I feel my best when

I've previously talked about depression during pregnancy here on the blog.  Since I hit a low during my pregnant and postpartum phases with my first, I had to take measures to ensure I had it under control during this pregnancy.  Originally, this meant therapy and prescriptions, but I'm happy and relieved to say that with work on my part, I haven't needed to resort to either of those options during this pregnancy.  (I'd like to note, I've made use of both options in the past, and they helped tremendously when I needed them.)

To be perfectly honest, I think our move is in large part to thank for my dwindling depression (and anxiety).  Tim's work hours aren't nearly as insane which has taken pressure off me.  The city isn't nearly as chaotic, family is close by, and we're able to spend more time as a family even if that means a simple outing to the park.  Since having Ella, these are the things I've learned I need to raise a family as happily as I can.

That being said, I still have bad days.  I've noticed and incorporated things into my day to ensure I feel the best I can.  If I'm feeling off, or down, or I'm in a couple-day-funk, I ask myself if I've been slacking in any of these areas.

Walking.  Portland has been crazy hot this Summer.  Seriously.  Heat advisories comin' out the wazoo. So it's been a bit of a challenge to get out every day for a walk.  But lately I've made a point to get up early and take Ella out for a 30 minute stroll.  If I fail to rise and shine with the sun, we make a point to go out after dinner for a family walk.  Even it's around the block to the mailbox, getting outside and getting my body moving is key in lifting my mood.

Cleaning.  With Tim working from home and making most meals from scratch, the sink loads up fast, and it's easy (at least for me) to let it go throughout the day.  I feel my best when the dishes are done, the counters are wiped, and the floor is swept.  So if I'm feeling particularly down, I'll make a point to clean the kitchen.

Reading.  Something I've really cherished since I made the switch to at-home mom life is my reading time.  When I had a strict 9-5 working schedule, I found myself wanting to do nothing except lounge over some Netflix at the end of the day.  Since my schedule is now entirely different, I can put Ella down for a nap and pick up a book for a half hour.  It's a calming and rejuvenating part of the day, especially if my mood is suffering.

Writing.  Blogging has been a part of my daily routine for over a year now, so when I don't take some time out of the day to tend to that part of me, I feel off.  Sitting down to write is what refreshes and drives me, so making sure I get some writing time in is key to keep my mood uplifted.

Staying connected.  Tim working from home is a huge blessing, but one that needs to be kept in check.  When working from home it's easy to have work and home lives overlap.  On those off days, I reflect on what the day and week has been like.  If it's been particularly chaotic, I make sure to suggest we go out for an afternoon pick-me-up and take some time to reset.  This always lifts my mood.

Having a plan.  Sometimes external things are to blame for depression and anxiety - finances, relationships, family difficulties, etc.  For me, finances can be a real trigger.  (With both anxiety and depression it's important to recognize your triggers.)  Recently, Tim and I sat down and talked about what our life will look like in five years if we keep up our current budgeting habits and lifestyle.  It put our lives into perspective, made the hard work seem more than worth it, and gave me focus and huge relief.


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