Monday, September 28, 2015

one small thing // mystery prize monday


Today's Mystery Prize Monday is the first in a series we are writing this autumn called One Small Thing. The idea is to generate and accumulate a list of the pragmatic but inspired steps we can take towards a healthier, happier and more hopeful life.

I'm so curious as to how you will the answer these questions over the next few weeks. I believe the things we've come up with to take care of ourselves and to take care of the world should be shared. The more we notice and give credit to them, the more inclined we'll be to keep doing them.
I've been been having a hard time lately and I've forgotten my routines. Or maybe not so much as forgot, as I can't find the energy to do them, not even the smallest of things. I have become the master of excuses, as many of us do when we're struggling.

As an example, I've stopped going to coffee shops to work. I'm so much better off when I get out of the house and write in the company of other living beings, but I can't drink coffee anymore because I have IC.

Coffee fills me with pain and takes away my sleep, my ability to exercise, my ability to move at all. But I love coffee; I love the flavor and the smell and watching cream swirl into the cup, I love the sound of espresso beans grinding to dust and milk frothing and for thirteen years I've loved the hit of caffeine, the pleasant buzz that unmoors me from the harbor of morning and into the wild, uncharted day. 

Without it -and I know I sound like an addict- but without it, the day feels neither wild nor unchartered. It feels like one long sluggish late afternoon hour, 3pm maybe, that stretches from morning until bedtime. And I tell myself I should just work from home for one more day, because being around all that coffee, I'll end up just drinking it and poisoning myself and anyway, I'm not feeling so well, and it would take so much energy.

You see the excuses, as if I've completely lost trust in myself.

I started writing this blog seven years ago. 

Listen, it's not that I'm feeling so down because I can't drink a cup of coffee. I'm feeling so down because of things that are hard-hitting and vague at the same time, I'm not even entirely sure what they are. But without my three main lines of defense -coffee in the morning, a good beer in the evening, vigorous exercise in between- I'm not able to fight them off the way I once did.  

But I could still go to the damn cafe, couldn't I (although not my old favorite because that exploded with a sex scandal last week and now it's for sale, and it's no longer my favorite.) All I can drink now is mint tea but it's not nothing, it's still a reason to work outside of the house and walk four blocks in the light rain, and be grateful to breathe in fresh air, and listen to whatever music they're playing, and have a little dialog with the girl next to me when she asks to reach over and plug in her computer, and write without the distraction of the dishes or the dogs. Then I could walk home in the evening and be happy to be there, maybe kiss my husband at the door and then make dinner while listening to the radio.

Maybe tomorrow. Definitely, tomorrow. 

I started writing this blog seven years ago and I promised myself that I would write everything. So I am.
 For Mystery Prize Morning, tell us one small thing that you do to lift your spirits. Something tried and true that has always worked for you. Tell us now, because winter is on its way and other people might be interested to know. Tell me, so I might borrow it for the next few weeks or so. Tell yourself, so that you don't ever forget that it works. 

If this is your first Mystery Prize Monday, here's how it works. Leave a comment, and then help yourself to all the other comments that everyone else leaves. We have a good community right here. I'll choose the winner by randomly selecting from within the comments. The winner gets a hand written photo card, and a mystery prize package delivered right to their mailbox.

As always, I can't wait to hear what you have to say. I've really grown to love you.

To keep up with Mystery Prize Mondays, follow me on instagram @thewildercoast

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

I look for inspirationall posts like this one to find encouragement. I also pick up a #trashtag everyday from our environmwnt.

Steven Reinhold

Virginia Prescott said...

Journal writing, journal writing, journal writing. I tend to only write in my personal journal when my mind feels mucky and I feel angry and stuck but it helps every single time. It gives me an area to vent frustrations without worry of consequences and be completely honest and not worry about punctuation or run-on sentences. By the end my hand cramps but I feel so refreshed. Plus it is always fun to pick out a new journal, there are so many pretty ones.

amber said...

The easiest way I've found to lift my spirits is by making something so complicated, I can only focus on that thing. Whether it's knitting a complicated pattern or cooking an especially fancy meal, by focusing on the task at hand my tension melts away, and by the end of my endeavor I've made something. Profit all around.
Or I pick up my 17 lb monster cuddle bug cat and give him a nice long hug. His purrs are so nice and soothing.

Sarah Koznek said...

Lately I'm having a hard time too. I guess it's been a hard time since early August. Or maybe all the way back to April. Anyway, tomorrow I have a therapy appointment so I'm glad for that.

I started nursing school five weeks ago and when I'm not studying I'm often crying and feeling hopeless. The only thing that helps me feel better is exercise. Lucky for me, the weather is still quite nice in this mountain town I call home. So I can trail run, mountain bike, hike with the dogs... On days when I skip the exercise I feel like I'm going through withdrawals. Or maybe that's my anxiety. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Kate said...

A walk, every time. Fresh air and movement. Changing my focus to what's happening around me often helps me work out what's happening inside me as well.

Marie said...

After a really crappy day at work, I get to come home to my sweet little boy. He is 7 now, and gonna be taller than I am pretty soon, but even that won't keep me from pulling him onto my lap and kissing his squishy cheek until he giggles. Nothing makes me happier than his giggles.

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Work is hard. I strive for change but it seems so far off. Until change comes I'll make happy memories with a glass of red wine, a ghiradelli chocolate and snuggles with my two sweet kitties. Just about nothing in the world that a good snuggle with kitties can't cure.

EHW said...

I paint without thinking.

Lillian Keil said...

Podcasts. I love taking a walk around the neighborhood at night listening to Radiolab or Invisibilia or the Moth. Something about the endorphins + learning a little something (without the stress of school) really does it for me.

Casey Toby said...

I can't drink coffee either! It sucks! Maybe you could do decaf? Or, since you can definitely drink tea, find a cafe that specializes in teas and such. I know it's a chain, but Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has some great tea blends particularly their Moroccan mint tea, which has chocolate in it).

As far as what I do when I need a lift, I could say something fancy, but honestly what works best for me is going into the bedroom, laying out on my stomach, and snuggling with the dog(s) for a few minutes. I work from home, so it's easy and nice. Also, a cup of afternoon tea-taking the few minutes to take a break, and have the routine of making a cuppa helps as well.

jennt said...

I get intentional about drinking lots of water - I swear proper hydration helps a good amount of my mental doldrums. But mostly, the one thing I do is get out of my own way and do something for someone else. Like small stuff, pay for their coffee (or mint tea) at the drive thru, pay an extra toll on the highway, or pick a bouquet of flowers for a friends kitchen just because. Getting over myself by doing something for others is the one thing that always brings me back to center. And water.

Becca Studer said...

On my hour drive to work every day, I pass the beautiful lake Michigan in Charlevoix and Petoskey. Wonderful. To make the drive itself more bearable, the Dogma Debate podcast. Life is good (better).

Mary E. said...

I walk my dog around the pond at sunset and focus on being mindful. I look at the sky and notice the way the breeze ripples the water. It's a 15 minute nature therapy session. :)

Aimee LH said...

I don't know about you but all this rain lately has been doing a good job of giving me excuses. It's easy to be out when the sun is shining, but an entirely other thing when the clouds sit and stay for awhile.

My reset button gets pushed when I get out to antique or thrift stores. There's nothing like a good stroll through the soul-filled objects of those who lived before us.

Andrew Takahashi said...

I find something to genuinely laugh with. Sometimes it's a podcast (Comedy Bang Bang is truly my favorite thing to listen to) or reading a comedian's book (reading both of Mindy Kaling's books now) or re-listening to a stand-up set (Paul F. Tompkins' "Laboring Under Delusions" is a particular favorite of mine), or sometimes it's just finding a friend and just riffing about nothing for however long we can stand it.

Beth said...

I'm studying economics this semester and I find it so draining and soul-sucking. The only way I've found to make it through my readings is to do them at the beach. Every week I lug my textbook and course notes to my local beach and there, with the calming pull and flow of the sea, I manage to do the work without setting fire to anything.

It's about perspective, I think. Anything that can help us drag our eyes off our circumstances and onto the larger world. Our thoughts grow stagnant when left still for too long; they need coffee shops and people and beaches to stir them up again.

Rachel said...

Not for the first time, I feel like you've snatched the words straight out of my head and committed them to paper. My motivation has up and left and taken my joy right with it. I *know* in my head that exercise and fresh air cures a lot of emotional and mental angst, but it's hard to find the energy for that lately. So I read and get lost in a story, in another world, just for a while until I can face mine again.

adventurekate said...

I take a hot shower to reset, if I'm really feeling buggered up. Exercise always helps, but it's easier said than done to get out the door some days. A favorite song (like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EreqrpjJNw)and a quick, soul-loosening dance often does the trick.

Emery Tillman said...

In one of my classes it is all about getting inspired. One of the main things in our class is doing these thirty day challenges. This past month I have been doing a power pose for two minutes. Posing like this can chemically change your brain and make you feel more confident and over all better. So so far I've been rocking out like Wonder Woman for two minutes and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon I might even throw in some dancing.

Pam said...

My first comfort is prayer. After that I communicate with friends!! Be it by phone, text, email or whatever. They always make me smile and laugh and my spirits soar. I hug, kiss and hold my hubby. He is my strength and comfort. He's been through a lot with me and is always there when I need him and even when I don't.
The IC sucks! Sorry about the coffee withdrawal. Get hooked on tea!! Have a great day!! Take care.............

Michelle said...

MUSIC.
And the lake. The sky.
Love to you, dear.
xo

Vanessa said...

I stand outside, close my eyes and try to imagine I'm at the beach (works best on a breezy day). If I could I would live at the beach. Not the sandy touristy Florida kind, but the rugged wild Maine kind, though who am I to be picky. And I pray. And listen to a song called "Oceans" by Hillsong and "He knows" by Jeremy Camp. Especially "He knows".

Mia said...

I knit. It is very healing!

Erin Estella said...

happy music, late night walks, and creating art.

Jill said...

I listen to music and make myself sing along. The world looks so much brighter when it has a soundtrack. I do yoga, something I started two months ago and was one of the best decisions I ever made. My husband has even noticed the difference in my attitude. I close my eyes and picture my favorite little cove on an island off the coast of Ireland that we visited for our honeymoon. I get outside and sink my feet in the grass. I breathe really deeply, inhale and exhale. And then I do it again.
P.S. We love you too, Melina. <3

Melody said...

Twenty years ago when my children were 3, 6 and 9 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I can still remember that exact moment when I was told. My whole life changed. Some friends stayed and others showed their true colors and weren't there. My family become my priority. It always was, but it was so hectic and crazy. My husband of 30 years was and is my rock. I was so sick and he was both mom and dad. My babies are now adults and are so strong and compassionate. Cancer has taught me to see the beauty in little things. My son asking us to come visit him at college because he misses us, our puppy, my husband bringing me flowers, a full moon, my daughter making me a cup of tea. The world is full of many beautiful things if we just open our hearts and mind and see them.

PeaceHopeFaith said...

I've realized the harder I work, the better I will feel in the long run. Prayer walks/runs/hikes/meditation also helps me overcome challenges and stay motivated.

Elizabeth said...

Always? That's a lot to ask. But I suppose I've been down and up again, all life-like, to realize that this too shall pass. Even the onslaught of pictures of perfect couples and perfect babies, because I won't be single and 35 forever. Since my doggie passed away in July, I've realized how much I miss walking every day. It's hard to go out without him, but that's one small thing I'm trying to do on the days I don't work out--put a podcast on my headphones and stroll around, and I love it. Especially now that the fall leaves and sun are really really pretty!

Sarah-Kelly McGinnis said...

Prayer walks/runs/hikes/meditation is always a good way to clear your head and stay motivated.

Seneca said...

If it's sunny, I sip coffee on my front porch and make eyes at My. Rainer. If it's rainy? Kitchen dance party.

Kristin W said...

I go to dinner, lunch, a hike, ANYTHING with good friends. I listen and focus on them--try to be in the moment with and for them. Everyone has something going on, and it can be so nice to focus on someone other than me.

Wendy said...

I dip into a comfort read at random. Betsy-Tacy, The Long Winter, anything by Elizabeth Enright.

Cindy said...

I read fiction. It can't be depressing or too sad or on Oprah's book list. It will get me out of my head every single time. Having said that I can't remember the last book I read. Funny how hard it is to do something I know will make me feel better in the long run and something I enjoy.

Cindy said...

I read fiction. It can't be depressing or too sad or on Oprah's book list. It will get me out of my head every single time. Having said that I can't remember the last book I read. Funny how hard it is to do something I know will make me feel better in the long run and something I enjoy.

me said...

During an especially gripping what is the meaning of life phase, I read The Artists Way. In one chapter Ms. Cameron poses a series of questions, "Are you feeding yourself nicely? Do you have socks?..." A whole book on recovering creativity, and the advice that spoke to me was socks. It's hard not to feel comforted in the perfect pair of cozy socks.

Suzie said...

I get up early and watch the sun rise. I admit I do it with a cup of coffee in my hand, but hot chocolate works just as well. I sit curled up in my favourite blanket and watch the sun rise over the horizon while all my boys are still in bed. My eldest will join me for a cuddle cos he's an early riser but that quiet time on my own, peaceful and still is my favourite time and keeps me going for a good few days before I need another early morning. Sending big hugs to you, Melina.

Keely said...

Hot tea and getting to work early, just to chill out and feel prepared before the day hits like bricks.

Tara said...

Tidy the house. Light a candle. Fuzzy slippers & gown. Crochet. Good podcasts.

Liz Stout said...

Taking the time to make myself a healthy meal with good wholesome ingredients and then enjoying that meal ways makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I think it's the control that comes from cooking. It's never anything crazy, but when it's healthy and good it empowers me and I feel so good about life. There's something about ignoring the world and my cares while I prep the meal that is oh so satisfying; I'm always ready to tackle things anew once I've finished.

Sarah said...

II have two coping mechanisms....first, I kick something. Well, I almost always opt for a soccer ball, but it feels so good to let out any frustration I have when I connect my foot to the ball. I play three times a week, and its a great stress relief! My other is music, cranked up loud, accompanied by awkward dancing! Sometimes, I think my body just needs to MOVE without my brain having a say in what direction. Soccer feels instinctual, and music gives me that respite, too!

Hugs Melina! I hope that today, you have a great visit to the cafe!!

Karen said...

A few weeks ago I wrote a list of things that make me feel better. Yoga, running, journaling listening to great music, taking pictures. For now, I'm feeling pretty blah these days too, all I can handle off the list is lighting a candle each evening. That little flickering flame and the yummy smell of vanilla sugar cookie make me feel spoiled.

Alli said...

When I am having one of those days, I go back to what I know. Baking! I know what you're thinking and it's not about having a sweet treat at the end (although that helps) but it's something I can do without much thought or hesitation. There is something calming in measuring out the flour, scraping the top of the measuring cup with a butter knife to even it out....ahh. It's something that feels innate, like I've always known how to do it. Somehow, by the time the finished product is out of the oven, my life feels back in balance.

Abby said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I wonder if you've ever heard September difficulties explained like this: http://dooce.com/2011/09/29/autumnal-equinox/ ? I know you have many other things going on (especially health-wise), but I felt so relieved the first time I read that post. Like, thanks be to GOD that it's not just me who can't manage to function as summer turns to fall.

What's helped me this week is being militant about self care practices: in bed by 9, asleep by 10, up by 5:45 to get on the early bus, so that I don't have to share a seat and can get home while the sky is still a little light out. Also, yoga and chanting, guided meditation, and drinking mint tea (of all things).

carolyn said...

I have to get up and be productive early, I'm done by 3 pm. Cozy hot mugs of tea❤️ Morning workouts.

Ashley said...

Looking forward to something. Maybe it's something big like a trip or something as small as after - I eat this salad I get to have a piece of chocolate.

Danielle said...

I don't know if it's the shift in seasons, but I'm feeling some of those feelings myself. Getting in a good kettlebell workout or mountain bike ride used to be the way I recharged those icky thoughts in my head. Lately, I don't even have the energy to that.

My new "get out of my head" activity is: wine, cooking, and some Modest Mouse playing on the stereo. There's just something about sipping some red wine and listening to Isaac Brock's lispy lyrics, while making pesto chicken spaghetti squash, that is so relaxing to me.

Whitney said...

I take a shower, put on my cutest outfit, and blow-dry my hair. I know that seems terribly shallow, but when I'm having trouble motivating to do grown-up life, I find that at least looking the part helps me feel one step closer. Even if I'm totally overwhelmed by life, I can at least have good hair for a day, huh?

Cassie said...

Going for a walk with a dog or two is a cure all for me. every single time. It's also the hardest thing in the world to do when I'm not quite feeling like myself.

Keli said...

Cleaning and organizing always help me. I think when things are feeling chaotic and overwhelming it helps to focus on something I can control, the environment around me. The activity gets me up and moving and when I'm finished I can look at the results with a sense of accomplishment. Also, a nap ALWAYS helps!

Kate said...

well THIS will sound silly/shallow - sometimes my mini-escape is sitting down with my polish remover, new color and a good (e)book. A new coat on freshly filed/shaped nails, and a great novel to lose myself in while the nails dry...

Molly said...

Fresh air always lifts my spirits. Forcing myself to go out and GET said fresh air is another story, but man it makes a difference. In fact, I should go out for a walk now before it gets too hot, but I'm so comfy at home...

Amber Jackson said...

I drive down a windy back road with the windows down, enjoying the chilly breeze while horribly belting out "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. I am all about the cheesy pop music to feel better!

imjoyous said...

I read novels with strong female protagonists. Very specific, I know, but damn inspiring!

Anonymous said...

I put on wool socks and I make a cup of .....let's say tea....and I walk around the block three times without music, podcast, iphone, anything. I force myself to relax and think my own thoughts for a little bit without any blinky screens or distractions, anyone trying to get ahold of me. A break from the world. I hope you feel better soon. We love you too.

Jessie

Mom Starting From Scratch said...

Sewing something from repurposed material. It usually takes so little of my time, and I feel so satisfied afterward, that I wonder why I don't do it more often. I made a 5-strand braided headband for my 15 yr old yesterday from a t-shirt that was getting so thin and ratty that when I scratched underneath my arm I ripped a hole in it. Those kind of t-shirts make the BEST t-shirt yarn. :-)

Stephanie Abdon said...

I make two lists -- "to do" and "ta da" -- helps me feel accomplished and find joy in each day :)

kimalli1 said...

I'm taking a jewelry making class that my husband signed me up for after my lamenting about how much I would love to do something like that. It lifts my spirits to get away from the house for one evening each week and create something beautiful, and it lifts my spirits perhaps even more so to know that my doing so is a direct result of my husband really hearing me and making it happen.

Monique said...

A hot cup of coffee in a ceramic mug. A good run outside just me and the pavement. Being lost in a really good book even better if it is a series.

Lorri E. said...

A good run always seems to help but isn't always easy to motivate for. I try to remind myself that I have almost never said "Man, I really wish I hadn't gone on that run". And if that doesn't work, sometimes I just need to snuggle on the coach with my dog and a good tv show. A little distraction can work wonders. And damn that coffee, I'm on the wagon too for a while (off the wagon? I always forget which it is). Anyway, I miss that morning steaming cup too.

Hyacinth said...

I have been feeling particularly dreary lately (is it September?)...so, I made a list of some of the things that I want to do every day and I'm forcing myself to do at least two or three of them daily, even if it's for a few minutes. Here's my list, maybe it will inspire you as well :) Meditate, do yoga or pilates (at home with a video), practice French, play piano, read books, exercise, teach my dog a new trick or practice old tricks, eat fruit :) I can't do all of them every day, but even a couple of these a day helps tremendously...oh, and the most important one that kicks me out of my funk is going on a hike every single Sunday with my best friend, rain or shine, no excuses. Fresh air, mountains, and physical exercise (even if we feel like we're dying by the end) makes life so much more manageable.
Here's to all of us finding my joy in the little things in life :)

meg bird said...

"I promised myself I'd write everything." YES to that. How inspiring. To feel better, I take walks alone with my camera, preferably when the weather is particularly moody. I say the opposite of negative thoughts I have about myself to myself in the mirror in the morning. I've also been experimenting with morning pages (a concept from The Artist's Way), and they really do seem to un-clog all of my negativity and allow things to just flow through me as they ought. I've found that the key for me personally is to make time for my own well-being before the day even starts. It's the only way I stay sane.

Erin said...

One small thing: smudge with sage. Clears my funk right up. I do this daily. It's hygienic like brushing my teeth, but for my aura instead. No, really! Try it, you'll like it ;)

annika said...

#1 Getting outside, somewhere green.
Stretching, especially rolling on my back with my legs over my head, roly-poly.
Call a friend or relative, but not to gripe… tell them something nice that makes them feel good -- it sounds cheesy, but it feels so good to me too.
And, it always feels good to X things offa to-do list, but I love the ta-da! list idea above… gotta try that one!
Well OK, and if none of that feel good stuff works, also: I grit my teeth and make a terrible face and growl at myself in the mirror, and then laugh and feel a little embarrassed, but it sheds whatever I needed to shed to get on with things.

Rhett said...

So glad you're still writing everything.

Just going outside gets me feeling less funky. Sometimes I'm astounded by how hard that is to do but it works, every time. Hope you're feeling better soon. xo

Katie said...

I read anything: a novel that's comforting and I've read a zillion times, a poem I love, an article that makes me smile. Often I'll came to my favorite blogs (this one is definitely included in that) and look up old posts that touched me way back when. If that doesn't help, I get outside: read in the sunshine, go on a walk, drive my car with the windows down and music blasting, just so I can feel a breeze whipping through.

I hope you feel better soon, Melina. We really do all love you and this space you've created. I really enjoy reading through everyone's comments as well, and I'm storing them up for the dreary days ahead!

Marie said...

Podcasts and walking the dog without hurrying. Just enjoying the walk!

Jess said...

Going outside and taking a walk, even a short one Sometimes its so hard for me to do - getting two kids under 3 and a dog ready. But if I can get up the energy to do it, it always makes me feel better.

Sam said...

Being submerged in water and swimming. It literally washes away just about any murky mood. Now that it is fall, I have to bring myself to go to an indoor pool, but it isn't quite the same. Fresh air and walks and movement (if nothing else the gym works too). Being in company can help too refocus as well.
There is excellent tea out there, it helps to o develop a taste and ritual around it.

Jamie said...

I am over halfway done my accelerated nursing program and have experienced a wide range of emotions since its start - hopelessness, anxiety, stress, stress, stress, excitement, wonder, etc. One thing that is stressed throughout our education is self care and taking time for ourselves. I have found that beyond exercise, sleep and healthy eating, I try and watch a funny TV show when I'm feeling especially low. Some of my favorites are the Mindy Project, and especially Friends! Anything that makes me laugh out loud by myself usually does the trick!

Ann said...

Watch anything that pops up on youtube under the search "surprise present." Makes me laugh and cry and feel so much better.

Kristen said...

Yoga...I leave my mat unrolled in my living room because when I'm having a hard time I make excuses. I turn on Dark as Night by Medicine for the People and just let me body move and flow any way it wants. The song is over 8 minutes long and by the time it's done I usually feel a litter better, a little more light and a lot more relaxed.

If that doesn't work, I deploy the old trick my mom taught me when I was little kid.
Punch a pillow!! :)

Susan Spaulding said...

Goodwill, Value Village and St. Vincent de Paul have saved my bacon many times over. I'm not that much into "retail therapy." It's just that--and this is going to sound silly--thrift shopping helps me readjust my self-talk from "everything in my crappy little world is total crap" to "Oh, hey! This has potential!" I don't even have to buy anything. It's just going into a place where there are piles of tools that I could bodge together to make things work, whatever comes my way, lifts my spirits. It isn't long before godhelpme turns into a can-do attitude with a little retro funk thrown in for good measure.

Elizabeth Q said...

Books, always. Julian Barnes, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen; book friends are the best friends.

Jen from MN said...

Eat the frog, as Mark Twain said. Always makes me feel anew.

Erin said...

I stop at the pet store and ask if they will open the ferret cage for me!
It's hard to be down while watching those sweet things play and bounce around.

Ashley D said...

This was such a good question! It really made me stop and think about what I do. For me it's definitely to take a walk. Something about being outside and moving clears my head and I end up feeling better and lighter.

Ariel said...

I get myself outside. Even a walk around a block or two with the dog makes me feel better. I try to accomplish a small task or two - if I'm in a funk, sometimes it helps to tackle an unpleasant chore (I'm blue anyhow, why not get something done now and not waste a good mood later on it - plus, being able to check something off the list makes me feel better). When all else fails, a nap almost always helps. :)

Jessica said...

Going outside. Recently, there's been so much heart ache in my home that it's bursting at the seams with sadness and questions. There have also been long stretches where I can't seem to remember the last time I left the house besides to take Kade to the bus at the front steps. Sometimes, I have to strap the baby into the stroller and get the hell out of dodge; even if it's pouring rain and windy. Sometimes I walk to the Safeway and buy a special treat and share it with Ezra at the park. Sometimes we walk around the block and go back inside. But always, outside helps and I feel so grateful and recharged afterwards.

And sometimes, I make myself a box of Annie's macaroni and cheese and watch Grey's Anatomy until 2AM, crying at all the thrill and shrill of it. It's all about balance. ;)

Love you Lina.

Aimee said...

start small. for me sometimes even showering every morning is hard. i set reminders on my phone and hubby reminds me to take care of myself. often once im up and showered the smoothie making and exercise follows.
small steps though.

A Place You've Never Been said...

I'm sorry. I was recently in a health related funk and it sucks. I make mix "tapes"(I can't cant them anything but that, though tapes are long gone) for my friends on the other side of the country. I love every bit of the process, from thinking about songs they would like, to dreaming up the perfect order so that each song will be showcased perfectly, to remembering the places and times those songs created memories for me, to imagining the memories my friends will make listening to my mix. The process is utterly absorbing and joyful. Getting mix tape of music in the mail from someone who loves you is the BEST kind of dinosaur gift and giving one is twice the awesomeness!

Lee Timmons said...

When I feel like sitting around the house rather than doing what I know is best for me, I think to myself "act the way you want to feel". And when things are really tough and nothing makes sense and I'm angry and sad and want to hibernate and yell at people who love me, I think to myself, repeatedly, "be someone you admire". I admire strength and kindness and compassion and selflessness. Which is you and me when we want to be! Hang in there girl, we'll get through these tough times. Love you.

Leona said...

When I feel down I have some tried-and-true ways of bringing my smile back.... I snuggle my cats, I pound on the piano, I reread a favorite book (or two or three), I call a friend just to say hi, I try a new recipe that will be too much for just me to eat and then I invite a friend over to help eat it or share it at work or just say to heck with it and eat leftovers all week, I get outdoors even if it's just sitting on my balcony in the sun, and sometimes all I can do is think positive silver-lining thoughts that my life is good for 1,2,3... reasons.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts/life through your blog. Another thing that brings me a smile are is your blog with your photos and inspiring words.

Tage said...

I got stuck on bedrest because my dumb body is always being dumb so I can't do any of the things I would usually do that always cheer me up (outdoors, yoga, playing with the dogs, head to a friends house). I have no idea what to do, actually, and I really need to figure something out because I'm not holding it together with very much class or grace. Maybe reading through these comments will spark some new way of helping me cope. Hopefully.

Rachel Zacher said...

When I am having the gloomiest of days it is always best I take a drive. Spending some time in the car can do a world of good. I drive somewhere beautiful where I can see something beautiful, shed a few (or a lot) of tears, and have some time alone. Right before I turn around, I make sure to get out of the car and spend some time exploring a place that is new and exciting (even if it is just a field).

Theresa said...

I pick a fun song and I dance. Maxwell's Silver Hammer is a favorite. As is I'm Blue by Eiffel 65 (I know, I know...). Ice Ice Baby. I'm Sexy and I Know It. There are just so many... But the trick is to turn the music WAY UP and just dance, dammit.

If I'm not feeling overly dance-y I will light some candles and draw a bubble bath while I listen to Iron and Wine radio on Pandora and read a good book. If you're short on good books to read I highly recommend Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, or White Oleander by Jane Fitch. There are more, but those are my top two picks when it comes to recommendations.

Sometimes when the household chores leave me particularly overwhelmed and I want to do exactly none of them, I will put on the music my mother liked to play when she was preparing to entertain guests. REM, Crash Test Dummies, Four Non-Blonds, and The Cranberries never cease to illicit the memory of Murphy's Oil's musky scent permeating the hardwood floors, or the vision of my mother sitting at the kitchen table, casually tearing apart pieces of stale bread to concoct her famous stuffed shells. So I listen and am inspired and I find myself enjoying the tranquil hum of the running dishwasher and clothes dryer and I might even be so inspired that I dust - DUST! - or mop my floors. And at the end I have a clean house and a feeling of zen about me.

And on days when I can't seem to beat the sluggishness, even if I have nowhere to go, a simple shower with some primping lifts my energy level. I take time to blow dry my hair and put in my contact lenses. If I'm feeling exceptionally down I might even experiment with some new fangled hairdo or a bit of mascara. Just the act of preparing for the day as if I'm planning to do anything other than mill around the house, it motivates me to DO. BE. CREATE.

And when all else fails, I let myself enjoy it. I don't put pants on. I tangle myself in sheets and blankets and doze off and on in between bowls of ice cream and reruns of television shows that were never very good to begin with. Because sometimes you just need a damn day. And that's okay too.

K-Lowe said...

My pick me up is in the rhythm and beats and harmonies of my favorite playlists on my ipod. Whether its rocking out to pop, or soaking in the more melancholy, there's nothing like a soundtrack to inspire or pump me up. Its even better when accompanied by a long scenic drive.

Jaim said...

A walk, always a walk! It does wonders on changing ones perspective. I hope you feel better soon and that you find something even better than coffee!

Jaim

Anonymous said...

Just reading that makes me feel a lot less alone, so thank you.

Erin Macauley said...

I walk. When I feel paralyzed or overwhelmed, wound so tight I can hardly speak, I walk. Somehow the walking unravels it all and reminds me that I am not alone.
You are not alone. We all see you. XO

Melissa N said...

I go for a 10 minute walk around my neighborhood with my iPhone and a goal of taking a single snap of something beautiful or interesting. This morning it was a cluster of poison ivy that has started to turn a glorious shade of yellow. So beautiful but such an oxymoron. Made me appreciate how perspective is so dependent on circumstance.

Stacy Monaghan said...

I am having trouble choosing just one thing I do to lift my spirits, because they don't all fit when my spirits are down! In the summer/fall I go for a bike ride if the weather is nice, or a cross-country ski in the winter. If I'm at work and don't have that option I will find a friend to go get a treat with - donuts help all sagging spirits! And sadly, like a true addict, I sometimes grab a coke... because life is better with a little caffeine!

Hope you were able to get to that cafe at least one day this week. And that it lifted your spirits!

Kristin said...

To lift my spirits, I need to feel useful. Usually I make a good plan or a quick list and start knocking things off one by one. Or, I try to do something I know I'm good at and probably can't mess up - like baking. If all else fails, I check out the Humans of New York Facebook page or Google search pictures of kittens. Works like a charm. Hang in there, hun. You've got this!

Craftysquirrel said...

I take a bath if the weather is bad, if it is good I go outside - even just sitting outside in the porch with a cup of tea is enough to make me feel better - exercise though is the best mood enhancer for me:)

Sarah Andersen said...

I get up early, turn off my phone, light some incense, pour a cup of something warm, sit in a comfy chair and just watch the world, listen to the birds, allow all my thoughts to pour out out of my head. At the end of the hot cup of whatever, the rest of the universe has started to wake up, too. That's when I find the most peace.

Jackie said...

I talk to my husband. Who honestly and sadly isn't a great listener! And then I call my BFF. And then I call another BFF. And then I text someone. And by the time I've repeated my woes 4 times I realize I sound ridiculous, because I hear that all 4 other people have crap going on in their lives, too. And I can't whine about moving back to Montana (Butte) because it's all I've talked about wanting to do for 3 years!

Katie said...

I like to bake. It makes the house smell good and warms it up, too. Then, so I can still button my pants - or at least not have my sweat pants feel too tight - I give most of it away. My grandma's apple squares are my current go-to recipe for the Fall.

Ici said...

It always comes back to walking in the woods with the dogs. Their joy makes it impossible for my spirit not to soar.

Lori Delgado said...

I'm late to the game, purposely, because I've tried shutting off some of the internet distractions this week. But, I wanted to share. I do something for my family. From as small as emptying the dishwasher, and wiping the counters, to baking or cooking a great meal. I love doing something small for my family. It relaxes me, makes my house look nicer, and my daughter and husband truly appreciate it.

Ania said...

being (active) outside in nature is the only thing that really helps me.

Maria said...

I have a few quotes that keep popping up in my head when I am down - not because I want to or actively try to bring them up, but because they have resonated with me so deeply that I have carried them around for years and ESPECIALLY when I am down, they pop up and remind me about who I am.

“It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it.”

Jon Krakauer.

Then there's also a quote from Steve Jobs I often ask myself in the mornings: "If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I am about to do today?" (And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change.)

These quotes remind me to take care of myself. They encourage me to do what I want, even if it that something seems silly or if my family argues / cautions me against it. Because in the end, so far it has almost always turned out that when I do what seems right to me, stuff works out and I get happy. And when I get happy, everything works out.

Sri said...

As someone above me said- I like to make plans. I make up projects with official sounding names like "project get back on track, "project stability" or "project stop whining". This quickly becomes an experiment and so takes the pressure off being "perfect" and removes fear of failure. Even if the items on your list fail you as project manager can say hey this isnt working we need to change the strategy and you feel less of the failure as an individual because you are now part of a larger project.

reneechristine said...

I was diagnosed with chronic IBS this summer and can't have coffee anymore either! The withdrawals from caffeine made dealing with a chronic illness so much harder. I'm doing better now, but it's still hard. I've found that reading, watching Friends on netflix, boyfriend snuggles, acupuncture, and eating as much fiber as possible helped the most.