There are a couple of reasons that I find it hard to write posts, especially lately, and both relate to mental health.
First, I can back track to when I was doing well. I had healthy habits and a routine. Each day, I’d wake up early and write.
Then I’d do some things on social media. Then I’d start the process of waking up the family and getting them started on their morning routines, along with getting ready for my work day.
Fast forward eight hours, and taking care of the kids after school, I’d then make more time for myself – to do my daily exercise and run, or focus on my education.
I did this every day for eight weeks, and on the ninth week, I had a health scare. Recuperating from the scare meant I had to limit my exercise.
By limit, I mean stop completely.
I also needed to rest… a lot.
All of my regular healthy habits and routines were gone. Just like that.
My day job hasn’t been the easiest, so my stress levels have been higher, and therefore the focus on my health has been even more imperative, lest I have another scare.
No Healthy Habits, No Emotion
I worked so hard on my healthy habits routine to the point where it was no longer work and it was just life.
I was doing so great and then told to stop/change. Now I’m in the biggest funk ever and have no motivation.
When I’m down, I’m emotionless.
I feel as though I have nothing to write, and if I start writing about being depressed, it will no doubt just bring everyone else down too.
Yes, talking about your mental health is super important. We won’t be able to end the stigma if we can’t openly discuss the issues.
When I talk about them, I choose to discuss in the past tense so that I can focus on the positive outcome and how I got there.
Here’s what happened; here’s how I beat it.
When I’m down, all I have to offer is ‘here’s what happened.’
There’s no motivation in that for anyone else, and so there’s no motivation for me to write.
When there’s no motivation to write, there’s no motivation to sit at the computer.
Alright, well I’m the queen of self-discipline and willpower. I can sit at my desk and write a blog post if it kills me. I just need to do it.
So I do.
And I stare blankly.
There’s nothing I want to write. I can talk about my problems but I don’t have any solutions and so I just sit and stare.
On Being Too Hard on Myself
I’m trying really hard to focus on the task at hand, but then I just start thinking about everything.
- What can I write?
- What outcome will it have?
- What message do I want to send?
- Who will read?
- What will they think?
- How will their opinions affect me?
While I’m trying to focus on one thing, I ultimately focus on everything, hence losing focus altogether.
I’m trying to help end the stigma surrounding mental health. I’m trying to help people cope with their anxiety and depression.
I’m trying but not succeeding.
I had to sit and think about what caused this ‘writer’s block’ – I know the answer is depression, but I want to dig deeper.
What caused the depression?
The health scare? Not really.
It turns out I have the forum to discuss my health scare right here, and I’ll go into that in more detail in posts to come.
I think it was changing and reducing my habits.
It wasn’t so much that I had made a habit to write each morning, and therefore I wrote, although that was a big part of it.
It was that I gave up everything. My eight-week challenge was done and so I stopped working out.
I promised to take only one week off before starting again, but the health scare put a change in my plan.
As I’m writing this, it’s been nearly a month since I stopped working out, and this past month, I’ve written maybe two new posts. Maybe.
Everything else had been banked from when I was writing more regularly and I’m running out of posts in the bank!
I also had a meal plan in the past, and now that’s gone too. I have started eating healthy again, but I no longer have the ‘no cheat’ rule, and so I cheat.
I mean a small cheat in comparison, but still. I’ll go all day eating clean, and then have a small bowl of ice cream for dessert.
It’s possible that that ice cream is not doing any harm to my body, but I beg to differ. It’s loaded with lactose and refined sugar, and neither is digested well.
For me, I should not eat it at all. If I am going to indulge in a small bowl of ice cream, it should come at the end of a week of no cheats, not a day of no cheats.
The reward means more if you work up to it, and I haven’t been doing that at all.
There goes another healthy habit.
For a while, I even stopped carrying around my 3L water bottle. I reverted back to drinking only 1L per day. At most.
*Side note: I’ve been drinking 3L per day for the month of May, so that’s back in check.
The bottom line is, for every healthy habit that I quit, the harder it became for me to write. The harder it became for me to convince myself to get back at it.
I lost my willpower along with my daily routine.
Healthy habits are everything!
As of May 1st, I started a bullet journal. I’m still getting used to this and don’t really have enough information or time now to explain it, but I will.
So far, I’ve been using the journal to track just a few things daily: my water intake, step goal, and a sleep log – as I’m trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
By tracking it, I’ve noticed that I am keeping myself accountable. I’m going to add in other healthy habits as well – I’m just figuring out how to track it in a creative way.
That’s the other thing about a bullet journal, it’s allowing me to be creative.
I don’t just write the number of litres of water I drank, or the number of steps I took in a day – I colour in pictures I’ve drawn, so that at the end of the month, I should have a colourful page.
Right now, it’s just a bar graph with some fun pictures I drew in the margin, but soon, I’ll be braver and draw pictures to colour in.
Think: a gumball machine, where each circle of gum coloured in is a successful day of whatever I’m tracking.
In theory, at the end of the month, I should have 30-31 colourful gumballs in the machine.
If I miss a day, I don’t get to colour, and then at month end, I will have one empty circle. No one wants an empty circle.
See what I did there? Not only am I keeping myself accountable, but I’m motivating myself to complete pictures, and therefore, do my healthy habits.
Healthy habits = more motivation = less depression = more productivity.
Even though it took a full week to write this one post, I completed it. Now that I have my motivation back, I’m going to start writing again.
That is my commitment to you. Hold me accountable.
Email me and ask me how it’s going, or challenge me with writing topics, or just say hello. The more I commit to writing, the more I will write.
Fancy concept. I know.
It’s not just about writing though, it’s about beating depression. If I’m depressed, I won’t write. So I need to cure the problem.
Healthy habits are the solution to that very draining problem. Create healthy habits. Track them.
Watch your life change.