By now you are imagining me wrapped in fuzzy pyjamas and socks, curled beneath a mountain of blankets. While down days are not about physical work, they are all about internal work. There are things that I make myself do on these days so I continue to resemble a somewhat functional human being rather than a breathing pile of blanket monster.
1. Drink water, water and more water. Nothing else is a good choice on a day like this. I often feel like I’m flushing the sad out as I spend my day drinking and peeing.
2. Eat healthy food. Yes, I hear you chocolate cookies and kettle corn, singing your seductive songs from the basement pantry, but that is why you are banished down there. My body wants none of you when I’m depressed and although you taste good now, an hour from now my digestive tract will make me pay.
3. Shower. The water is soothing and smelling pretty makes me much more likely to get cuddles. I pass on washing my hair though. It’s short and a headband keeps it in line for the day.
4. Do something, anything active. This one is a killer. I have to really bully myself into getting up. It doesn’t matter that I know it’s good for me or that exercise releases wonderful, happy-making endorphins, I don’t wanna! Nonetheless, I take my inner three-year old by the hand and provide myself a choice: yoga if I want to stay inside or a walk if I want some sunshine. Half an hour is the minimum but I do tend to go longer as I start to feel better.
5. Do a bit of light tidying. Tidy house, tidy brain. Works for me.
On my good days, this list would take me no time at all, but as anyone with anxiety or depression will tell you, this is a full schedule on a down day. But at least checking off these items gives me a small sense of purpose and accomplishment. Plus if I don’t accomplish every one, there’s always tomorrow.