Girlfriend, it’s March! That means #FightingFebruary2016 is over! Bye-bye, seasonal depression.
If you’ve been with me for any or most of the past month, you understand my excitement. And as promised, today I’ll be chatting about what made this year the best February ever.
A little bit of history…
As backstory, I’ve struggled with depression for most of my adult life. About ten years ago I began noticing a trend where February was especially miserable and I began to dread this month. There’s nothing magical about the actual 28 or 29 days that make up the month, but most of my emotional meltdowns and freak-outs tend to happen then.
Over the years I experimented with different treatments: vitamin D, 5-HTP, light boxes (can you say insomnia?), and last year I created and posted one Zentangle each day. Many of these things—especially the Zentangle—helped, but there were still meltdowns.
My game plan for 2016…
This year, I knew I was starting from a better place due to a change in medication. I also wasn’t as hormonal and fragile (read: pregnant) as last year. But I still wanted a plan in place because I could feel the greyness seeping into my soul.
I started out planning to track the month through blogging and using that as my motivation to search for goodness each day. However, I didn’t think about how much mail that would add to your inbox, dear subscribers. <3 (Side note: I’m working to create a digest—more to come on that soon.)
On day three, my friend Laura asked if I’d checked into the bullet journal link from an article she’d sent me. She followed up by sending a video, and Pandora’s box opened.
Resources that came my way…
As I looked into the bullet journal—and I’m not going to lie: the arty-ness of it is what initially grabbed me—I started devouring Kara’s blog, Boho Berry. Kara kept mentioning The Miracle Morning in her posts. It sounded like a lot of hype, but I decided to give it a try and downloaded it to my Kindle.
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Tuesday, February 9 I jumped out of bed before my alarm, eager to do my first “miracle morning.” I plan to touch on this routine in full during a later post, but for now, it’s all about starting your day with the six Life S.A.V.E.R.S.:
- Silence (prayer or meditation)
- Scribing (journaling—the crazy things we do for an acronym 😉 )
Due to my commitment to read every morning, I finally finished Brené Brown’s book I Thought It Was Just Me. It also seemed that each day I discovered new bloggers who encouraged me in my journey toward my goals, not to mention getting me past my traditional February slump. Every day I got up and tackled my list, excited about what I might learn and accomplish that day.
Since Christmas or so, My Guy had been asking why I no longer helped the Little Butt practice independent playtime each morning. It doesn’t take long for things to sink in with me—just 30-60 days, give or take. Knowing how much I thrive on a schedule, and how much it helped our home in the past, I began structuring our days at home something like this:
- 5:30-7 My time alone
- 7:00 Get the kids up (as if they’re not already awake), dressed, and fed. Read our Veggie Devos together.
- 8:15 Independent playtime. This is where the Butt plays in his room with his favorite band on the iPod (did we listen to bands as three-year-olds?), and the Miss plays in her crib with her favorite toys. And this is when I scramble to do all. the. things.
- 9:00 Naptime/art time/SNACK TIME (priority #1: keep the blood sugar up), and I continue working as much as I’m able.
- 10:00 My work morning is over, other than errands.
- 1:00 Naptime begins and my blogging hours commence
- 3:00 All bets are off!
- 10:30 Unless it’s a work night or date night, I try to be in bed by 10 or 10:30.
There are so many benefits to this schedule in our house. First of all, my kiddos are happier. While the Little Butt is definitely an extrovert, he needs his alone time. Some days he doesn’t even want to leave his room because he’s content in his world of Legos and Matchbox cars and TobyMac. The Little Miss gets to practice having her own space and not being overly pampered. Plus, she isn’t riled up right before her morning nap. And on top of all that, I know I have almost two hours to hustle and work. This removes so much frustration from my day.
What choices benefited me most?
First of all, at the risk of sounding like I drank the Kool-Aid, I’d say my decision to purchase and implement The Miracle Morning had the greatest impact on my success. This was the catalyst for a consistent wake-up time (something I’ve wanted to commit to for f-o-r-e-v-e-r) and routine. I also began limiting my TV time and (tried to limit my) sugar intake.
The commitment to have a micro-goal each day—posting to Instagram or the blog—lit a fire under my feet and kept my eyes open and me growing. Discussing my goals with others and choosing to have an accountability partner also kept me on track.
Not every moment of every day was amazing. Last week I almost broke my no-cry record just four days before reaching the finish line. Extending grace to myself was key, and sometimes that actually meant choosing to watch TV or take a nap.
Thoughts on this win…
Last Saturday night I told my friend Elizabeth about what an emotionally successful month this has been. I said how I didn’t feel like I could fully celebrate this big win in my life because I’m sure a portion of my success is thanks to my medication. As I rambled on, she shook her head at me.
“No, this is a win,” she said. “Look at it this way. Imagine you’re out driving in the snow or ice, spinning your wheels as you try to go forward. So you go out and throw some kitty litter around the tires. It gives you the traction you need to get moving in the right direction. But are you any less of a driver because you used the kitty litter?”
Lightbulb moment. I’m no less successful because of the “kitty litter” in my life; I’m smart—using the tools available to create the traction I need to accomplish my goals. This is hands down the best perspective I’ve ever encountered surrounding the topic of medication.
So long, February…
#FightingFebruary2016 is a huge gold star in my book. As I wrote in my journal yesterday, I fought February and won. Now it’s on to the next adventure. I’m ready. Are you?
Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this ridiculously long post. 🙂 Happy March, my friend!