Christine Duncan

Love, Laughter, Life Preservers

Little Actions That Gain Big Momentum

Over the years, I’ve learned out of pure survival, that sometimes it’s the smallest actions that are capable of gaining effective momentum.

Little actions bringing big change.

If you’ve been following the blog, or joining up with us over on the Facebook page, you know I refer many times to chronic depression, otherwise known as Dysthymic Disorder.

And I don’t want anyone to assume it’s simply a mild depression that flares once in a blue moon or requires the sufferer to get over themselves. And I don’t want anyone to assume it’s like major depression only on a more consistent basis, either.

It is its own disorder. It is a chronic low that brings all sorts of physical and emotional and mental symptoms that gang up on your body and brain, and if you’re not careful, you spend much time anticipating what will flare up where, and when, and how.

And then you spend more time deciding how to get through your tasks that day with it hovering. Or if you can, period.

And because it isn’t the devastating pit of major depression, it doesn’t necessarily fully disable those who live with it.

But it constantly threatens to.

And that can be just as hard to navigate when it’s possible that it will be with you for most of your life.

I know. Paints a pretty exhausting picture. But it’s manageable when you go bit by bit, for the most part. Β Which really sums up life in general, whether you live with a disorder or not.

I’ve found it’s the ‘bit by bit’ part that is 1) the easiest to manage and 2) makes the biggest initial impact on my day.

So here are three small things that wind up making a big impact on how I navigate through the next few minutes, or the next hour, or the next day. They’re not profound by any stretch, but sometimes the smallest things make the biggest change.

3 Small Things That Make A Big Impact On Your Moods

~ Open A Window… Or Four~
Let the light flood in! This sounds way too normal I know, but on days where the chronic D wants me to hide away, light disperses that feeling. Far more than needing some extra vitamin D, this is about jump starting the positive. Curtains back, life happening everywhere you look, and spaces feeling open. This is a mood boost plain and simple. Closed in spaces make you feel caged. Open spaces imply life is available and ready.

My husband used to ask why every blind, every curtain, every solid door opened up, every light on, was necessary. He would mention the loss of cool air in the summer, the loss of warm air in the winter, how not everything had to “stand open”. I swear he thought I had a chronic case of being unable to close a door. It certainly would have looked that way. But back then, he didn’t know I was craving a way to get rid of the shadows. To get rid of the closed-in feeling that caused me to fall apart. It was all the light pouring in, that scattered symptoms I was prone to crumbling under, and let me breathe.

~ Believe in “Some Beats None”~
I read a fabulous book by Jon Acuff called Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters! and even though his statement “Some beats none” was meant for working on your hustle, on your dream, I use it for those days where absolutely everything feels overwhelming and my brain is unable to dissect one task from another, which happens with some regularity. So you can often hear me saying under my breath, as I navigate a task my brain is threatening to shut down over, “some beats none, some beats none, some beats none…”

Basically I confirm that no matter what, I can do one small thing towards the obligations and responsibilities and tasks waiting for me, instead of running and hiding. And doing one small thing becomes a wonderful victory of the chronic D. Celebrate that you accomplished something, which was better than nothing, and you win every time.

~Allow For Some Quiet EVERY Day~
Again, this is not profound. But quiet is a luxury we’ve placed on the back burner for most of our lives. And it’s been proven that in order to battle illness, and to build your mental health, you need quiet at some point. Your soul requires rest.

This can be any time of the day for me, but when the chronic D starts overriding how I react to everyday stress, when panic flares for no good reason, when I feel low over things I normally love and enjoy… I take a step back. I make time for some quiet. And the feelings, without expectation and feeling forced, often pass. The phone gets turned off, I refuse to sit in the same room with the computer, I go outdoors just to stand in the fresh air, I journal, or I grab my Bible and head for a light-filled part of the house. I can pray, or I can be still. The respite allows for a mental, spiritual, resetting.

There are certainly loads of other things one can do. The list could go on forever. But for someone like me, too much doing causes the spiral to start. And this is a post about small things making a big difference.

So we’ll leave it here.

What are some of the little actions you take to gain a little momentum in a day weighed down with the hard-to-live-with? Do you have a method of managing that is special to you?

I’d love to hear it in the comments below…

 

12 Comments

  1. Hi Christine,

    Thank you for sharing about this struggle! That takes courage and I’m praying for you and the staying afloat through Chronic depression.

    In my personal “DAYs WEIGHED DOWN WITH THE HARD-TO-LIVE-WITH” I’ve found 2 little actions to be a blessing:

    -To get to the end of myself. At least for me, it’s so easy to overthink and analyze and just try sooo hard. It helps for me to walk down the thought/prayer road of realizing how ultimately all that I do that’s worthwhile starts and ends with the Lord. That takes the pressure off me and helps me surrender to the Lord -sweet relief!

    -To switch lists. Again, maybe it’s just that I’m an overthinker, but when the hard to live with stuff is getting to me, I start keeping lists of what’s wrong, what’s hopeless, etc. When I switch those mental and emotional checklists out for lists of what I’m grateful for, what the Lord’s doing, etc…well, it makes keeping on more bearable and reminds why it’s worthwhile!

    Much love to you, sister in Christ! Glad to find you through #RaRaLinkup

    • Christine Duncan

      March 23, 2015 at 3:14 PM

      So great to hear from you Bethany πŸ™‚ Thanks for the prayers, that means a lot to me. I love your two actions! That first one, you could write a whole post just about that… over-thinking, over-analyzing, it leads to panic and anxiety, and causes us to forget Who we live for. More eyes on Him, less on circumstance!
      Really blessed by your words!
      Bigger than big blessings for your week, sis!

  2. That “some beats none” idea is a big one. I tell myself “just do something” because something done is a whole lot more encouraging than nothing done, come the end of the day… and many times, it snowballs, which is encouraging, too. πŸ™‚

    I think you’ve really done a good job of summing up some of the most powerful choices. I might add a specific to the “some beats none”: getting dressed and choosing a physically active thing to do (even a small one) first tends to be a helpful jumpstart.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 23, 2015 at 3:09 PM

      Exactly Sheila! I feel the same way… when one actions snowballs into more action, it’s a real mood booster! And I agree, the getting up and getting dressed can be huge. Some days, that’s harder to do than others. And I wind up asking for His strength, for such a small but important thing. And He has always been faithful to provide it!

  3. You’re so right Christine. Just getting up some days is a struggle. I do the “let the light in” response. Opening my curtains and lifting the blind almost gives me a sign that says, “You can do this”. Stopping and just gazing at the trees and the beautiful sunshine can change a looming heaviness. Then, just thanking the Lord for the day and giving over to HIM all that may try to drag me under. All the while, playing my scripture tapes with music or even just some instrumental music can also lift my heart. Your writings are so instrumental to my daily walk. Thankyou once again.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 23, 2015 at 3:59 PM

      I’ve mentioned music before on the blog, but it’s a huge one for me too, how well you know πŸ˜‰ All the little ways He gives us to remember that it’s possible to keep going… if I listed them, I’d still be here, lol. It’s awesome knowing so many people are building each other up all week long with their tips and advice and prayers… so thanks!!!

  4. Great post, Christine! I’m so glad I found your blog πŸ™‚ I struggle with fibromyalgia and so even while it isn’t the same, dealing with the pain all the time is draining in a similar kind of way. I love putting upbeat music on and it is amazing to me how listening to worship music just feeds my soul. Keeping you in my prayers! Come by my blog sometime- I blog about chronic illness (amongst other things) too and would love to connect! I’m a blinds open kind of girl too πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for sharing!
    Sara, uncommongrace.net

    • Christine Duncan

      March 23, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      Hi Sara! So glad you visited the blog today!
      I understand many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia can be exhausting and frustrating, and even have some similar symptoms. Needless to say, I will add you to my prayers too. Soul warriors together πŸ™‚ You sound like my kinda gal, music is a huge boost for me, right now I’m hooked on Rend Collective for worship.
      I will most definitely check out your blog, looking forward to it. I love staying connected with bloggers, we support and encourage one another, and it’s another terrific boost to share community!
      Huge blessings to you, Sara!

  5. I go running. It clears my head and my lungs, like a purging of sorts.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 8:06 AM

      I admire you, Amanda. And anyone who runs. Sounds like the ideal way to shake off the things that threaten to hold us back!

  6. There is so much great advice here, Christine. We are finally getting some sunlight after a week of rain, and I feel better already. Going to get outside and enjoy it. Winter months are tough for me, so I’m going to enjoy every bit of fall I can get! πŸ˜‰ Thanks you for continually addressing this topic which not talked about enough. (hugs)

    • Christine Duncan

      October 5, 2015 at 12:28 PM

      Awesome, and thanks Abby! I hope people will be encouraged with the posts coming up all this month. Mood disorders can be hard to talk about, but so important, and even a week of rain can bring anyone low for a while! Love hearing from you! xxoo

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