The past month or so has been difficult. In addition to the stress of coming off antidepressants, which I didn’t expect to be so stressful, several minor events threw me off course. I couldn’t even turn to exercise, which I have been using to manage my mental health, because I injured my hip. My mood was affected and at times, it felt like the world was conspiring against me.
However, this week is a lot better. My hip has recovered enough for me to return to gym classes, so that has boosted my mood and put me back on track working towards my fitness goals. I think using the SAD lamp has helped a lot, too. It’s the kind of thing I don’t notice doing good until I do less of it and experience a corresponding drop in mood. My fiction writing is also going well and I’m doing some volunteer work again, both of which help me feel more purposeful.
I have realised that getting my mojo back isn’t about a dramatic change or a magical transformation. It is simply the accumulation of small actions.
Like Austin Powers, I had my mojo all along. I just need to access it through concentrating on self-care. I have to keep doing the things which help me manage my mental health, even when — no, especially when — I don’t feel like doing them. These actions may be small, but they still take a lot of effort when depression and anxiety set in. They may be small, but they are significant.
My self-care actions, in addition to the ones already mentioned, include:
• Getting outside, especially in woodland
• Spending time with my dog and cat
• Eating reguarly and as healthily as I can
• Reading novels and short stories
• Watching The Big Bang Theory
• Mindfulness meditation
• Scribbling down my feelings
• Watching tennis (and Andy Murray reaching number 1 helps!)
• Texting friends/seeing friends
The result of getting my mojo back is that I feel more motivated and have more energy. There is room for improvement, but compared to how I felt recently, it’s brilliant!
Again, this experience demonstrates the power of small actions when they accumulate. I find that very encouraging — not just in terms of mental health, but also how the principle can be applied to other aspects of life. You might not feel like you can do much to change things, but you can do something small. Keep taking small actions and you could change the world.