoy being outdoors but am not a fan of the cold and snow. I've found that yoga helps a lot. If you can't afford classes, there are tons and tons of videos on youtube. If you want to start slow, I recommend AM Yoga with Meaghan Townsend. It's only 10 minutes but really starts the day out right.

A few other things I've been doing are bowling, sledding, snow tubing and walking my dogs more often as long as it's not too frigid. Hang in there! I hope you feel better soon.

JustAGirl1971 12-19-2013 10:41 AM

Originally Posted by Florence (Post 4356257)
I need some new ideas. What do you guys do to refuel your tanks?

I read. Right now, I'm trying to alternate between reading self-help books and reading fiction. Also, work out at home with exercise videos & various equipment - exercise ball, free weights, resistance bands, etc. And, of course, counseling. I'm trying to get into the hang of regular Al-Anon meetings, too. Also, reading my bible, praying, and meditating help. I'm new to meditation and don't quite have the hang of it yet but I just keep trying!

For "family" time with the kids, we do game nights at home a lot. My little niece loves to play board games so we bring her over periodically to play, too. We have regular movie nights at home, too. And, occasionally we see movies in the theater (mostly "early" Sat matinees or older movies at the "cheap" theater to limit cost.) I'm in a monthly bunco club that includes older kids/teens.

You could host a game night for some family and friends. Or a cookie swap/open house? For more active ideas, there's always ice skating if you have a rink available.

FireSprite 12-19-2013 11:09 AM

Yoga is a life saver for me, really. Just ordered new mats with a gift card, yay. There is no limit to the tv shows, dvd's & classes available. I found it helpful to take a few classes first to get some IRL pointers when I first started, then it was easier for me to practice at home.

I also do a lot of reading, also alternating heavy to light reads, lol.

Dance parties... DD & I crank up the cd player, declare it a no-tv evening & dance around the living room.

Wii sports - we have bowling, tennis and baseball tournaments.

Zumba classes are FUN but i haven't found one that works well with my schedule right now... I'm checking into the wii version at Game Stop.

Long, hot baths with Epsom salts.

Homemade facials... My fave is a lemon/honey mask but I've made them with papaya, oatmeal, avocado, pineapple, etc.

At home pedicures, i have a little foot spa and peppermint foot salts, ;)

I'll post back again if I think of more.

readerbaby71 12-19-2013 12:10 PM

Oooh, I forgot reading! I plan to do A LOT of it during the holidays.

wysiwyg 12-19-2013 12:24 PM

Love this thread! I'm definitely taking notes. :)

Reminds me of "Treat Yo Self" from Parks and Recreation (well, maybe 86 the mimosas).

Florence 12-19-2013 12:32 PM

I need to #TREATYOSELF but I am so cash poor! I'm trying to learn ways to be nice to me that don't involve spending. Reflecting on this, I definitely need the physical exercise.

ShootingStar1 12-19-2013 01:14 PM

Maybe one thing you are physically missing is the health benefits of being in the sun. Perhaps have your Vitamin D levels checked, or add a supplement. And there are indoor lights that mimic what you get from the sun. Could be a bit of Seasonal Affect disorder.


Stung 12-19-2013 07:08 PM

OMG! LOL Thank you for posting that video! Annnnnnnd I think I'm just may treat myself to the sale at J.Crew.

Usually, I run and that makes me feel like nothing can bring me down (runners high, anyone?) but I ran a half marathon in October and haven't really run since because ish hit the fan with AH after that. (After my race I breastfed DD2 in the backseat of our car and then sat in the backseat with DD1 and DD2 on the car ride home and apparently that made me an a-hole in AH's eyes and resulted in a major blowout fight.) I really need to go for a nice long run though. I have another half marathon in a month.

I also love reading, but I like reading light fiction. David Sedaris is my favorite author and is absolutely HILARIOUS!!! Read Me Talk Pretty One Day if you want a good pick me up. :)

Florence 12-19-2013 07:36 PM

I love David Sedaris. I'm reading Samantha Irby's book now. It's so wrong it's right.

Actually, she talks a lot about growing up with a disabled mom and alcoholic dad. It's alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. She's the best.

FeelingGreat 12-19-2013 07:49 PM

Really good thread Florence. I'm time-rich cash-poor as well. ATM I'm making microwave lemon butter for gifts. It's hard to exercise in the heat here, so maybe we should swap locations - 10 minutes in our sun would give you a lot of vitamin D!
I will definitely try the authors you recommend - I have a Kindle so I can download them easily (love being able to do this!).
I find de-cluttering something helps, but I'm not at the same level as my DIL you de-stresses through housework.

OnawaMiniya 12-19-2013 11:49 PM

I'm sorry you're feeling so down and I hope it passes soon. I was going to suggest something like yoga or Pilates, but I see others have beaten me to it.

Do you like to draw, paint, or write (articles, long or short stories, poems, etc)?

Those things help me. Hope that helps.

Take care.


fairlyuncertain 12-20-2013 12:50 AM

These are great suggestions!

readerbaby71 12-20-2013 04:41 AM

Originally Posted by wysiwyg (Post 4356436)
Love this thread! I'm definitely taking notes. :)

Reminds me of "Treat Yo Self" from Parks and Recreation (well, maybe 86 the mimosas).

I love Aziz Ansari. Have you seen his standup? Hilarious.

Florence 12-20-2013 07:44 AM

I'm sorry you're feeling so down and I hope it passes soon. I was going to suggest something like yoga or Pilates, but I see others have beaten me to it.

Do you like to draw, paint, or write (articles, long or short stories, poems, etc)?
I do actually! Since my separation with my AH I've gotten hyper-creative. Right now I'm knitting, reading, running a few websites, writing, teaching myself to cook, and doing some DIY projects around the house. I also have a treadmill that I got off of Craigslist for a song, and I walked for awhile last night. All of these things are nice, but they don't give me that feeling of gratefulness or abundance that I'm missing.

So I had a little breakthrough last night.

I think what I am missing is my relationship to the outdoors, which has more than anything, become my higher power. This atheist has struggled with that term since I started this journey. I started biking heavily this summer -- I'm not athletic, maybe I used to be once -- but that feeling of working my body in the sunshine with the wind in my hair, getting to see and interact with my environment, was really transformative. I need to fit that into my routine even when it's cold and dreary out. So I'm going to work on that.

Thanks for helping me suss this out.

BlueSkies1 12-20-2013 08:23 AM

You figured it out yourself Florence, with your last post.

If you can't beat it, join it, applies when it comes to winter.

Snowmen. DD2 has got to love it.
Snowball fight.
Angels in the snow.
Lick an icicle.
Skiing or snowshoes.

Then when you come back inside, all red in the face, wet ankles and wrists, snow melting on the floor...
Fireplace? Imaginary one on your puter works.
Hot cocoa.
New warm dry socks.
Afghan and a good storybook.
Watch a movie together.
Cuddle, giggle, bake cookies.
You can even eat them--you just worked out while outside!

There's no arguing with mother nature. I've tried. She always wins, and I'm stubborn as they come.

One more reminder--the day after tomorrow the days actually start getting LONGER.
The beginnings of what will be Spring start on Dec. 22. The earth will be moving toward warmth for us in the northern hemisphere.
So Dec. 21 is actually--hump day!

lillamy 12-20-2013 08:45 AM

Well, a normal year I would say "exercise" but this year, the exercise I get is physical therapy rehab after a bad injury and it's so boring I want to SCREAM and actually ADDS to my stress and depression. Probably, God is giving me another opportunity to develop patience and I should be thankful. But I'm more irritable.

I read.
A lot.
And I don't mind reading some garbage either. :lmao
I'm really a totally highbrow literature geek but when I'm down, I don't look for quality -- I look for emotional support.

I also read and reread books that are like old friends. The book series that got me through my divorce was Jan Karon's Mitford series -- don't be put off by the fact that the main character is a pastor even if you're not a Christian. That series takes place in a small town where the most radically evil thing that happens is that a kid becomes homeless after running away from a father who was supposedly abusive. Or that a dog gets stolen. Reading that series was like stepping out of my messy life and stepping into an environment where at the end of the day, good rules the world and there's a crackling fire in the fireplace, a cup of tea on the side table, and a friendly dog wagging its tail at your feet. :)

I love music, I love listening to music, but I find that when I'm at home, I get too restless to really focus. So I've resorted to doing something that's not recommended on a tight budget -- I go for a drive and crank up the music and sing along.

I recently purchased a used piano. I haven't played for 15 years since the last time I played in church, but it's something that I can focus my attention on and leave the world behind.

I find that "self care" for me is largely about that -- about LETTING GO of the issues/problems/worries/awfulizing. And I need something that completely captures my attention to do that.

I also watch movies. My library loans DVDs, so they've been a good supply, but someone pointed out to me that you can get Netflix for a low price so I may look into giving myself that as a Christmas gift. I've also traded movies with friends. Ran across a couple of TV series that way that I've zoomed through.

I find that stuff I used to like doing -- getting my nails done, sitting at a coffee shop people-watching -- doesn't do it for me anymore. I get anxious.

I don't know if any of that helps.

CodeJob 12-20-2013 03:32 PM

Pharma Option
With all the drama in my life since Feb, I was always surprised I was not depressed. I'd be devastated, disappointed, hurt, drained, mad, tired, worried, cynical, sarcastic, determined, amused, frightened and numb - but when I reflected on how I felt I was not depressed. Well in the past two weeks I started to get depressed. Down with no cynical come back, down after talking with a friend, no reaction to good things happening, no exercise high and no excitement for an upcoming big event. I love Xmas and Advent and usually I am delighted to decorate, bake, and get overstimulated. This year I do not care a whit.

So today I finally threw in the towel and got some meds. Counseling again in Jan as well. I'm grateful I knew for me when I needed help. Of course that was a painful prior lesson!

wysiwyg 12-20-2013 03:36 PM

Originally Posted by readerbaby71 (Post 4357499)
I love Aziz Ansari. Have you seen his standup? Hilarious.

Yes! He cracks me the heck up!

That reminds me of another thing to do: streaming cheesy movies or hilarious stand up acts on Netflix and ordering delivery! That's how I spent my night last night, and it was perfect!

JenT1968 12-20-2013 05:57 PM

maybe if a relationship to the outdoors is what you're missing then exploring some of the well-worn rituals that people used to undertake in the dark winter months would be a source of up-lift-ment (i've decided that's a word).

e.g. "Bringing in the green" - stomp around your neighbourhood with secateurs to find ever-greens, collect them and adorn your home, research your local historical winter customs, what did people do at this time of year in your neck of the woods to stave away the winter?

the sun will return, and you'll be there to welcome it.

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