Moping and Coping

Moping and Coping

The weather here is typical for April in Colorado.  Gorgeous and sunny one day, snowing and freezing and gray the next.  After sixteen years here I should be used to the volatility, but it still catches me off guard and throws me off my game...

I have a fairly serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and lack of sunlight does bad things to my state of mind in the fall and winter, probably more so in the springtime when I am not as diligent about my SAD management.  A few sunny days and I stop thinking I need my routine.  Adding PD stress to the mix is a recipe for disaster. 

My thoughts this week are on regrouping when you feel your control starting to slip out of your grasp.  Lots of us have been dealing with some type of stressor for so long (whether it is PD caregiving or SAD or something else) that we KNOW when we are sliding toward the abyss.  It's almost a physical feeling and you know if you don't snap out of it you will have a day or two of laying in bed with no energy, getting nothing accomplished.   I thought I would share some of my coping strategies, and would love for everyone to share what works for them.  I'm hoping we can learn from each other and get some tools to add to the anti-stress arsenal.

My toolkit:

1.  Vitamin D, Vitamin D, and a little more Vitamin D.  Seriously, get your Vitamin D levels checked out.  I found out years back that mine was very low, and I have supplemented ever since.  It made a HUGE difference for me.  I make sure to take this with K2, as too much Vitamind D increases the amount of calcium your body can absorb, and the K2 will make sure that calcium goes to the right places like bones and teeth and not to places like your arteries.

2.  B Vitamins.  I have MTHFR deficiency along with a few other methylation mutations, and L-Methylfolate and B-12 plus a general B supplement are critical for me to avoid depression. 

3.  A Happy Light.  Using this for about 30 minutes a day in the winter gives me a better start in the morning.  I have this one.

4.  Exercise.  We need this as much as our Parkies!  I try to get a workout in 3-4 times per week.  I have been incredibly lucky the past few years to have an amazing gym two minutes from the house, with great early morning hours.  I got my workout in first thing in the morning and got it done, and had the rest of the day free.  My gym has closed down recently, so now I am getting the opportunity to try lots of other things that have popped up around me in the last few years. In the past two months I have done CrossFit, yoga, spinning, TRX, and Barre classes. I will likely end up with a combination of something CrossFit-like, with some yoga in between . The yoga classes I have been to in the past few weeks have been amazing at taking me out of my head for an hour and allowing me to stop thinking about everything else.  There are also a ton of online subscriptions now for yoga that make it very easy to do at home. 

5.  Prioritzing the list of S*HIT That Has to Be Done.  There is only so much room in my brain, and some things must slide.  I can live with some slightly messy landscaping.  But, I have to have a clean kitchen each night for when I wake up in the morning, or my day starts off frazzled.  Make a list of what must be done.  Now, remove a bunch of stuff that doesn't really matter right now.  Leave only the things that will make you feel better once they are done.  ANY accomplishment is going to make you feel better.  Stressing over doing ALL of it is not going to serve you.

6.  Find a hobby that does not involve your phone or tablet or computer (she says as she manages a  blog that everyone is reading on a phone or tablet or computer!).  A few years ago I really started to feel like I was staring at my phone WAY too much.  I started rug hooking, and now I have a small hobby that is the most soothing activity you can imagine.  I can sit on the couch with a project and some music and NO SCREEN and I can feel all my little gray cells release one by one.   Small things..... Write in a journal.  Plant some tulips.  Buy a zoo pass and go sit and stare at giraffes and elephants for awhile. :)

I know we have people here who are in a more constrained situation than I am - you have small people at home to take care of, you have multiple caregiving responsibilities going on, you work from 5 AM to 3AM every day with two hours left to eat, sleep, and breathe.  Nobody's 'toolkit' is going to look the same, because we are all snowflakes.  I'm lucky enough that my baby is 17 now and really independent.  I don't have to change diapers or do school pickup or fold 16 loads of laundry a day (my kid does his own laundry - I recommend teaching that skill early on, lol!)  Find what works for YOU.  All the things I listed above came about one at a time, over a number of years.  Pick one and get moving!

I also wanted to let everyone know how grateful I am for all the comments and encouragement.  I can't respond as quickly or as often personally as I would like, but I am reading them.  YOU are all the reason we are doing the blog, so thank you for hanging out with us!