More Energy and Vision of a New Start
It is over a week since I updated my War Diaries and overall it has been pretty good. There have been many more "up" days than "down" and I am starting to get more done. Now I am turning my attention to some big things that once resolved should have a huge positive impact on my mood; but it is by small steps. I still have to be careful about my energy levels.
Getting Things Done and Starting a New Life
I have finished some jobs around the house that were hanging over me. I have almost finished decorating the bathroom and for the first time since it was refitted more than five years ago it has skirting boards! I just have some final snagging to do. When we have chosen the colour I need to repaint the door and fit the new lock and door furniture. Then I can think about the next room.
Decorating will be jobs for the weekend as I am now facing up to reality and working full time to create a new life. As I said in Unannounced Retirement my source of income for the last ten or more years has dried up. I had been beginning to look at making a new start as I approach retirement age but did not want simply to stop doing things. I have been forced to accelerate the thinking process in light of new circumstances.
I am now treating 08:00 to 18:00 on weekdays as a formal working day whilst I build a new income stream. The aim is to make my time more flexible as soon as I can but for the moment commitment has to go into starting a new life. Initially I am working on getting more visibility for my writing and photography whilst I build more concrete plans.
Managing Depression by Managing Stress and Tiredness
However whilst my depression is lifting it is easily triggered by tiredness or even small stresses. Can trigger a "down" spell. The good news is that they are short, usually only an hour or two, and I now have the skills to manage them through meditation or self-help techniques derived from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or other talking therapies.
Physical exercise is important but it has to be balanced by not overdoing it especially when felling a bit low. However it is important to avoid using fatigue as an excuse for inaction as it can contribute to a downward spiral. Doing something that produces a sense of achievement will lift the mood. As one does more things then the energy and strength should return; with effort and a little determination one can start to create an improving trend.
The other trick is to have a firm but realistic schedule of what one wants to achieve over the coming few days. It should build in time for just "being" perhaps using meditation or other personal therapy. Providing structure to one's day and week gives some direction and allows use of one's limited energy to be paced for maximum benefit.
Structures and Schedules Provide Purpose
Writing this item is one of my three main scheduled "work" tasks for today and it puts me ahead of my plan. So I will reward myself with an early coffee, a useful, if obvious, little trick to help motivation. I can have a coffee, lunch, browse Facebook ,or whatever, when I have finished my next planned task.
I also have more domestic routines as part of my daily structure so I will have to do any shopping needed to get ingredients for dinner - that provides gentle exercise as I walk and social interaction. I also have to prepare a proper meal for the two of use, or more when any of our adult children is staying with us. It all adds to the structure and purpose of life.
First thing Monday morning, or last thing Friday, I prepare a one-page schedule of what I want to achieve in the next week. There are only a handful of tasks for each day as it is very easy to be over-ambitious and then not achieve objectives. That creates unhelpful guilt or a sense of failure. The target is lots of small successes to achieve the big one - throwing off the depression.
Time to Move On to a New Life
So it is time to move on to work on creating a personal vision and style for my writing and photography. Then I can have a clearer plan for promoting it and achieving enough income to relieve some of the concerns.