I have taken time off work and study to help while I’m working at rebuilding my mental wellness. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep a schedule of some sort to avoid my mind getting sucked into the darkness.
I’ve had episodes of depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. Initially - and well into my 20s - I spent these patches in bed, numbing out with food and TV, letting the depression swallow me whole.
At the moment, I’m trying to avoid giving into the urge to spend my days hidden under a doona.
I try to follow a schedule that works my body, engages my brain in mindful pursuits, and gets as many positive chemicals in my body through things like sunshine, meditation and grounding.
Below is a typical day for me.
5am: my toddler wakes and, on alternating days, I get up with him for some quiet time until dad is awake.
7am: daycare drop off. This is a high stress point in my day so sometimes my husband swaps in.
8am: I try to kick start the good endorphins with a run or walk to the Seacliff Bridge.
10am: Yoga or Pilates. Sometimes this is a class, sometimes I just do it at home, but I always try to do one or the other to get some mindful movement in.
12pm: This is usually my first meal of the day - often a green juice or smoothie. I have trouble eating when I’m anxious so this helps me to get fuel in.
1pm: Quiet time or a creative activity like drawing or writing. I often sit on the back deck in the sun, trying to warm up my anxiously-cold body. Does anyone else find anxiety affects their temperature?
2-4pm: I try to spend some time in nature, walking on the beach, or going for a bushwalk. Or if I’m feeling particularly tired, lying in the sun by one of the rock pools listening to a meditation or my tragic Broadway playlist. My goals are usually more sunshine and grounding.
4-6pm: This is really survival time. By this point in the day I’m often quite anxious and overwhelmed. It coincides with my son’s arrival home and what we call ‘jungle hour’, where most kids get a bit ratty.
6-7.30pm: I leave this time for numbing out, whether that’s TV, social media or food. I try to give myself windows of it so I don’t get sucked all the way into the vortex.
8pm: Bedtime. My medication leaves me really sleepy of an evening and I often find it hard to stay awake after 730-8pm.
What does a typical mental health day look like for you?