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. 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.
~ 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…