Here are a few strategies I am trying to adopt (or re-adopt) to get back on top of my stress and prevent further depression.
1. Reading time. I need 20 to 30 minutes at the end of each day to unwind with a book. Right now, I am re-reading George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga (you may know it as “Games of Thrones”). It’s very comforting.
2. Sleep. I am trying very hard to go to bed at 10 p.m., no later. It’s difficult to “be done” by then, but I am trying to honor it, Sunday through Thursday. On the weekends, all bets are off, although I tend to let myself sleep later (ha ha, 7 a.m. is later!) and, heck, if I can I grab a short nap. (That doesn’t happen often, but it’s something I’m often on the lookout for.)
3. Going to church. I have a confession: Some Sundays, I don’t get my butt to church. But I’m discovering that going to church for me is like a reset button: I get to unload my concerns and prayers, and start the week a little lighter. So I’m re-prioritizing it to Number One thing to do on Sunday.
Other things on the table: therapy — as space to help me see my way ahead, to plan; an in-home nanny for the summer, as a way to make mornings easier, and change up my after-work time, make it more about being with the children than lots of pickup/driving time; the continual search for a different career path; time with friends, even if it’s just one friend for a couple hours during the week; and (possibly) getting back into the poetry writing scene. That last one is probably the most challenging.