Mental Health · Monthly Reflection

February 2019 {monthly reflection}

I admit I was eager to get through January, but as soon as we entered February, I wanted it over too. More on that in a moment.

I have to point this out. This is the ninth month in which I’ve blogged only as a personal reflection instead of a specific topic aimed at informing/educating or helping people. These posts have become a way for me to reflect on what I’ve been thinking and doing, as well as items I want to work on or achieve. They have become quite satisfying for me and I see no harm in publishing them with the intent that they may somehow be of benefit to someone. But what I truly intend to do is to get back to writing about other topics in addition to monthly reflections. So I feel that by announcing this, I hope to be kept accountable.

Okay, moving onto February’s reflection…

It started out just like any other month. I was relieved to turn the calendar page and felt hopeful about the upcoming weeks ahead. The first few days went by and the weather became quite cold. But that’s winter, right? No. It was really, really cold. With the temperature being somewhat milder than most winters in Canada, and that of Central Alberta where I reside, it was a shock to feel temperatures -40 degrees Celsius again. Father Winter came to visit and he was not pleasant.

I know much of the world laughs at Canadians for talking about the weather so much. But I think the reason we do is that it affects what we think and how we feel. The weather can be powerful! People are happier on sunny days than they are when it’s cold outside. So I think it’s safe to say that the weather affects us more than we realize. This is important because I have finally realized how important sunshine is to me. And the continual lack of it in the winter can be quite daunting.

Here’s where I tell you I crashed. It was still within the first week of February when something came over me, and my emotions became heavy. I had little interest in anything and zero capacity within. Life as I knew it felt extremely challenging as if breathing were a task to check off the to-do list. All I wanted to do was sleep. Cry. And eat. And sleep.

Thankfully I have a great support system (family, friends, coworkers and an incredible boyfriend, and even people I’ve never met through Twitter and Instagram) and have made changes where necessary. Here are the highlights of my month:

Mind

I needed a distraction from winter. Night after night and weekend after weekend, my off-work time was incredibly cold making it difficult to get outside. Even going out for a brisk walk was out of the question. “Cabin fever” is a real thing, my friends. It became clear to me early on that I needed a small mental distraction and so I purchased a 500-piece puzzle. While I have assisted other people with their puzzles in the past, I have never owned a puzzle with the exception of some cartoon ones when I was a kid. So a 500-piece puzzle felt like an attainable goal that would also help to distract me from the weather.

I must admit, I felt genuinely happy to work on that puzzle. I was eager to finish it. I became invested in it.

It felt great to put organization to the mess of pieces and it was beautiful to watch the image grow before me. I finished it quite quickly and found myself wanting to paint. After having participated in a PaintNite with two girlfriends in January, my boyfriend and I signed up for a session together and it turned out to be a great time! Time flew by as we mixed colours and painted our canvases. I ended up purchasing paints and blank canvases afterwards to use whenever I feel inspired. Both the painting and the puzzle really helped to relax my brain in an incredible way. I intend to continue with both of these, especially in the winter months.

Body

I’ve always been a fan of taking vitamins. They’re a quick and convenient way to get additional nutrients into your body.  I’m aware there are arguments and data that indicates they aren’t effective. But I swear, that’s the thing about vitamins; is that it’s hard to tell they’re working until you stop taking them.

I realized I stopped taking vitamins throughout the month of January, and that seemed to affect me more than I realized it would. I stopped for no other reason than procrastination. Rather, I moved in January and did not put emphasis on unpacking my vitamins and continuing with my daily routine. It has been interesting to note how continuing with vitamins has aided me in a number of ways. My body is thankful for them. I can just feel it!

Soul

I felt the best when I went inward this month. I slowed down… way down. I allowed myself to hibernate and paint, and do things that I felt like doing. I admit that a lot of that was sleeping and watching Netflix, but it felt genuinely good to do so. I paid attention to my thoughts, my feelings, my sleep routine and food. I ate a lot of food. All of this made me feel joy though. I’m at a point in my life where I refuse to limit my joy. If I feel like doing something, I’m going to do it. I mean, this has limits of course. Until the day I win the lottery (which is soon, by the way 😉 ), I will continue to go inwards, to allow myself to feel and adjust my thoughts or actions accordingly. Heck, I’ll still do that after I win the lottery. What I’m saying is that I will allow myself to look for little things in life that bring me joy and focus on that instead of anything else. Some days, that joy is a pillow. Other days, it’s socializing with friends. It’s all about balance, and my soul is happy to oblige.

Songs on Repeat

 

Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

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