2/06/2009

It's February. And I Want You to Feel Good.

Oh, February. It looks like I'm in the clutches of this month again.

There is part of me that knows it's part of a natural rhythm, the lowered energy levels, the looking within more. And then there's part of me that just wants to feel *better* NOW. In February, I feel down a little more, I'm a little more vulnerable to negative thoughts and feelings.

It used to be SO much worse, I used to barely be functional when I was depressed. A huge - HUGE - gift of unschooling, especially radical unschooling, has been that I've learned to aim for joy. Keep my compass aimed for joy. I've (we've) created a life that I love, and what a gift that is, to wake up each day grateful for what we have. By keeping the relationship with my sons primary in my life, I've been guided to a life that's fulfilling and amazing. In doing that, I dropped the depression. I needed some help with the shift - I took an antidepressant for about a year, just about five years ago. Since then, true depression hasn't happened. I've had my down times, just one really bad one spell that lasted a couple of weeks, but I haven't dropped off that abyss again. I am so freakin' grateful for that.

I also credit drumming, meditation, prayer, and reiki for that shift. And, of course, my boys.

I have learned through the years to accept February for what it is. I have learned some coping things, that I wrote about last year. To that list, I'd add: dance, often, as wildly and silly as you want. What a mood-shifter!

This year, on a friend's blog, I found another tool to use. It's a list, a reminder list, of things I love to do, that can shift how I feel. Here's her list:


How lovely is that? She has more lovely things, in her etsy store. I'm eyeing those printable Valentines! I ordered my list - you can customize your list with what helps you, and she'll design it up and send the pdf so you can print out as many as you want. I haven't yet filled mine out, though - I'm thinking of what I really want to have on there. Bake with Seth. Watch videos on YouTube with Evan. Draw with both boys. Draw alone. Take a walk with the boys and the dog.

I have so many possibilities! And I've decided that because the list is so pleasing to look at, I'm going to frame one copy and put it on my wall. It makes me happy just to look at it.

And it would make me happy, to help make you happy! To that end, I'm having a double give-away! First, I'm giving away a list for you! The winner will get an e-mail with details on how to get their very own customizable feel-good list. And, I'm giving away a copy of The River Why, which I wrote about last year. What a great book. I'm feeling all excited just thinking of you receiving either one of these!

All you gotta do is leave a comment, and in your comment, let me know what you do to help yourself feel better. How do you shift your mood? Does it include chocolate? Or do you just burrow under the covers for a while? I'll draw two names from the list of everyone that comments; one will receive the feel-good list, and one will receive the book.

Good luck! I feel better already!

8 comments:

V. said...

For me it's simple: I look at my daughter's face. Even though these days, it sometimes has black lipstick and hair covering one eye, it's still the most beautiful face in the world to me. I once read your face should light up when your child comes into the room - and mine does.

carri said...

What a wonderful giveaway, Caren. Especially since the February doldrums have hit me hard this week. Reading, knitting, curling up with a great movie are a few things that help. But mostly, letting go of the chores and routines and letting the kids carry be away into their own worlds is what helps me the most. I'm going to go do that right now. Thanks for the reminder.

hahamommy said...

I give myself the Gift of February. Whatever I choose to do with it is perfect and right and fully indulged. Hayden will have an amazing 1/2 birthday party, he's claimed that day ;) And we have a Friday the 13th, our favorite Sushi day, so another date with Joy. In between and all around I have full permission to feel whatever February brings, as it will only once this year. I can easily love the sun and loathe the clouds simultaneously... to be able to feel is itself a gift. In the quiet even-more-in-betweens I breathe and cry and knit and eat and find comfort and exile and communion and kleenex ;) this year I'm adding walking to the list and loaner kids and Christopher Moore, I think there'll be a dramatic difference felt all around.

Michele Matucheski said...

What a lovely reminder of what's important to us--and to do these things when we need them. Ice skating helps me remember the flow and beauty of life. My family (my 8-yr-old loves hugs now--Gotta take advantage of that while it lasts!), my big black shaggy dog, connecting with friends who really "get" me.

Snavleys said...

I needed to hear that: to accept Feb. for what it is. I've spent the last week planning my escape from this cold North of Alaska. I popped over here after you left your comment on my son's blog post (his unschool v. school essay). I want to come to one of your drum circles! I love your username also - dharmamama. All of my friends call me dharma because they say I remind them of the character on the show Dharma and Greg. I've got you on my favorites now so I look forward to following your blog:)

tysdaddy said...

Good comments, and an excellent post, my friend.

I just got laid off again. Wrote about it at The Cheek. You'd think I'd be very bummed out. Like before. But this time, I'm welcoming the chance to grow. I'm eyeballs deep in school, and my family needs me now more than ever. So I'm gonna relax, study, curl up on the couch with my wife, toss the football, write stories, and live a bit. For now . . .

Mostly, I turn to a good book. I have so many that I can choose from, and they all speak to me where I'm at. I have a knack for pulling meaning from almost anything, and so books are my go-to when things look crappy.

Look up, my friend . . .

hahamommy said...

"Look up, my friend . . ."

This made me giggle ;) In Oregon, where the grey sky and rain over our valley can make one feel a bit claustrophobic (especially after the open, almost-constant blue sky of the South Dakota prairie), I must remember (and remind) to look *down* at the immense expanse of GREEN on those wet, dreary days...
Thank you for the reminder to remember :D

julie from up up creative said...

lately, i have to say, making myself feel "good" has included a lot of cookies. but of course that doesn't REALLY make me feel good.

what REALLY makes me feel good is having a crazy flailing leg party with my evan on the bed (this consists of us lying on the bed and, well, flailing our legs around all crazy); turning on the music and singing and dancing; snuggling under a quilt with a book...

thus the list. i think i might need to add a little reminder on mine: a little list of things that don't make me feel better.

hmm... i like this idea...