It has been quite some time since I last did a victories post, since last year in fact. A big part of why I didn’t is because I haven’t been writing as much lately, what with all the challenges I had in December. So, let’s dive on in!
- First of all, and the biggest celebration in today’s list, I’ve been able to be more in touch with my body and any depression/anxiety symptoms that might start popping up. Earlier this month, I started having an anxiety attack, and I knew why it was coming. I was overtired, had pushed myself really hard for a couple of days in a row, and was trying to do too much. So, I felt it coming on, the flushed feeling starting deep in my guts, the racing heart, the nausea. Knowing what it was, I tried to not panic or tense up, since that would just make it worse. Once I was able to get to bed, when I felt my heart start racing again, I laid there and literally said, “yes, body, I know I’m really tired, and I pushed myself too hard on not enough sleep. I’m trying to rest, so please stop pulling the emergency brake!” I know it seems strange to talk to your own body, but, at the same time, I know that, right now, my mind and body are in a transitional phase of this whole journey, and I’ve noticed that, lately, symptoms like this have been cropping up when I start ignoring my physical or emotional needs. So, I figured hearing myself acknowledging my needs might provide enough of a distraction to let me relax enough to sleep, and it worked.
- Caffeine. I’ve been mostly caffeine free since mid-December, when I noticed it was making the anxiety worse. The only source of caffeine I’ve had since then has been green tea. One positive side effect of this is that it is really reiterating my need to get sufficient sleep every night. I can’t just mask my tiredness with a large Diet Coke from McDonald’s on my way to work in the morning.
- Self-care. I’ve been prioritizing self-care, and not just in the “bubble baths” sort of way, though baths are on my list. Rather, I’ve been using the GRAPES acronym to make sure I’m covering the major bases. I heard about GRAPES from my first therapist, and I’ve incorporated them in a spread in my new bullet journal for the year (and I’m thinking of putting together a post on my bullet journal, and how I’m incorporating mental health in it this time around pretty soon). GRAPES stands for: Gentle with self, Relaxation, Accomplishment, Pleasure, Exercise, and Social. (nb – since publishing this post, I’ve learned that GRAPES was developed at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital). I’ve found the more I’m mindful of covering the different areas of self care, the better I feel in general.
I’m sure there are more things I can celebrate, however, it’s been a long couple of days. I’m currently helping my mom recover from a knee replacement, which has given me a really good opportunity to work on balancing giving care and acknowledging my own limits/practicing self-care.
In the interest of acknowledging my own limits and practicing self-care, I’m planning on writing as often as I can. That said, I am not planning on going back to the rigid structure of posts every Friday, though I do want to work on putting up posts more frequently. I hope you all, my small family of readers, will have patience with me as I figure out how often I can and will update. As I mentioned to my therapist the other day, with all the new skills I’ve been learning, it feels like I’m learning how to be myself all over again.
What area of self-care do you want to focus on this week?