Yesterday I woke up raring to take on 2017 with a vengeance. I had my list of all of the things I was going to do to turn my life around and feeling ready to take on the world. I got up and started going about my day. It didn’t take long before my old pal Depression started to creep in. It started snowing and I tried to just roll with the punches but as the snow started to come down and blanket the world in 50 shades of white I couldn’t fight the feelings of disappointment and failure that bubbled up to the surface. I had plans to run 5 miles, dammit! By 11:00 yesterday morning I found myself crying on my husband’s shoulder for god-knows what reason. I couldn’t tell you what was really even wrong with me. That’s when I realized that nothing had changed. I woke up and it was a new day but I still had the same problems. The same brain chemistry.
I realized I was depressed when I started toying with the idea that I should take a break from social media. This for me is a big red flag. I isolate myself when I’m depressed, which is the worst thing I can do. As soon as I figured all of this out I realized that I needed to change my approach. I decided to scrap the long list of things to do to and focus, instead, on what I have been doing for a couple of months. Something that I learned from going to therapy. I will share it with you:
G: be Gentle with yourself. Remember to practice self compassion!
R: Relaxation. Try to practice 5-10 minutes of relaxation every day (mindfulness, meditation, hot bath, etc)
A: Accomplishments. At the end of the day list two accomplishments, remember there is no such thing as an accomplishment too small!
P: Pleasure. Do something you enjoy everyday: watch the sunset, favorite movie, spend time with a loved one, do a craft.
E: Exercise. Try to get in a few minutes of exercise daily. Exercise the body and brain!
S: Socialize. Do not isolate. Reach out to a friend or a loved one.
I got all kinds of great tools when I was seeing the therapist, but GRAPES was the thing that helped me the most because it is easy to remember and there is always something there to work on. I love it. So this is my plan for 2017. If I manage to do anything else that will be icing on the cake, but I am think I’m ditching the long to-do list.