Today was one of those days where I woke up feeling down. I think it has to do with a number of recent activities, like having to coordinate the upcoming Mother’s Day activities, which sometimes dredges up unexpected childhood memories or family dynamics, and thinking about the illness of a close family member. My own frustration with Project X doesn’t help either; neither does an email from a placement agency requesting a list of references, another reminder that I am someone without a career at the moment (even though it’s by choice, it is still at times a difficult adjustment).
What I have learned from past experiences is that the best way to combat a downhill spiral is to make a plan (and to reach out, which I did by texting Ms. Sunshine, who as usual was full of reassuring words). Sometimes, I find it easier to have a simple to-do list. This is what I scribbled onto a piece of paper:
- Tape up closet doors. (Prep closet doors with painter’s tape for spray painting later.)
- Email W re essay. (Review application essay and provide feedback)
- Fold laundry.
- Wash dishes. (Was too tired to wash last night.)
- Roast kohlrabi. (Unexpected find at local produce store; been meaning to make it.)
- Email references.
The reason that these lists/plans work for me is that they give my brain something to focus on. It worked, but only progressively. By the time 5 p.m. rolled around, I was at least able to lace up for a run at Sawyer Camp (having completed many of the tasks on my list). The run was exhilarating but tough – several times I felt crushed by sadness thinking about the sick family member, and I just wanted to sit down on the trail and cry. But each time I pushed through, telling myself, “just a little farther.” In the end, I finished my 2 miles without stopping more than once or twice. It’s not far, especially compared to my marathon training days, but it felt really good to push myself again, both physically and mentally.
When I got home, AK was doing his own workout on our elliptical machine. He said I inspired him to get on! By then I was back to being in a good mood (those endorphins always kick in). It’s a reminder to me that it is always important to push through, no matter how dark my mood, and to reach out to the trusted inner circle for encouragement.
Oh, and here’s a picture of the roasted kohlrabi sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, which we paired with the Mexican chicken AK made over the weekend (coincidentally, on Cinco de Mayo!). Both were very tasty!