I’ve been having a lot of nightmares recently, so I’ve come up with a morning routine to help me get on with my day. I like keeping this sheet next to my bed so that once I’ve woken up I’m not at a loss for what to do and how to live. This routine really helps me to start my day right. I sometimes change up the order or skip some steps, but having a methodical, ordered plan and doing positive things to wake myself up has been really helping me.
stop Sleep Cycle
(read something funny on BuzzFeed)
say, “It’s a new day!” 🙂
write in gratitude journal, open windows, listen to music
go to bathroom
take phone off airplane mode
check texts and email
make a to-do list
Transition Steps (for when it’s hard to get out of bed)
lie on your back and stretch out
readjust the covers
fluff up your pillow
squeeze your muscles
try to do some yoga stretches in bed; move around
kick off the covers
put on your watch
listen to music — energizing music
I found that I often got stuck between reading something funny on Buzzfeed and getting out of bed. I just stay there reading more and more, or start looking on Pinterest or Youtube for other funny things in order to cram out the bad in my mind. I think the idea of getting out of that warm, safe place and facing my day is too intimidating. So, I tried to break up that step into smaller steps. My ideas about how to transition from lying in bed to standing up are in the picture on the right (“Transition Steps”). They’re intended to get myself to move around a little because after a nightmare I really want to fall into the freeze response, and that doesn’t do me any good. So there they are! 🙂
(Please be aware that the first part of this post has to do with life/death and wanting to die.)
It’s the name of my blog, so I might as well say why…
I believe something is better than nothing. That’s why I’m alive. If you’re dead, you have no opportunities, no chances, no smiles, no sunny days, no cute babies, no flowers. None of that. If you’re alive, you might have a lot of pain. It might take up almost the entirety of the day. Or the week. Or longer. But it is not like that all the time. There are still some good things. There are some good moments.
Once, when I was having a bad day, had been in the throes of a flashback all morning and part of afternoon, was overwhelmed by school and life, and wanted to die, I had a meal with my friend, and she asked me what good thing had happened that day.
I nearly started crying at the question. I thought there was nothing good. Everything was horrible. But I thought about it. It took some time, but I came up with an answer. I had had peanut butter on my bagel that day, and it tasted good. I told my friend this. She smiled, and we talked about how good and versatile peanut butter was. It was a lighthearted conversation. It lightened my mood and made me realize what other good things there had been that day. I had had other good foods to eat. I was currently talking with my best friend, an amazing person.
There were a lot of things going wrong, but it wasn’t all bad. There were still things I could enjoy in life. As long as there is still something in this life for me (and I think there always will be, since even if nothing else good happens in a year, spring will always come), I. am. staying. here.
I also remind myself that something is better than nothing when I start to worry about making things perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good enough.
In school, it’s better to submit an incomplete or imperfect assignment than to submit nothing at all. It’s much better to fail an assignment than to get a zero. I’ve been there and done that! Zeroes affect the final grade so much more than even a 50%. I once spent a whole year trying to bring up my history grade from one zero on a summer homework assignment at the very beginning of the year. If I’ve been in class a little and done some work on the assignment, I can make something. It’s much better to submit what I have than to not submit anything. Even if it’s below the minimum page length. Even if my code doesn’t execute. Even if I know it’s the wrong answer. I tried. Most teachers give partial credit. Some are even understanding when I explain that I couldn’t do it or haven’t been in class all the time because of mental health issues. Some will give me an extension so I can bring up my grade from at 50% to a 70, 80, or even 90%. Partial credit exists and is beautiful, and teachers are humans and understand struggles.
I often worry about sending the perfect text or email, too. I delay replying until I know what perfect thing to say. But at some point, a quick, short, not-the-best-but-okay reply becomes more valuable than the perfect reply a week later… if I even send it a week later. Sometimes it’s just better to send something and let the other person know I’ve read their message. I can give a quick answer, or maybe say that I’ll get back to them later. But I’ve said something, and that counts for a lot. It’s better communication.
Even with this blog, I could have waited a few more months, or years, before starting it. But who knows what will happen in a few years?! I can do what I can and learn more as I go along. But I’m starting something now.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
I wake up slowly to the sun streaming through the windows. My body is still, and my heart is calm. I stretch out in bed and smile at the wonderful dream I had. I am excited to start this day. I stand up and methodically make my bed. It’s all closed up and put away. I open the windows and reach out my hand to feel the warmth. The birds are chirping good morning to me and to each other. Each tree rustles as a soft breeze passes through. Fresh, lime green leaves stand out in front of a pure blue sky. My geranium has a new delicate pink bloom. Everything is going to be okay.
I am starting this blog here today! I actually made a website in Weebly a few months ago but never shared it on social media or with anyone, and I don’t think anyone besides me ever saw it. It was a little hard to get it to look the way I wanted it to. I am hoping that here on WordPress, there will be more flexibility, and I like the community aspect of it. I think I am finally ready for my blog to be read… maybe… 🙂
When I look back through my journal, I see mentions of “I want to make a blog someday” going back three years. And now it’s finally happening… (!!!)
Anyway! This blog will be about mental health. I turn to Google whenever I have a problem or a question, and that has led me to find some great blogs. I have learned a lot from them and been able to empathize and clear up my squaggly-zig-zag-tangled-spinning thoughts. So, I hope to do the same here with my own blog and contribute my experiences, thoughts, and things I wish I’d known sooner. I may write about other things, too. I’ll see how it goes! 🙂 Thank you for reading this!