I didn’t plan on taking a short break away from blogging.
I did however decide not to write my “welcome October” post back on the first. Typically when a new month arrives I choose optimism, to talk about and focus on whatever is coming my way. However, October came right on the heels of a depressive episode that left me emotionally spent and physically exhausted. There was no way I was going to write some rah-rah post when getting up and showering was a challenge. Or when daily life was physically painful. I may be many things, but fake isn’t one of them.
My doctor’s appointment is on Wednesday. Only two more days to go and I’m looking forward to getting some help, as well as the annual check up. But while I wait for that day, I wanted to make a conscious effort to heal on my own in October. I came up with a goal to dedicate the first ten days of October to doing something productive – either being active to counteract exhaustion and all the achiness, to eat something healthy at home to keep myself from spending money on fast food that would only make me sick, or to clean something in my apartment that has fallen into disarray.
It’s not a self-care 30 day challenge like you see on social media, of cutesy little calendars that instruct you to take a bubble bath one day or buy yourself flowers mid-month. I’m not even calling it a soul care thing either. Put simply, it’s a chill-out-and-get-back-to-basics-so-I-can-stop-going-crazy thing.
I finally ran an errand up north I’ve been needing to do for over a month. While I was up there, I decided to go explore at Stratford Ecological Center. I didn’t realize they were having a harvest festival, and I got to wander around the barns and feed the goats. I also wandered along the hiking trails in the woods at Stratford, and then made two more hiking stops to Shale Hollow Run and Highbanks Metro Park, where I hiked along the Olentangy River.
The first day was a “dead” day, meaning that I was just coming off the tail end of a depressive episode that left me exhausted and only wanting to sleep. I even debated going home after my errand, but decided since I was already up there, I might as well go to Stratford and get some fresh air. This was a wonderful idea and got my energy back up.
The first Sundays of the month are Community Days at Franklin Park Conservatory. I woke up feeling the impact of my hiking adventures in my calves, but my energy levels were still up and I figured I might as well take advantage of a beautiful day to go to the conservatory (first Sundays are also free for Franklin County residents.)
I did, and it was glorious.
The biomes inside the conservatory are always a source of calm and inspiration no matter how many times I walk through them. One of the pods was sprouting from the cacao tree in the rainforest biome, and the koi were active in the pond of the Himalayan Mountain biome. I have a habit of taking too many pictures whenever I’m there, but if I was taking a lot inside, I knew I’d be a bit of a nut once I got outside to the garden for Harvest Blooms.
I really don’t think I need to talk too much about the gardens. Pictures are always worth a thousand words.
October 3rd -7th
One of my big goals for the week was to get back into two habits: exercising in the morning, to keep my energy levels up and my mood calm throughout the work day, and making an effort to read again. While I was running my errands on the first, I decided to buy a new book. It’s easy for me to pick up several books from the library that look interesting, tell myself I’m going to read them, and then do absolutely no such thing. But if I buy a book, I’m going to read that as soon as I get home and actually finish it.
My morning exercise goal was an hour on the elliptical each day, doing HIIT training until I burned 500 calories in my session. On Monday and Tuesday I reached 500. By Wednesday, I wanted to see if I could up the ante a bit and go above 500. I didn’t have a set number in mind, but I did wind up exercising to 550. That was it – I was committed to reaching 550 calories burned on Thursday and Friday. So I got up, got to the gym and got it done. I’m not running or lifting currently, and I’m thinking next week will be the earliest before I re-introduce those into my routine. But for now, the elliptical has been my saving grace for all those stupid little aches and pains I’ve been dealing with, as well as an easy way to get back into the old habit.
The book of choice is Meredith Atwood’s The Year of No Nonsense: How to Get Over Yourself and On with Your Life. I’m a little over halfway through and as soon as I’m finished I’m writing a review on here, so I don’t want to go into too much detail right now. But I will say seven chapters in Meredith is hilarious, a delight to read and I’ve had a couple of times where I’ve thought Holy crap, this is me. In a word, it’s incredible.
October 8th and 9th
I went home this past weekend to visit my folks and Grandma. It was a good weekend, as well as our usual busy one. One of my new favorite hobbies is hitting up Giant Eagle and picking up exotic Columbus brands to bring home to my folks (I’m being goofy with my choice in adjective right now.) In honor of the Columbus Italian Festival being this past weekend – and because Mom requested it – I picked up some Carfagna’s past sauce, specifically the Pomodoro Basilico. Mom had asked if I could pick up the meat lover’s sauce, since I brought that home last time and my folks loved it, but the specific Giant Eagle I was at didn’t have the meat sauces, so Pomodoro Basilico would do.
However, since I live for any reason to go to Giant Eagle and seem to have no problem spending money (and forgot to pick up the cinnamon rolls I promised at the first store), I made a pit stop at the Giant Eagle near my workplace. I picked up the cinnamon rolls as well as the meat lover’s sauce, and noticed a jar of Carfagna’s Little Meatballs sauce.
My folks have three jars of pasta sauce to work through.
Our weekend included a trip to the Chinese buffet, eating too damn much, me trying to befriend their puppy (baby steps were made) and visiting Grandma on Sunday before heading back to Columbus.
Because I’m stupid and had a burst of energy, I decided to deep clean my bathroom Sunday night once I got home. I made myself a little sick on the bleach, but my bathtub hasn’t looked so white in a long time. Totally worth it, even if my nose disagreed with me.
This brings me to today. My apartment is clean, both inside and on the patio. I had a slow but good day working from home. After the first ten days being busy, today was a quiet day before some kind of ruckus will find its way back to me.
The point of the past ten days was to get some sense of order back into my life and in the process to get back to the simpler version of myself. Before grief moved in and I was battling depressive episodes, before I felt and knew I was out of control with stress eating, spending money on crap I still don’t care about for that dopamine hit, and generally focusing on the hard parts of my life. I know ten days is not enough to magically transform life into some wonderful oasis of never-any-heartache. But it’s a start to somewhere calmer, more peaceful and productive again. I’ll take that.
So my friends, I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. May you take a day or two or ten to re-center yourself and feel like the authentic you again.
Yours in writing and walking through life,