This post was sponsored by Tiimo!
I spent two weeks working from bed before I decided I was depressed, not “just a little tired.” The thing about having an ongoing mental health condition is that like all people with chronic illnesses, you know how to spot an episode coming on. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than others to spot it. I didn’t feel sad, hopeless, despondent, any of those things. I felt slightly annoyed and VERY VERY tired. Like so tired.
So tired I needed all the sleep but I also couldn’t get enough because post-COVID insomnia is fiddling with that. So yeah, in the eternal game of whack a mole which is trying to manage whatever weird shit my brain is doing to me THIS time, depression didn’t necessarily factor in.
Seasonal Depression is Haunting all of us!
Then I started talking to other friends who are noticing the same thing. They were EXHAUSTED, frustrated, and just struggling a bit to stay on task or in the loop, or whatever we’re supposed to do. Slowly, I have realized over the two weeks I spent talking to people between naps or working that literally all of us are struggling with seasonal depression this year.
It makes sense, at least from a logical standpoint. We’re on year three of staying in the house and trying to behave. The little bit of sunlight we could get is not being gotten. We’re not socializing. We’re not enjoying ourselves, and we’re spending more time alone. Isolation and darkness are a GREAT recipe for seasonal depression.
Now that we’ve solved that mystery, the next step is unraveling it. The Mayo Clinic suggests that SAD can be dealt with by using a combination of light therapy, talk therapy, and antidepressants. I just left Amazon with the light purchase, and I’m looking forward to that arriving, I already take an anti-depressant. But let’s look closer at my routine.
Routine helps me manage my depression
I live with dysthymia, a persistent type of depression that is there lingering in the background all of the time. I’m not a stranger to what it takes to manage a depressive episode because I have lived with it for so long. Time for me to be transparent: I haven’t been making the time to care for myself properly throughout this season, and I think that is part of the reason why SAD is kicking my butt so hard.
Like any routine, it is possible for our mental health routines to get stale, and for us to get sloppy about following them. I got out of sync with my therapy schedule, and so I haven’t been all month. I haven’t prioritized doing anything fun for myself, which is a project I started right before I caught COVID at Christmas and fell out of the habit. Let’s not talk about sleeping and eating, let’s just get back on the ball.
Taking my Tuesdays back from SAD
Here’s what I need to do in order to start getting my feet back under me again. And for me, it all centers around Tuesday, my day off.
For those of you who know me well or those who coach with me, you may have noticed that my schedule doesn’t give you the option to schedule anything with me on a Tuesday. If you’ve tried to email me to schedule a meeting, you’ve got the “I’m sorry, but I don’t work on Tuesdays message.” Let me tell you why: Tuesdays are René’s mental health day. The day when she goes to therapy addresses some of the things that are bothering her and does something fun.
Tuesdays are the day I pour into myself so that I can keep pouring out into all of the people I care for. My day off focuses on me, and it has several key components
- Go to therapy.
- Do something (anything) fun
- Get into something that inspires you.
But the fact is, I’ve fallen off.
Reestablishing my routine and rhythm
That means it’s time for a routine to get me back into a rhythm. Routine and I have a strained relationship. Too much structure and I hate it. Not enough structure and I’ll ignore it. I like routines just like the one above: simple, only about three steps. My friend Liz Lewis, over at Healthy ADHD often talks about how she has 3 tasks for the day, and I share this philosophy. I don’t need a day crammed with details I won’t remember about things I’ve probably guilt-tripped myself into getting involved with ( Guard Your Yes With Your Life, people.)
It is time for me to get out of these winter doldrums and into my steady routine. That means I’ve got to get my Tuesdays back on track. Right now? I’m using the Tiimo app to help me with that. I can create a routine that gives me the time of day that I need to do something, a checklist for the steps I need to complete the activity, and the ability to keep it all in one easy spot where I can personalize it with emojis and make it look cool.
How Tiimo is helping me with my routine
With this app, I have all three of my steps (and the little mini steps) in one place. I don’t have to scoot across several apps to do what I really need to be done. I can see the time I need to complete the task, the steps I need to complete the task, and what is coming next all in one place.
Anything that is reducing the amount of time I spend chasing information, keeping me moving along in a timely fashion, and gives me a tidy to-do list can’t be wrong. There’s a reason I’ve never recommended an app before: they’re all usually unwieldy and frustrating. Not the thing I want to deal with when I’m frustrated.
With Tiimo, when I’m done setting up my app I can move along with my life and do my routine – it’s already waiting for me.
Today I’m taking on seasonal depression. Imagine what Tiimo can do for the rest of your schedule.
Until next time,