As previously seen on Wit & Delight
Editor’s Note: While browsing through previous posts to share on this Saturday morning, I came across this one, originally published by Kate in 2016. In it, she shares a series of prompts from Eponis Sinope that are incredibly helpful for checking in with ourselves and figuring out how to move forward when we’re not feeling our best. (The prompts below have been edited down slightly, to be sensitive to the current climate.) We hope you find these as useful as we still do. Take care friends.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and I’m happy to say what’s happening in the UK made it’s way into my feeds as early as Monday morning. While I’m no mental health professional, I do know speaking about our personal experiences goes a long way in helping lift the stigma associated with these ailments.
I came across this great one-sheeter by Sinope yesterday and found myself nodding as I read through the tips. Many of these work for me, and Joe often prompts me with questions like “Why don’t you jump in the shower?” or “How about a nap?” when I’m experiencing a dip in my mood. I’ve learned to listen to him. As I begin to anticipate facing postpartum, these tips become even more valuable!
Everything is Awful and I’m Not OK: Questions to Ask Before Giving Up
Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.
Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?
Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.
If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.
If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.
Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.
Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so. Make it genuine; wait until you think of something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.
Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.
Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail or loading up the dishwasher. Good job!
Do you feel unattractive? Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.
Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.
Have you talked to a therapist in the past few days? If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.
Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.
Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand? That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.
Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.
You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.
BY Kate Arends - March 21, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.