For now, I'm going to do a post that I have gotten multiple requests for!! That is, my handy dandy checklist I mentioned in this post . I call it "Sadness Burritos --> Happiness Muffins." It is a list I created in treatment that I can turn to when I am feeling depressed, anxious, or just generally unhealthy. Oddly enough, I am left brain dominant (I'm pretty even, but I tend to slightly favor my left brain) and I LOVE LISTS. I LOVE SCHEDULES. I LOVE PLANS. So just having the list in front of me and being able to put a check mark in the box next to a given activity gives me a thrill. I am an achiever and I love feeling like I have accomplished something. It also gives me motivation on depressive days where I feel like I have none. By the time I muster enough emotional strength to do one thing on the checklist, I am able to get on a roll and become a functioning member of society again!!
Let's turn those SADNESS BURRITOS into HAPPINESS MUFFINS (in 8 easy steps)!
These are the things on my checklist. A lot of people in the world would NOT find joy in scrubbing a sink. To each his own.
Make Music (sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, hopeless, lonely)
*extreme- Belt your FACE OFF!
Music is my drug of choice. When I'm anxious, sad, angry, or feel like a piece of poo, I can sing and play Angela and everything else falls away (that sounds very Natalie from N2N of me...). But seriously! When I'm feeling exceptionally emotional or angry, I go into the shower and just belt my face off. I don't care what it sounds like, or if I crack, or if I'm basically yelling "Astonishing" at the top of my lungs. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS!!
Go Outside (sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, hopeless)
Do a Yoga Practice (sad, hopeless)
Honestly, if I'm feeling more angry or frustrated and less sad, this doesn't help me as much. But generally speaking, yoga is one of my favorite things in life. You never feel bad after a yoga practice!
Work on an Art Project (sad, frustrated, hopeless, lonely)
You get bonus points for this one if you do an art project for a friend! The only thing I love more than making art is giving it away!
Clean (anxious, angry, frustrated)
*extreme - Find a sink and SCRUB IT
This one is good if you're feeling anxious and have a lot of pent-up energy. Don't take it out on your loved one, take it out on the GERMS!!
Read a Comfort Book (sad, hopeless, lonely)
*extreme - Unicorns of Balinor or The Marvelous Land of Oz (Childhood comfort books)
Everyone knows how much I love reading, and sometimes you just have to escape to your favorite childhood fantasy worlds (yes, my mom is shipping me my Unicorns of Balinor books and no, I couldn't be more excited).
Write it out (sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, hopeless, lonely)
Journal, blog, write poetry, write a letter to a friend, anything! Just get it out on paper!
Spend Time With Friends (sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, hopeless, lonely)
I start and end my list with my main 2: Music and People!! You will never regret going out and having a good time with friends. You will, however, regret staying in and stewing in your own depression.
Now, don't you feel better?
Make your own checklist and see how it helps you. One thing that tends to happen with depression is the feeling that self-care is a waste of time and unproductive. WRONG!! It is actually the most productive thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes, you have to put everything else on hold and read a fantasy novel, OKAY?! This is a valid use of your time, and if you need outside validation, please let me know what you come up with for your list and what you are able to accomplish. I would love to cheer you on and tell you you're doing a good job. Now let's feast on some happiness muffins!