This week, I had therapy. This isn’t new. I started going regularly a couple of summers ago and ever since then, I’ve been going every 4-6 weeks, whether I feel I need it or not. It was crucial through my depression, but also just overall helpful through all the highs and lows life throws my way.
As always, my therapist started off the session by asking how I was doing. My response was that I was tired… really, really tired. It’s that time of year for teachers and I stumbled across this video which illustrates it perfectly.
She continued by asking more questions to dig deeper. How’s work? How’s Brooks? How are activities with your boys? How’s your marriage? How are your friendships? We dove into each topic so that I could tell her how things were going. Near the end of the appointment, she summarized all that we’d talked about and stated that I’ve had quite the whirlwind over the last several months. She asked me if how I was feeling today had any resemblances to how I felt through my depression, or to the time leading into it. As I reflected on that and answered that no, I didn’t feel like I was in a bad place mentally at all, I realized something.
Yes, I am tired. Exhausted. And my life is really busy right now.
But despite that, I’m actually doing really well. I know that this season will pass. I know that the end of the school year is always chaotic. There’s added stress from assessments and report cards. Students are more tired from their activities in the evenings. I’m still running around like a chicken with its head cut off going from soccer, to hockey, to flag football, all the while trying to prep and pack for camping trips. There are birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and races, and this and that and the other. But, I am okay. I really am.
As I told her all of this, I was surprised. Typically, naming this long list of stressors and updating her on all aspects of my life would make me feel defeated. There are just so. many. things. and my life is a real juggling act right now. Instead, I shared that I thought that what we’ve put into place together through my depression has really been helpful in keeping me in a place where, although tired, I don’t feel like I’m spiraling downwards out of control. I am tired, but I am in control.
So what has been helpful?
I think the first key part of it is how I’ve continued to make sure that I am moving my body every single day (or almost). In January, I created a digital fitness journal which has helped me stay accountable while also giving me flexibility in how I’m working out every day. Visually, it’s easy to see that I’ve really been keeping up with this, which has had a huge impact on my mental (and bonus; physical) health.
I’ve also been sleeping well, and getting an average of 8 hours of sleep per night. This is something I’ve really always done, because I can’t function without sleep, but I know it’s often not the case for others. I found this video hilarious for those of you who might not be getting enough sleep…
As mentioned already, I’ve continued therapy regularly. This means that I am processing things as they come up. Nothing is sitting and festering. I feel supported and I never feel alone. I have someone in my corner who is there for me, and is looking out for me. How often can a mom and a teacher say she has that? Not often enough…
My husband and I also started eating healthier a couple of months ago. I won’t lie, this isn’t the first time we’ve done this, but it feels very different this time. Although we are still eating clean, I have been losing weight much more successfully because we’ve incorporated one cheat day per week. This helps me stay on track the other 6 days out of the week while also giving myself some space to enjoy the not-so-good things I love so very much. And yes, losing the weight has been a positive aspect of it, but it’s also impacted my mental health, my skin, and my energy level.
I also have a lot of exciting things coming up on the calendar which has always been a helpful strategy for me (think light at the end of the tunnel). I love camping, and as I write these words, we are on our first camping trip of the season. We have several more booked for the summer, as well as a week at a cabin with my parents and siblings. Summer also brings a lot of downtime for me sitting in the sun on my deck while my boys play in the pool. So much to look forward to. And, as if that wasn’t enough, a last-minute girls trip to New York City has been recently added to my summer plans!
The last 12 months have not been easy, not by any stretch of the imagination and although I won’t go into it, it really was quite eye opening to see how well I am doing despite it all. I’ve been down, so low, and I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be this way. Life isn’t always easy, and there will most certainly always be challenges and struggles, but with the right things in place, you can not only get through them, but thrive (even if you’re tired, really, really tired).
So, check in with yourself… how are you doing?
Reflect and adjust accordingly.