depression · dessert · mental health · Mom time · parenting · special needs parenting

Digging out of a rut

Well friends, before I get started, a quick update. First, HUGE thanks to those of you who sent up prayers and sweet thoughts and hugs our way with regards to our wee one. My intention in my last post was to point out the hope that comes with our sadness, and so many of you reminded me of the beauty of community in our suffering. What an incredible blessing it is to be comforted by those we love and those we do not even know. We got a hopeful prognosis on our little champ, so we’ll keep plugging along with faith that he continues to make fantastic progress 🙂

Now, on to next steps. I don’t know about you guys, but for me, anticipating bad news is about 1000 times WORSE than actually getting bad news. Somehow for me, bad news transforms me into that grandma that finds super-human strength and lifts a car off a kid in the street. I just put on an X-Men movie and get ready to grind on through. But…the WAITING for that news. Ugh. Hate hate hate it. It’s probably the neurotic control freak in me (not that there’s much of anything beyond neurotic control freak in me, but we won’t go there today), but uncertainty just makes me want to check out of my life. My well-paved road of plans and intentions turns into an anxiety-riddled rut in a matter of seconds when you throw uncertainty into the mix.

This past week was no different. Wondering why you didn’t see any fabulous dinners from me? Friends, I didn’t make any. We picked up Chick-Fil-A, ate half-priced milkshakes at Steak and Shake, and from-the-box pizza. And once Celia’s school had a Pajama Day, I happily declared it “Pajama Week” for our homeschool and allowed us some serious moping time. I also may have discovered a new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s which is genuinely divine (Boom Chocolatta, do yourself a favor and try it) and incorporated that into my moping routine as well. I literally did ZERO of the things that energize me or make me feel engaged with life, because, you guessed it, I didn’t feel like it. The downside to all that is, I actually felt significantly worse by the end of the week leading into the Wee Man’s procedure.

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I can rock a rut like nobody’s business. During my first period of postpartum depression, I literally wore the same pair of sweatpants for 3 straight weeks (and that baby was born in April, in the south), with no makeup and a hair scrunchie that probably dated back to my eighth grade year. (I’m not bashing sweatpants or scrunchies here people- just know they’re not really my thing, and that is a one-way street to misery for me.) Fortunately my sainted mother reminded me to “get to the gym, get a shower, put on some makeup and pull yourself together girl! The world is only over if you believe it is!” And she was right. Sometimes I need a serious kick in the britches to get me out of a rut and back to reality. So, before my week of gloom turned into a month (or more, because I like to think of myself as a go-hard or go-home kind of girl), I decided to give myself that swift kick and get my groove back. And, because I know the rut is a very real thing for every one of us (unless you are Superwoman, in which case, I bow to you and also need your secrets), I figured I’d share my rut-busting tricks with you.

Breaking out of a rut
Oh yes. Singing Phil Collins as loud as I can in my pajamas is a totally acceptable way to beat a rut.

Rut Buster #1: Do the comfort food thing. But do it RIGHT. So no, don’t do the entire Ben and Jerry’s with microwaved popcorn washed down by a whole bottle of your favorite wine. Pick one or two of those things and incorporate them into…

Rut Buster #2: Watch that movie. For me it’s a chick flick like Morning Glory or Bridget Jones, or a Julia Roberts like My Best Friend’s Wedding. Sometimes if I’m in a really bad spot I need to bring out The Wedding Singer or Hairspray. I can watch any of these in my pajamas with Ben, Jerry, and my glass of Prosecco and feel like a champ afterward.

Rut Buster #3: Make a to-do list. Not an insane, lunatic-who’s-going-to-take-over-the-world list, just a simple, 5-things-I’m-going-to-accomplish-tomorrow kind of list. Operative word being tomorrow. 

Rut Buster #4: Seize the day. Knock out the list. I like to start out by making myself a Starbucks-quality latte, which for me means adding 1 tablespoon of hot-cocoa mix (I like Whole Foods’ organic hot cocoa) and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice to my coffee cup before brewing through my Keurig, then adding my coffee creamer and stirring really fast to make fake-froth. Because I hate microwaving and shaking up milk and I don’t have a milk frother. With my morning drink-of-choice by my side and a trusty to-do list written in sparkly purple ink, nothing can get in my way.

Rut Buster #5: Celebrate the win! Even if I still feel ruttish, I have my favorite meal celebration to get myself feeling like a new day is on the horizon, complete with my crew (friends, fam, or both). My go-to is taco night, complete with homemade pico de gallo, blue corn chips and queso, my salsarita chicken (which is really just chicken breast cooked in 1/4 cup of salsa, 1 T of EVOO and 2 cloves of garlic), and all the yummy veggies to go with it. Finish up with lime popsicles and a big action movie with the mister, and life is back on track!

Beating a rut
It probably goes without saying, but it’s hard to get out of a rut alone. At least for this extrovert. So picking up the phone, meeting for drinks, FaceTime-ing an old friend, whatever works, can be an AMAZING option to getting back in the saddle.

What am I missing? Anything that you’d add? Here’s to leaving the blues behind and taking tomorrow by storm.

xoxo~ LWH

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