MENTAL HEALTH DAY

mental health.jpg

It was Monday afternoon around 1:00, sitting at my desk and I had the need to escape come over me.  I’m hopeful that some of you can relate, if not, maybe I’m just one spoon shy of a complete set of china…

For the last couple of months, I have been in a funk, a complete funk… I felt so out of sorts and unorganized, I realized that between work and home, I was no longer chasing one squirrel, there were like 50 of them, running rabid, stealing my sanity and leaving me completely exhausted.

My to do list was reaching the hundreds mark, and my body and mind were so overwhelmed with it all that I just didn’t know where to start or where to make it end.  My patience was thin, my smiles were less, my anxiety was on high alert at all times, I was yelling more, and praising less, simple tasks were taking too long to complete because I would continuously jump from one person’s need to the other, my eyes were tired, my energy low, and my soul was running on empty.  I still was trying to be thankful and appreciate the beauty all around me, but it was very hard as I felt I was flying by it at mock speed every day.

The worst part was, I couldn’t write, one of the things that fills my soul and puts me at peace….and I couldn’t do it.  Funny things have happened, some life lessons here and there, but I didn’t think I had the time to share or the desire really….

At 1:00 that day, I decided that if I didn’t escape and take control of this funk I was in that nothing was going to get better, it was only going to get worse and I would continue to wallow in self-pity. So, I checked my calendar for the week; no meetings or important deadlines to speak of on Thursday so I put in for the day off.

That evening I scribbled on a piece of scratch paper the commitments that I would make for Thursday, the people I would surround myself with, the household tasks I would complete, the emails I would catch up on, the agenda for the day…it read “NOTHING.”

As the week progressed, my heart longed for Thursday to arrive.  I was excited and anticipating it like nothing I had anticipated as of late.   The day arrived and I vowed to set focus on everything that I had been robbing myself of for several months that had lead me to the craptastic state of mind I was in.

The night before, I picked up a bundle of fresh flowers at the grocery store and placed them next to the bath tub.  When the alarm went off at 4:45 am, I poured myself an extra large cup of coffee, grabbed a recent copy of the “get yourself together” book I was reading, ran a scalding hot bath, dropped in a detox therapy bath ball that filled the room with the smell of pink grapefruit and ginger and proceeded to submerge myself.  I was starting off the day with the most relaxing 30 minutes of silence that I had had in months.

I exited the tub, dug through the dirty clothes (don’t judge….I told you things were spiraling, the laundry was one of them) and pulled out my favorite t-shirt “The pursuit is happiness” – drenched it in Bath and Body spray and threw it in the dryer to set the sweet smell.  I then doused myself in patchouli….I don’t wear it anymore and had been missing it so much….made breakfast, awakened the Littles, then headed out the door.

As I delivered them to school and exited the building….I instantly thought, “What’s next?” I had no list to go by, so I’m just going to wing it! I’m going to wing this day alone!

I got in my car and headed to town, taking my favorite path.  As I drove down the Parkway, not late for anything, I actually had time to appreciate the beauty that was all around me.  The sun peeking through the trees illuminating the road in random spots, the cattails that looked so perfectly placed, the couple walking and holding hands, the manicured landscapes, the toddler being pushed by her Mama in a stroller who was happily kicking her feet without a worry in the world….the beauty, that I had been blowing by while leaving only a trail of dust instead of a string of thankfulness for the last few months. That day, with eyes wide open, I took it all in.

I proceeded to my favorite coffee shop and ordered the large, Northern Light Dark Chocolate Mocha with whip, instant smiles.  The gentleman behind me, looked a little late, a little stressed, and a little frazzled, and since I could totally relate to the look on his face, I got him a cup too.  From there, I headed to my next favorite place in town, the Whole Foods store.  Just walking in there and taking in a deep breath makes me happy.  I bought a few things and smiled as I packed the box into the passenger seat of my car and headed on my merry way.

I realized then that I needed dog food and milk (squirrel!) so without thinking, because it’s hard to change our habits in a time-frame of two hours, I found myself in Sam’s parking lot.  I went ahead and went in, got the items I needed and decided that while I was there, I would make my rounds in the aisles checking for clearance items 😊 I’m pretty sure that thought was divine intervention, because as I proceeded down the last aisle, there it was, a unicorn backpack with a matching lunchbox….say what?!?!  I threw that bad boy in the cart, paid for my things and basically skipped back to my car like an overexcited 6 year old!

When I got home, I ripped the tags off my new bag, loaded it with my book, my journal, some pens, some ear buds, and a blanket and headed into the woods.  I walked to the edge of the pond and spread my blanket out…preparing to cop-a-squat, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the most beautiful deer standing in the opening of the forest, we had a stare off for a good 10 minutes, she didn’t move and neither did I, the definition of peaceful.  Being extremely aware of my surroundings now, I noticed that hundreds of dragonflies were swarming the water.  I thought it was odd…but so beautiful at the same time; the dragonfly symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self-realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life (according to the all-knowing internet 😉), I felt an instant sense of calm. I was also joined by a toad, he ended up sitting next to my blanket for the three hours I was there….I guess he thought that I needed some company… even when all we crave is to be alone, it is then when we may need a friend and silent company the most.

The day was blissfully amazing, for the remainder of the afternoon, I laid on a raft in the pool as I read my book and let the warm sun radiate my skin.

I have NEVER taken that time for myself since having children…never just sat, quietly, with no interruption, just to be….

As wives, Mamas, daughters, sisters, friends….the overwhelming guilt of taking time for ourselves seems to always take precedence over our own need for peace.  We take everything that comes at us and just keep fighting through, every day, nonstop, asking for nothing in return.  It’s what we are wired to do. It’s what we do day in and day out and for the most part, we rock it…we completely, freaking rock it.  But we can’t do it forever, eventually our arms and our souls get tired.

So to you, my friends, today, I offer sincere advice….PUT THE BOXING GLOVES DOWN.  Take a moment, or several moments, let the guilt of what you should be doing go, and just be.  Do it for you.  I promise you are so deserving and worth it.

Happy Saturday! Much love….Ness

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