I have to take the time to celebrate small things. There are times, like in depression, I feel as if I can’t celebrate anything at all, and that is where I started picking up the habit.
Get out of bed? Celebrate.
I grew up in the 4-H club program, I trained dogs for something like 8 years. Each breed is different, but I quickly learned that training the dogs I had with a treat (as a reward for doing the right thing) instead of with punishment (for bad behavior) worked wonders.
Since my big depressive episode last year I’ve been trying to take that approach with myself a little bit.
Clean the kitchen? Get to play video games for two hours.
Thankfully things haven’t reached the point where I’m bribing myself to do everything for a while. I’ve been motivated enough to get things done for the most part, but I’ve been taking the opportunity to celebrate little victories none the less.
I have a tendency to balloon up when I’m depressed, and I know there are other factors (my job, medications, physical illness, Chinese New Year (candy candy!)) that have contributed but I can honestly say the only times in my life I’ve ever gained weight was when I have been depressed.
Go the whole day without stuffing my face with chocolate? Have one chocolate.
When I popped up out of depression this last time I kept waiting for the crest of the wave to break. When it finally did, I expected the weight to recede (the way it has done in the past) but instead it seemed to linger. I wasn’t gaining weight at the ridiculous speed I was previously, but it also wasn’t abating. It just… sat there, the highest digits I’ve reached so far in my life.
I don’t own a scale. I don’t like them. I don’t want to think about how much I weigh, and for the most part I don’t. I don’t even really feel any less attractive when I weigh more, I just get upset that nothing I own that is cute fits.
Put on something other than sweatpants? Go out and have a cocktail!
It becomes a dance I do. Do I buy more clothes to fit my new, larger body? Or do I hold out with the few things I have while I wait for things to recede? I don’t have much money, so I’ve been holding out on adding to the wardrobe. I can get away with wearing the same 3 dresses to work each week, right?
Yesterday was laundry day.
Do laundry? Um, you’re rewarded with clean clothes to put on your body!
I can’t do laundry when it is convenient, I always wait until I have worn literally everything I would even consider wearing over the course of the day. Of course, that makes it fun, because then I’m going to go do laundry on the 4th floor of my building wearing the weirdest crap ever. The only things that aren’t dirty are the things that don’t make any sense together, whatsoever.
Yesterday I opened my “pants” drawer hoping to find a skirt or something I could throw on to do laundry. I spied one of the 5 pairs of jeans that don’t quite fit anymore and threw my arms up in resignation.
I tried one of them on.
Fit in your old jeans? Do a happy jig!
Maybe it was those 4 flights of stairs I’ve been going up and down each time I need to do a load of laundry? Or the loads of vegetables I’ve been eating. Or the fact that I practically have to put mountain climbing gear on to get groceries to my apartment at the top of a huge hill. Regardless, it was the BEST little victory I’ve achieved in a while!