If you’ve been following my past few posts, it’s been pretty clear that I’ve been struggling. Struggling with keeping on top of my healthy habits, struggling with keeping up with my writing, struggling against the pulls of the constant undertow of depression. Well, I’m over it. I’m tired of struggling, tired of reacting to my battle, tired of feeling like I’m always reactive, always waiting for a better time to start over. Especially with that unexpected bout of reflux last week (which has thankfully subsided again), I’ve been reminded again that expecting change without being willing to sacrifice for it will generally result in stagnation.
So, a decision. Since the “one step at a time” method worked so well as we started our family rosary, I decided that it’s a good route for making other changes in my life. Small, or smaller steps are probably easier, and more successful, than trying to change everything all at once, even though there are a lot of areas I want to change.
One area I’ve really been getting frustrated with is food. I’ve wanted to get back to meal planning, eating to meet my goals, and not always going out to eat, but I kept making excuses or succumbing to inertia. However, last weekend, hubs and I took steps to plan out healthy dinners for each night, and we’re getting back “on plan” using WW, since it’s a familiar route that works well for us. We got groceries, and committed to following our plans. I know that eating right helps support some of my other healthy habits, and, overall, I feel better about myself when I am more cognizant of what and how much I’m eating.
Part of why I’ve decided to start on the food front is because it’s something I can do with hubs, which is helpful for the added support. Also, even though I’m not going to bed as early as I’d like on a regular basis, more often than not, my sleep is at least close to, if not in, my “butter zone” of 7-9 hours a night. The activity and outside time have struggled, it’s true, but I know those will be far easier to get to fall into place as my sleep and eating improve, especially since the weather is cooling off again.
Writing has also been a struggle. I haven’t been doing as much journalling, haven’t been putting in as much work on this blog, and haven’t been working on as many writing exercises and personal writing projects lately, either. I’ve been, for lack of a better phrase, rather lump-ish in the evenings. I should have a daily/more days than not writing habit right now, which I was doing well at until the end-ish of August. I realized last weekend (yes, it was a weekend of realizations) that part of what I’m struggling against is knowing what specifically I’d like to work on, writing-wise. My first passion is poetry, but I feel so very rusty with it. I haven’t seriously worked on my poetry in over a decade. The other genre I studied in college was creative non-fiction (mostly essays), but, again, I haven’t seriously pursued it in a long time, probably since college over a decade ago. There’s always fiction, which is appealing, but I feel a bit at a disadvantage, since I don’t have much of a background in the structure and craft of fiction; I like writing it because I like reading it. Finally, there’s the idea of a memoir. I like the idea, a lot. I struggle with the same self-doubt there as I do with my blog: who would want to read about my story? It’s not like I’m famous or anything.
Despite all that, I want to at least start thinking about what I want to write, what I want to say. As a first step there, I went back to the library (where I found that awesome book I reviewed) and checked out a book of poetry and a book of essays. Maybe reading these, two of my first loves in writing, will help inspire me and help me figure out what sorts of projects I want to be working on. One thing is for sure, though – I will NOT be doing NaNoWriMo this year, or even thinking about it. As productive as it can feel in the moment, each time I’ve done it in the past, I’ve not gone back to my story, and I’ve written even less after the month than I had been before it.
I feel like I’ve got a decent game plan, but I’m not going to lie, or use a rosy paintbrush to cover the reality of where I’m at right now. If it weren’t for therapy and my meds, and all the tools I’ve been learning, I’d probably be in a far worse place than I am now. That said, I’m not out of the grasp of depression, and my depression has not been unaffected by what’s been happening lately. To be frank, I have been struggling. I didn’t backslide as far as I could have, as far as I would have a year, or even 6 months ago, but there is definite work to do to get back to where I’d like to be. Being gentle with myself doesn’t give me carte blanche to ignore all the other avenues and aspects of self care. Right now, self care might look like challenging myself and pushing myself to do things I don’t want to do in the moment (like going for a long walk or getting up early to maybe get back to doing my makeup) in order to have more long-term success. I’m quite aware of the fact that I’m regularly and repeatedly calling out game plans for reestablishing some sort of balance or routine in my day to day life. My instinct is to apologize for the repetition, but I won’t. I’m not perfect, and I won’t pretend to be. And, if being honest with my struggles, and hitting “publish” on entry after entry, each with a new game plan helps someone else who is struggling and wants to give up because they couldn’t keep on their game plan, then it’s worth it.
And so, another week, another game plan, and another step down the winding path. So far this week, I feel pretty good about where I’m at, and I’m cautiously hopeful that I can find a new rhythm to my day-to-day life.
Do restarts excite you or challenge you? Do you prefer big changes or small steps?