First, I Need to feel good about myself:
1. Do my hair and make-up Every single day
2. Shower at least every other day (tricky with an 11 month old, but not impossible!)
3. Dress in a manor that makes me feel cute
That's the goal, it's not about vanity, I need to feel cute so that I don't feel ugly. If I feel ugly, it has the potential to bring down my whole day.
Second, I Need to get outside. The thing that led to my discovery of this one was a book by Harvey Karp, called "The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep." In it he talks about the importance of sunlight and how it affects your Melatonin, your brain's signal to the body that it's time to sleep. He recommends getting your baby outside every morning to set their internal clocks right. Being in Florida really came in handy as I read this in December. Big Brother and I started going on walks every morning we could, mostly Monday through Friday. It wasn't long before I realized getting a little sunlight was improving my mood too. It also gave me more incentive to keep up the first three steps knowing I would be out and about every day. Then there was the added bonus of a little exercise. Exercise gets the blood flowing and is an amazing way to relieve depression. Walking is a great place to start when it comes to exercise and I am really starting to love it. Having a dog will help that too as she gets old enough to come with us. Lexi is a border collie mix, so she will soon have enough energy to be a terror if we don't get her walking every day. So, next:
4. Get outside every day and get some sunlight
5. Get some exercise, even if it is just a short walk (sometimes we only go up to the end of the street where the mailbox is and back)
Some days I discovered I could keep my mood up better if I went on multiple walks throughout the day. Sweet Big Brother loves it too!
Finally, the last thing I learned that I Need to do to keep my depression at bay is to keep motivated and keep accomplishing things, no matter how small. I am so grateful to my husband, because it was with his help that I was able to figure this one out. I never did chores growing up and I never lived alone before I married my husband, this being so, I had never taken care of a house before. Then I had a baby. We did a lot of moving in our first year of marriage and a lot of living with other people. I am happy to say though, that after almost two years of marriage, I finally have a method to keeping our three bedroom home tidy and reasonable while taking care of my 11 month old. Lists. Realistic, forgiving, lists. I've always loved lists, I just haven't used them in a very long time. We now have a white board system with daily chores that are fairly easy for my husband and I to handle. Matt takes care of the trash, the litter box, feeding the cat, and vacuuming the upstairs on top of working every day. I keep the living room tidy, dishes and kitchen clean, a load of laundry done, and the downstairs swept every day, while working on bedrooms and bathrooms twice a week, and mopping the downstairs once a week. It sounds like a lot, but when I do the chores every single day, there is never very many dishes, the kitchen and living room are barely dirty, and there's hardly anything to sweep off the floor. It's much harder to get overwhelmed by a practically clean house than it was when my house lived in constant disaster mode. So, finally:
6. Give yourself something to be proud of at days end, go and accomplish a goal Every day and Be proud of it (no matter how small it may seem)
I promise to continue posting my discoveries about depression as I learn them and I sincerely hope these steps might be able to help others who have been feeling the same way.