I wrote on Monday about my attempts to refactor my life. I am really stressed out and I feel kind of lost, so I am trying to figure out how to take care of my own mental health.
I was on various medications for about a decade. I really did not like how I felt on them and I wanted to fix whatever the underlying issues were. I figured out that I needed a schedule for myself that I needed to follow and I needed daily meditation to be able to properly deal with my anxiety.
After I moved in with my husband, I stopped doing things I needed to be doing for myself. I didn’t meditate because my pugs would jump on me. I also had difficulty carving out time for myself because when you’re part of a couple it’s very difficult to say you need your own time. Most of the time you feel like you’re supposed to be doing everything with your significant other and I didn’t think to really push for what I needed to do to keep myself healthy.
I had kind of thought I should meditate, but I would only do it like once a month. I realized I need a schedule. I need something to remind me to do this regularly or I won’t do it.
I was really hesitant to try and set up a system for doing things. I am suspicious of systems, which is something I would like to write up as a blog post at some point. I tried to figure out what the simplest system is that I could implement that would allow me to be productive.
I started out small. I created alarms on my phone. I started with two, one to do yoga each day and one to do meditation each afternoon. I want to start with small changes and work out from there.
This week was not so good for the yoga. I only did it on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I went to the grocery store before work. By the time I got home and settled for work, I had only been focused for five minutes. I didn’t want to interrupt my focus, so I missed that day. I had trouble focusing most of the rest of the week and I just didn’t do yoga.
I only missed one day of meditation. I found it very helpful and necessary on the days this week that I was lost and couldn’t focus. I am also trying to figure out when I need to go to my boss for help when I can’t focus. I had a bad few days and I wish I had come to her after the second day rather than waiting for her to ask me how I was doing. I am going to learn to be more proactive with asking for things I need to be productive rather than trying to just muddle through it because I am afraid to say I am having trouble focusing. After I spoke to my boss, she focused me and I felt much better.
Going to give this schedule another week to see if I can get on track with it. If I still have trouble I am not going to add anything else until I do better with what I am doing.
I hate going to the grocery store. I find it exhausting to go to the store. I needed to go for nearly a week and I kept thinking I would go after work, but I was too tired.
I figured out when I went on Wednesday why I find it so exhausting.
When I go out in public, especially to places like stores, I find it mentally exhausting. I want to do a surgical strike, go in and get what I need as quickly as possible. The grocery store is populated by people wandering around in ways I find unpredictable. They will stand in front of the stuff that I need. They will weave back and forth in the aisle so that I can’t pass them because I am afraid they will veer in front of me and hurt themselves because I am going to hit them with my cart.
Going during the work day when there are fewer people is helpful, but it still takes a lot out of me to deal with.
I had tried to figure out why I don’t like driving long distances and spending a lot of time in highly populated areas, and I think this is why. It’s helpful to know, but I don’t really know how to filter this stuff out. When I was married to my ex, I would follow behind him. It always pissed him off because he thought I was being submissive or something, but it was mentally easier for me to only have to keep track of and anticipate the movements of one person. One of our biggest fights happened when he started to behave randomly, stopping for no reason with no warning. I would smack into him because he wasn’t behaving predictably.
After figuring this out, I decided to try something I was tempted to do, but couldn’t justify the expense of: I am subscribing to a food service.
I chose Plated for my food service. It’s a little expensive, but right now I am just trying to make my life as easy as possible. If I don’t have to go grocery shopping as often because I am having a set of meal ingredients sent to me, then it’s worth the cost to me for my mental health.
My friend Kiera Herbert suggested I try CookSmarts which is a meal planning site where they send you a menu and a grocery list, so it’s like Plated minus the food. I noticed I never looked at it because the idea of having to leave the house to get the stuff I needed and possibly forgetting something was too demoralizing.
Based on my observation of my own behaviors, I expect I will start having meals and ingredients accumulate in my fridge in about two months, so we will see if this is something that works out or not. I am hoping that it will at least be a temporary solution to my mental exhaustion about figuring out how to feed myself. Also, I like that I am only getting enough ingredients for two servings of food. I am wasting a lot of food because most recipes and ingredients are targeted for families of four and I get tired of things before they go bad.
At the very least, this will be a good hobby project where I get kits of components where I can make things. I find these things to be very mentally soothing, so I am excited to see how this works out. I am counting the expense as not just the food, but as relieving myself of having to worry about things and being able to have a ready supply of things I get to make each week, which makes me feel better.
Earlier this week I posted some really bad photos of my house. I also set an alarm on my phone in the mornings prompting me to clean the house a little.
Surprisingly, this alarm worked out much better than the yoga and meditation ones did. Even on mornings where I decided I would not clean my house, just planting the subliminal message into my brain about needing to clean was enough for me to do some incremental amount of cleaning.
I dealt with all the laundry that has been on my floor for the last few months. Some of it needs to be rewashed because of pugs. I was kind of surprised that there were things I just didn’t let myself see because I didn’t want to deal with them. I noticed there were wrappers on the floor in my pictures. I am like, “Seriously? I was so intent on filtering out all the clutter around me that I couldn’t be bothered to pick up trash in my room??”
It was kind of hidden, but there were a lot of books and video games under the laundry. I boxed and organized those things and moved them to the basement.
When I couldn’t focus this week, I managed to put the office chair together that I had sitting in the living room for a while. I vacuumed up the pug fur and at least deal with a little of the clutter in here. There is less I can do with this room presently, but I can at least deal with the obvious stuff like breaking down boxes I don’t need.
This doesn’t look like much, but this was a lot of work. This corner of my office had a lot of clutter in it. I had two boxes of business cards explode over the floor. I had a bunch of office supplies and a lot of books in this corner. I boxed the books and finally bit the bullet and threw away all the business cards. I kept a few from the first startup I worked for on the off-chance it actually becomes a big deal one day.
I kept having to sweep and clean this corner because there was a lot of pug fur that has accumulated over the last few years. This doesn’t look like a big deal, but this was a lot of work.
I am moving a lot of things I want to get rid of to the basement. The basement will likely be a huge project at some point in the future. I don’t want to just play musical clutter and move the clutter to the basement, but I do want to get it out of my living area and I do have a dedicated portion of the basement for things that I plan to get rid of.
So figured out that scheduling things really helps me make sure that I get things done. I have been meaning to join a maker space, but I always felt too tired to come visit. A friend made an appointment with me a few days ahead of time to come visit and it helped me make sure I reserved enough mental energy to show up.
I am going to join the maker space and make appointments to go on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. I would like to work on my electronics stuff when I go there. There is a wood shop and I would like to learn how to make electronics enclosures there. I think getting out of the house to interact with other people will be good for me. I also have boxes of books I need to get out of the house. Instead of trying to offload them all at once, I can grab a box at a time and process them incrementally.
I also would like to learn how to make French pastry and it will be nice to have a place to take my experiments to because I can’t (and REALLY shouldn’t) eat all the sugar I am planning to work with.
I am also not going to travel for a while. My company is having a Christmas party in a few weeks that I was going to go to, but it would require me to fly to Seattle for a few days. I really need stability right now and I think making that trip would be very disruptive to my mental health at the moment.
My trips the last few months have been amazing and it’s been great to meet people. I hope to see people enough to maintain my relationships with them, but not being home and having a regular schedule has caused me a lot of mental distress. I have not been doing things I need to do to maintain my mental health because I talked myself into thinking that I didn’t need to do this anymore.
I feel this week was fairly successful. I am looking forward to sharing more about how I am going to fix myself over the next few weeks. Sorry, but there are going to be a lot of blogs about cooking. I promise to get back to tech at some point, but I really need to deal with this stuff right now. I miss learning new tech stuff to write about, but I can’t deal with it right now. Hopefully I will not lose too many readers because I am talking about this now. I promise tech stuff will come later!