Back to the Basics

I have been in much better spirits recently as the result of going back to the basics in order to restore my emotional equilibrium.  For me, going back to the basics entails:

  • Taking my medicine as prescribed
  • Slowing down and paying attention to my body’s ques
  • Eating with mindful awareness and making sure healthy food choices are available while also allowing for the occasional treats
  • Resting when I begin to feel overwhelmed
  • Providing a pleasant, comfortable environment in which to sleep
  • Gently exercising, without putting too many expectations on myself
  • Reading books or stories that are uplifting and provide support
  • Writing and journaling about my feelings
  • Letting go of things that causes stress
  • Allowing myself to make mistakes and be imperfect
  • Making room for and spending time with the special people in my life
  • Doing nice things for myself, like going to a movie, looking at pictures of my grandchild, or snuggling up on the couch with our dog and cat, with a cup of hot chocolate

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  • Doing something creative, like baking, writing, or putting up Christmas decorations
  • Being around people who make me laugh, or watching a funny show
  • Removing myself from situations that make me uncomfortable
  • Keeping commitments to a minimum except for activities that will aid in my healing process

When one is in a dark place, it is hard to imagine ever feeling better again.   Feelings of doom can overcome a person in the middle of the night, when it isn’t clear if one will ever see the sun rise again.  Yet the sun does rise, every day, without any effort on our part.  The only effort that we need to take is to clear away the obstacles that keep us from seeing it.

It doesn’t seem fair that what some people take for granted can seem like an overwhelming task for someone with a mental illness.   It doesn’t seem fair to have to put in so much extra effort to maintain one’s equilibrium.  Yet it is worth it to put forth whatever effort is necessary in order to be able to see what is already there in front of us — the beauty in life that is hidden when we are stuck behind clouds of despair and believe there is no hope.

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