That most frustrating part of the month, soon after the negative pregnancy tests, when you have to go out and buy pads and tampons, pain meds, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Personally, this month has been extra difficult since the anniversary of our second daughter’s passing is at the end of it. I’ve had to double up on the self-care and taking one day at a time, and to be honest, I haven’t been as social as I usually am. And when I am, I leave social settings completely drained. My sweet husband has been very kind and patient. Since this has been on my brain this past week, I thought I would share some of the things I do to take care of myself.
- Make the bed. I like to keep the house clean, but when the depression hits, it’s hard for me to do all of the cleaning tasks each day. So, I severely simplify the list. Make the bed. Do a load of laundry. Empty the dishwasher. I know that this too shall pass, and I will be back up and around cleaning the house again. But for now, just make the bed, do something simple so that you feel like you have accomplished, and let the rest of it go.
- Take a bath. Do something that is pampering. Even if that just means a hot shower instead. Take a moment in the day to slow down. I, personally, prefer bubbles, but it could also be wearing a face mask or sipping on my favorite tea. Or, if I’m feeling really crazy, do all three.
- Escape for a certain amount of time. This could be watching a favorite movie (something you have seen before that won’t bring up bad memories). It could be reading a favorite book. Sitting outside in the sun. Snuggling with a pet. Meditating. But do it for a set amount of time. It’s really easy for me to lose myself binging on a tv show, and while that’s not completely bad, it’s not completely healthy. That’s why I choose favorite movies over TV or YouTube, two places where I can easily lose myself.
- Yoga. This is my favorite type of movement because it connects body, mind, and soul together. But a simple walk around the neighborhood listening to a podcast or music could work as well. Or dance in your living room. But I find it very tempting to just spend the whole day on the couch or in bed. One of my favorite yoga sequences is done by Yoga with Adriene for PMS specifically.
- Spend some time with God. You know, when I think about when someone says they spend time with God, I think of this:
Quiet beach time, or sitting in the silence in my library, as the light filters in perfectly, as I commune with God. But sometimes it’s more like this:
And that’s okay. I mean, have you read the Psalms? God is present in the silence, but he’s also present in the scream. And if I learned anything, it’s that one of most healing experiences on this journey has been a good, ugly cry out to God.
It is frustrating to have to go back to square one every month, but remembering to give myself a little space and grace definitely helps the process. What are some ways that you practice self-care when going through a difficult time?