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I have struggled with depression in the past.
I know what it’s like to not be able to just “shrug it off.” I know what it’s like to exercise, get outside, practice gratitude, positive thinking—you know, all the things people tell you to try because they don’t really understand—and still feel like there’s a 50-pound weight pulling me down.
But now, things are different. I’m happier, in general. I’m a pretty high-functioning individual, and yet there’s this little, dark corner of my mind that’s not letting me enjoy this wonderful life I have in front of me.
It’s not debilitating and, for the most part, I can shake it off doing some of the above, or after a few days have passed of letting myself be sad.
But lately, I’ve been wondering, am I a depressed person (and should probably go to a doctor) or am I just letting my negative thoughts determine how I feel about myself and life?
Mondays are one of my days off, and this last Monday I decided to start my day with intention. When I first woke up, I felt like crap. I was like, “I don’t want to do this day, I feel sh*tty, down, unattractive, and lazy.” But, pretty immediately, I stopped those thoughts in their tracks and said: “No, today is going to be a good, productive day. You are going to start this day with intent.”
So, I got my ass up and planned out what I was going to do to make this the best day possible.
I’m all about self-care—the shallow stuff and the deep and dirty stuff—so I cleansed my face and did a charcoal face mask while catching up on the news from bed because I wasn’t yet ready to make it downstairs.
Then, I made a smoothie and watched a YouTuber I like who does these super organizational, life-hack videos that are actually genuine and helpful. I went to my favourite spin class and almost cried at how powerful I felt in that moment. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing and finished my day off with a glass of rosé at my sister’s place with her and her boyfriend.
And I just thought, what if I could make every day like this? Every day full of intent and joy and little things that inspire me and make me feel good?
I’d been feeling really down lately. I’d been stressed with work and feeling lonely and struggling more than usual with my body image and I felt like I was drowning in this negativity I couldn’t get myself out of.
Then, someone who I deeply respect, told me bluntly and kindly, that I need to lighten up a bit.
(This is not the first time I’d been told this, but this time it struck me more than usual.)
Maybe this was my issue. Maybe I did need to lighten up and stop focusing so damn much on everything I didn’t have, all the areas I was lacking and “failing,” and instead shift my focus on all the good that was floating around me, waiting to be seen.
Instead of thinking about how I wish my body was smaller, I could think about how strong I’ve become. How even though I hate my arms, I love my stomach and my derrière.
Instead of thinking about all the mistakes I was making at work, I could think about how I was living out my dream job and to have fun with it! I could go back to my “why” and purpose for being here.
Instead of focusing on the fact that I am again single and there seem to be happy couples all around me, I could think about how much I actually love being alone. I could be grateful that I enjoy my own company, and I could spend more time with friends and do more things for me.
Instead of focusing on all the people I wish I could be and look and act like—I could remember that there’s only one me out there, and she is loved, and she has a lot of cool things going on for her.
I know that sometimes this feeling is not a choice. That changing your thoughts cannot change your mind—no matter how much you try. But right now, I’m not sure I’m in that place.
So, I’m going to try this mindset shift thing and see where it takes me.