Filling My Own Cup This Winter

I have depression and anxiety. You know that if you’ve read PBW for very long, I’m not shy about it. Winter isn’t great for me. December is full of anxiety triggers like crammed stores and social obligations. January’s not so bad, it’s just harder to do really anything at all. I’m often walking to and from work in the dark, or at least only partial sunlight. February is the worst, though. Everything is wet, cold and dark. I tend to find myself just tired most of the time. I can’t feel happy about things I usually love and I don’t have any patience for things that go wrong. Things that wouldn’t faze me in August bring me to tears in February.

Over the years I’ve learned how to deal with these February feelings and my issues in general. Here’s what I’m doing this year to help me out.

Keep writing

Writing has always been my saving grace. If I’m having a crappy day writing makes me feel better. It helps me get out of my own past, keeps me from worrying about the future.

Writing also makes me feel like I’ve gotten something accomplished. If I don’t feel like I’m getting something done, I feel depressed. As though I’m lazy and worthless. If I managed to get a chapter done, or edit a few pages, I feel like at least I did something.

Work on projects I’m excited about

I’ve got a lot to be excited about this year. I’m eager for Steel City Con and my book signing tour. I’m excited about the comic book project and the new business I’m helping my friend build. Even though it’s hard to be excited about anything when I’m down, working on those projects help. It also helps that I’ve got partners on two of these projects. Other people counting on me gets me moving like nothing else.

I don’t miss work

Because if I do miss work, I feel guilty. Guilt leads to more depression. While I’ve been sure in the past that I needed a mental sick day, I always felt worse for it, not better.

Walk my dog

Look, I freaking hate being cold. Hate it more than anything else. My hands just hurt when they’re cold. So do my joints. I’m only 30, damn it, I shouldn’t hurt like this.

This pain discourages me from going outside in the winter. It’s not so bad when I’m out there, but trying to get my ass out is torture. It’s easier now that we have Oliver. He’s so happy when we take him out, it’s infectious. He makes me happier to be outside. And the sunlight always helps when I’m down.

Play with my kids

I spend a lot of time teaching my kids to be adults now. I harp on them about their school work and chores. I don’t spend as much time as I would like just spending time with them. When I’m down like this, I try to make sure that I just play with the kids. I’m starting to think that at least one of my girls has the same sort of issues that I do. It’s never too early to teach them self care.

Focus on my date nights

One of my personal revolutions this year has been to have date nights with each member of my family once a month. I take the girls out shopping or to a coffee shop. The darling husband and I have been going out to dinner or to trivia nights at a great barbecue place. Having those dates to look forward to has really helped me.

Keep the house picked up

Everything is just a little bit harder when I’m depressed. Getting dressed, sitting down to write, putting makeup on. Everything is worse. But if I can come into the house and sit down on my couch without moving laundry out of the way, find clean clothes in my drawer and have a clean coffee cup for coffee I’m in a better frame of mind. Nothing is more likely to send a day spiraling than having to wash a coffee cup before I can have some.

Using Walmart’s car pickup

This is not an affiliate post and I got nothing from this. This is just a shout out to a program that’s been making my life way better. See, my anxiety is set off majorly by busy shops. Even worse if I have my kids with me. I don’t even know where this fear came from, but I’m convinced I’m going to lose my kids in a crowded place. So I’m so busy looking at my kids at all times and forgetting everything I went to the store for. Then I start panicking and sort of stop being able to breath.

Having the ability to just order my food and then pick it up makes my life so much easier. It saves time, of course, but anything that reduces my anxiety attacks is a Godsend.

So that’s what I’m doing this year to make what I often consider the worst part of the year a whole lot better. If this season is hard for you too, please share how you’re getting through.

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