Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming!

This year has been a mess like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 59 years of living!  The world is changing so fast and there seems to be so many more dangers than there were when this year began.  Deadly mysterious viruses, broken economy, violence, natural disasters, and opportunists looming in the background to take advantage of this bad situation. I know that we’ll all come through this, but it is really tough some days to keep one’s chin up and maintain a positive attitude. I think we can all agree on that! 

So, how does one stay positive, maintain faith in a good and gentle God, and keep on being a good, compassionate, hardworking, gentle-spirited peaceful person?  There are many ways employed to do it, but for myself, I read scripture, pray, work on improving myself by following a new career path, reading, and crocheting like a crazy woman! (I have a new grand baby arriving in 7 days and I can hardly wait! Hence the mad crocheting. I have things I want to get to my kids before Little Miss arrives. Can you say cute booties, caps, and cuddle blankets?) 

One thing I’ve learned through the years is that action is key to maintaining a healthy outlook and moving forward. I’ve had chronic low-grade depression all my adult life. I take antidepressants, which help immensely, but I learned a long time ago that when I feel like just curling up into myself with my thoughts and low feelings, that is when I need to get up and move!  I need to physically move, be active, get outside for some sunshine and fresh air (wearing sunscreen), and shake up my complacent world! Sometimes just vacuuming the house can be therapeutic. When I was younger, I would rearrange the furniture in my house (and sometimes my office), deep clean, reorganize things in my environment, and feel like a new woman! When I finally realized what my furniture rearranging was all about (movement, exertion, sweat, and imagination), I knew I had clicked into a way to stave off depression, stay physically fit, and be healthier all the way around.

Does that mean that everyone should rearrange their house or office furniture to stave off depression and anxiety? No! Everyone has their own key to keeping themselves out of depression and anxiety. You just have to find that key for yourself! What gets your heart pumping, your imagination firing, and your face determined?  What makes YOU smile?

One way I’ve found to figure myself out is to write in a journal frequently. Getting all my frustrations, hurts, confusion, and life situations down on paper by physically writing them down performs a miracle for me. It clears my head and my heart. It also gives me a map of the path I need to take in my life. I know writing isn’t the way for everyone. Perhaps drawing, painting, singing, taking a walk, taking a drive, house repairs, or building something is the best way for you to clear your head. As long as there is physical movement and some space for you to think your way clear through your confusion and anxiety, it is good! 

If you are a person of faith, keep connecting to that faith through prayer, study, and meditation. Keep your mind focused on what is good, pure, healthy, and positive and you will find peace.  

I’ve jabbered on enough this morning. I hope I’ve inspired some of you with a few of the ways I fight off depression and anxiety. Remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Life never sits still. It is always changing. These dark times won’t last forever. Good times will return. Until then, hold on, find what works for you, and just do it!  (Sorry Nike!)  

I love you all and want you to be happy, healthy, and free from anxiety.  Until next time, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming!

Dory (Like the little blue fish.)

2020–Catching Up

I know I’m writing nothing original here when I say that this year has been at least half a lifetime, or at least ten years long! All previous natural rhythms of seasons, time, and life were disrupted back in March and still haven’t been restored. I think eventually we will get back to a more natural routine, but I seriously doubt if we ever return to what we had, did, or were before.

So! How you doin’? Has the uniqueness of this year made you crazy yet? Have some good things come of it for you? If so, are you grateful? Or is it all just a dark gray glob of confusion? I sincerely hope not on that last option!

It is strange to me that my life has never been so restrictive before, but I feel more free than I have in decades! I’ve had time to quiet myself–body, mind, and soul. I’ve become reacquainted with myself and my family. I’ve had fun doing it too! I’m even retooling myself for a new career. How about those apples? Pretty cool I think!

Before the stay-at-home orders were put in place, I was an in-home caregiver to older clients, clients with dementia, and hospice clients. I LOVED my work. I’d been doing it for about 5 years and found it very rewarding and fulfilling all while helping others to live their very best lives through their final days or years. I met some of the most incredible people who taught me so very much about life. If I told even half of their stories, I promise you’d be weeping with joy, sorry, and newly gained wisdom. Unfortunately, I can’t share their stories. That would be a violation of their privacy and HIPPA laws. I can say this, however. Aging doesn’t have to be a downer. Even terminal illnesses and death don’t have to be downers. If approached with courage, strength, and wisdom, any of those things can be something that enriches our human experience and life itself. I’ve learned that from all the beautiful people I’ve had the great fortune and blessing of meeting, serving, and loving.

My last day of caregiving was March 16, 2020. On that day, my last hospice client finally got to go to heaven and see her beloved husband again. Also, my veteran client’s family decided it was too risky to have someone coming into their house twice a week while COVID-19 was in the air. I completely understood and was relieved to tell the truth.

Sunflowers are my favorite!

The fact is that I’m getting a little older myself and caregiving is a younger person’s job. Younger, stronger, more physically energetic people are need to fulfill client needs. Let’s face it, I’ve never been buff or big and lifting, moving, and aiding adults is very taxing on the body. I’m not a wimp by any means, but facts are facts. A 58-year-old body cannot do what a 28-year-old body can! And that’s ok! We have seasons throughout our life and my caregiving season came to an end.

What am I going to do now, you ask. Well, I’m going to start a freelance proofreading career! It is something I can always do at home, wherever home may be. I can take on as many or as few clients as I wish. I can do the work anywhere, anytime, or any place as long as I have an internet connection until senility starts sinking in, which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time yet.

So! Life is good and God is great! I know some people get really annoyed at my little miss merry sunshine approach to life. Believe me, sometimes I have to dig really deep to dredge up some sunshine, but I can tell you this. It is always, always worth it to call forth the sunshine! Sunshine sheds light on what improvements can be made to ourselves and to our lives. Sunshine heals our spirits. Sunshine is healthy! It gives us a big boost of vitamin D that can literally lift our spirits. So, sunshine, here I am!

I love all of you and pray you and your family have been spared from the COVID-19 plague. I pray you’ve been blessed with stability, family, friends, and connections this year. I pray you’re keeping your chin up and meeting the challenges of this year with a smile and sunshine.