Winter Blues

Does your mood get affected by winter? How do you coop with that?

At the end of september I started to see it: light came later in the mornings and dark came earlier in the evenings. It still was warm and slowly the leaves started to turn yellow and red. O my, I love autumn, everything is so beautiful! I went outside a lot, searching for mushrooms and other typical autumn treasures and life was good. But then the clock was set from daylight saving time to regular time. When I get up in the morning it’s still dark and when I come home from work there is about 1 hour daylight left. The rain came and the wind and there was the first time I had to scratch off the ice of my car. It’s cold and it doesn’t matter how much I heat the house I keep feeling cold. I want to sleep (a lot) and I want to eat, preferably things with lots of fat and sugar (also a lot). My skin is itching and I know it will start bleeding soon. It’s only november, winter hasn’t begon for real and that is scaring me. How will I survive this years winter? And please, please don’t be too cold or rainy or snowy. Oh I know this feeling. Hello Winter Blues, really, you don’t have to pay me a visit each year.

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This isn’t new and I have a survival plan. I know I have to take good care of myself: eat healthy and regular, find things to look forward to, things to enjoy, give myself enough rest and stay active. This seems to be easy, but it costs a great amount of energy. I was searching the internet for more tips, but had a hard time to find new ones. I found 1 about taking vitamin D supplements. This is the vitamin we get from sunlight. I’ve never taken that before and it’s worth a shot. Another tip was to embrace the season. Yes! Changing my mindset would definitely be a great idea and probably work very good. But how do I do that?

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I read something about affirmations. If I understand correct these are lines you repeatedly tell yourself. Words to live by. I believe in the power of words.  And I do think that how you speak about something influences how you experience that something.

So I will try to find positive words for this time a year. Everything better than a depressed ‘here we go again’ and I’m going to make a list of positive things of wintertime.

A self loving self portrait

You have to value yourself to see why it is so important to take good care of yourself. I have the tendency to forget what I am worth, it’s so easy to put the needs of others before my own needs. It’s what I learned as a kid: be kind and help others. I don’t think my parents wanted me to neglect myself and feel bad about myself, they didn’t want me to be selfish. Caring for yourself isn’t selfish, knowing what you are worth isn’t being arrogant. You have to take care of yourself to be able to care for others and knowing what you’re good at makes all kind of processes run smoother.

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This painting I made a few years ago. She doesn’t look like me, but she represents me. Above the hearts I wrote good qualities about myself. This weekend I will find time to make a new portrait and rethink about my qualities. I hope you join me and share your portrait on the facebook group.

Your portrait doesn’t have to look like you, you only have to feel some sort of connection to it. Maybe you’re not a drawing/painting person. That’s fine! You can make a collage portrait or copy or alter a photo of yourself. Anything that feels good for you.

5 (or 6) parts of your being that need care

Welcome back in my Self Care journey. Last week I came up with a list of things I could/should/would do daily to take care of myself. I tried to take at least 10 minutes a day to be in silence, but it’s much harder than I imagined. Building up a new routine will take some time. I try to forgive myself for not being perfect.

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This week I want to look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of things that are good for our (mental) health we don’t need to do every day. Things that are too time consuming or too expensive to do very often. Other things are nice for weekends, but not for working days or maybe they are not offered every day. Besides doing everything everyday might be a little stressful 🙂 I’ve found 2 blogposts about the different aspects of our lives that all need to be cared for. In this post are 5 elements and in this post there are 6. I think the first link is easier to read and the categories are easier to understand, but the second link also has the element professional and since I work a lot of my time I think it is important to look at that aspect as well and I like the wheel. So I created my own wheel with the subjects of the first link + proffesion. I wrote in dutch, my own language feels more real than english does. It’s easier to find the right meaning of a word in your own language.

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I like how everything in life is divided in categories and thinking about the things I do to feel satisfied in all these areas made me happy. Rest of the week I keep thinking about these aspects and fill the wheel more. I suggest you make 1 too, it will help you to set priorities in the future. And 3 more circles as inspiration. Just make 1 that you feel good about. You don’t have to make a wheel, you can make separate lists if you prefer.

I also made a habit tracker. This was a bit tricky to me. I have so many habits I would like to change, do more or less of them, and the list became longer and longer and I started feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. I reminded myself I am allowed to make these changes step by step and made a new list with things that are important now.

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It’s in dutch again, sorry for that. My 6 categories of the weel are now 4 categories. I’ve combined intellectual with spiritual and called it mind. I see the difference between those categories, but I feel both of them feed the mind. Maybe I’m wrong, future will teach me. Then there is a list with chores and basic body care. For a lot of people these are obvious things to do like: shower, eat 3 meals, make the bed, do the dishes etc. To me they are not that obvious, I neglect a lot of things when I’m not feeling to well. I can’t find the energy to do those things, but I know they will give me twice a much energy if I do them. The last part of habits are the things I had put on my daily self care list of last week.

Every day I take a moment to cross of the things I’ve done that day. I think about what I have done for my body, mind and soul (probably the best summary of the categories) and I write a few things in a log. With this tool I hope to teach myself to do some basic stuff. It will also help me to track how often I do certain things. This list will probably change every month.

What do you do to take care of you in every aspect of your life? Do you think a habit tracker could help you too? And something to look forward to: Now I’ve made my goals clear I want to dive in the actual care taking part, this thursday a creative care post will come online.

Simple daily self care

Now I know how my days look like and what I do on those days it is time to start thinking about the things I want for me. I found this blogpost and I think it is helpful for the next step, I suggest you read it.

Stop putting potion in your body. Ofcourse this makes sense. I wouldn’t drink arsenic, I know that’s bad for me. But I love my sigarettes, cafeine, wine and sugar. Last spring I did a 10 day detox. It was all about super healthy eating, lots of vegetables, no meat, no caffeine or alcohol, no sugar or glutes, taking special showers and drink lots of water and ginger tea. Joining the program I received a mealplan + recipes so it wasn’t too hard to do since everything was written and planned for me. All I had to do was follow the directions. I learned I sleep much better without caffeine and alcohol and my stomach is much more at ease without using milk. Drinking a lot of water keeps away candy cravings and getting enough vitamins gives me energy. But that was last spring and now I drink my coffee again, forget to drink extra water and I enjoy my glass of wine. But I have experienced not having these things are making me feel better. I will drink only 1 cup of coffee a day, drink enough water and wine is only for the weekends. And yes I do know I have to quit smoking, but that idea freaks me out! I’m not willing to give it up.

Self care list. Things to do on a daily basis to take care of myself. Some of these things I don’t do (often) right now, but I think they will help me.

  • get enough sleep
  • eat 3 meals
  • drink enough water
  • brush my teeth
  • shower
  • use bodylotion/hand cream
  • be in silence
  • write in my gratitude journal
  • read
  • be in a clean/tidy enviroment
  • reflect the day
  • drink a chai chocolate milk (in a pretty cup)
  • do yoga
  • draw/doodle

Priorities. This is hard, I think I need all of the above things. But after thinking about how much influence those things will have I come to this list. Doing this will teach me if this is the right path for me. If not I can make changes to it. Trial and Error. I had doubt about the gratitude journal, because I committed doing it for 30 days. Making it a need gives me the feeling of it being a must. That can’t be good. Taking care of yourself is also accepting that sometimes your commitments can not be done. I am permitted to make mistakes. fullsizeoutput_13e

Make your needs non-negotiable. Sure, but how? Sleep and brushing my teeth are already my daily routine, don’t have to change that. I will put a bottle of water and a tube of hand cream in my bag so that I can use it any time I want. I will set an alarm for lunch and at work I go to the canteen and not stay at my desk. Finding silence is the hard part. At work there are all sorts of machines buzzing and people talking. At home my husband is listening to music, playing videogames, watching tv. I think the attic is silence. I go there for 10 minutes a day.

Use your energy wisely, Be ambitious, but don’t overwhelm yourself. I think those are more tips for the trial and error section. I start doing these things and see if it works for me.

What are your needs, wants and bonuses? How do you incorporate them in your daily life?

I think this post and the previous 2 are enough to think about in 1 week. It is now time to start doing. Please share your experiences of making self care a part of your daily routine and the things you’re thankful for on the facebook group.

 

 

 

These are my tasks

Today I will make a list of tasks and obligations I have in my life. These are the things that fill my schedule. Again there is no right or wrong, simply a lists of things I do now, my starting point.

  • Housekeeping
    • cleaning kitchen, garbage, laundry, dishes, keeping it tidy, vacuum
  • Pets
    • nurture, play, litter, opening doors
  • Administration
    • paying bills, making calls, sorting papers
  • Cooking
    • making mealplan, do groceries, preparing food
  • Family and Friends
    • helping out, social calls, visiting, birthday gifts, celebrations and traditions, social media
  • Maintenance
    • gutter cleaning, garage, painting, repairing, garden
  • Other
    • dentist, hairdresser
  • Me time
    • swapbot, reading, learning, craft/art, watch tv, gym, theatre, concerts, walking, videogames, photography, visiting markets/musea, blogging

I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but my mind is getting blanc. I don’t think this is an extraordinary list of things to do. Many people will have a much larger list of things to do (I think). The amount of things you have to do tells us nothing about how well we take care of ourself or how much time we have to take care of ourself.

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A lot of things on my list I consider to be part of self care even if they aren’t fun. Paying bills isn’t a thing I like doing (I rather spend my money on art supplies), but having a roof over my head, having electricity and running water are things I really need and appreciate, I would feel a lot of stress if I couldn’t pay those bills. (I know there are many people have problems paying those bills and I don’t know a solution for that. I do realize my feelings are first world problems and that I am blessed that my problems are only feelings).

To become more aware of the good side of life I will start a Gratitude Journal. This probably be nothing fancy, a simple list of things I’m grateful for. I pledge to write down 3 things I’m grateful for on a daily base for the next 30 days.

What are your tasks/things you do in life right now? Are you feeling alright with them or are you feeling overwhelmed or lazy with them? Can you see how tasks you don’t like are helping you with caring of yourself? Do you have or start a gratitude journal?

 

How do I use my time

I have all these ideas about this self care journey and I’m super enthusiastic about it. I want to tell you about my priorities  and how I schedule my me-time and how I organise stuff and I want to show you the art I made and I want to do it all this very moment. And that my friends is my trap: starting with an energy rush, realizing it’s more work than I thought, getting tired and loose interest. And it’s not gonna happen this time, because this is important. So let’s start with taking a look at our schedules.

I will start by looking at the schedule I have right now. It’s not about specific appointments, it’s about how my days look on a regular base. I have weekdays, where I go to work and weekends, where I don’t have a big obligation. I’m not talking about making changes in it or if it’s good or bad. This is what it is right now and this is my starting point.

 

Weekdays:

  • 6.00-7.00 getting up, getting ready for work, breakfast
  • 7.00 -17.00 leaving home, work, getting home
  • 17.00 – 20.00 preparing dinner, eat, doing some chores
  • 20.00 – 22.00 me time, obligations, appointments
  • 22.00 – 23.00 us time, getting ready for bed

Weekends:

  • between 8.00 and 10.00 getting up, breakfast
  • 10.00 – 17.00 me time, us time, chores, obligations, appointments
  • 17.00 – 20.00 preparing dinner, eat, chores
  • 20.00 – ? me time, us time, obligations, appointments

Done. This is how my weeks look like. Approximately ofcourse, but this is my base. And I’m pretty pleased with it. There is time for everything that needs to be done in life. Next step is to make a survey of what chores, appointments and obligations there are and how I spent my me-time. The next, next step will be figuring out how important those things are and what changes I want to make.

Some things I notice about my schedule: I do schedule breakfast and dinner, but where is lunch? Us time is time spent with my partner, it helps me finishing my day, it’s too important to be intervened with chores (at least on weekdays). I don’t like doing chores in the evening. I already put me time on the first spot.

How does your schedule looks like? If you look at it without all obligations, etc are you pleased with it? Do you notice things on your schedule?