Week Three : Jeanette has it all together.

Load of laundry, music, some crafts the kids wanted me to see, water, computer, start planner, two phones and an ipad. This is what working from home looks like to me.

I almost always bite off more than I can chew. At this point last year I was running 5 different businesses and trying to manage our household with one little one in Kindergarten and one in Preschool. Most of the time I can handle this, but I also struggle a bit with depression. What this means for me specifically is that sometimes I go radio silent for 3 days and completely retreat away from anything and everything. Sometimes it’s so bad that all I can do is sit on the couch and continue to be alive. Sometimes it’s just a nagging pain in the background and I’m able to go through the motions of the day. I’ve been working through this for almost 15 years now. My mother works in the mental health field, and I’ve had a lot of people come along side me on this journey and teach me coping skills. Unfortunately, just like chicken noodle soup is a good way to cope with the flu, all of those coping skills just get me through the depression, they don’t actually remove it.

I’d like to share with you guys today 5 things that I do to get to the other side and to handle my day to day.

  1. Dedicated prayer time. This is more like someone with heart issues taking an aspirin a day. I set aside time every day to sit and speak to God. Personally, I like to journal. I’m a storyteller by nature, so it comes easily to me to scribble all my thoughts down. There’s no science to it. If you’d like to do it too my recommendation would be to just start. Grab a new moleskin from staples, put the date on the top of your first paper and just start writing. Sometimes I have nothing to write. On those days I will draw, or list my friends that need prayer. Other times I’ll write the verses that stuck out to me that day. A lot of times I cry. Almost every time, I ask for and receive peace for my day.
  2. Plan. I love my start planner. I have this one in the academic year spiral bound version. If you’ve spent any time with me at all then I’ve told you about it. It’s my lifeboat. I’ve found that I can muster up the energy to do the tasks I need to most bad days, but only if I have already told myself to do them. I write my top three things that must get done in the little box, and then I block out my hours for the rest of the week. I also do most of my meal planning here. I have some very productive days each month, and usually I’ll use those days to plan out what I want depressed Jeanette to accomplish. It’s a checks and balances type thing.

3. Systematize. Along the lines of organization, I do the same chores on the same day each week. Monday is my work hustle day, so I work on business every Monday (and blog, now.) Tuesday I clean the bathrooms. Wednesday I vacuum. Thursday is sheet washing day. Fridays-Sundays we’re usually shooting or doing some other work related thing so those don’t have bigger tasks, but every day but Sunday I run a load of laundry to completion. (This means from washer to drawers. I know it’s crazy, but I have to use my stubborn and push to get it all the way done or it won’t get done at all.)

4. Quit. I’ve learned that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it. If it doesn’t light me up, or serve my family in some way I need to either quit it or outsource it. (This doesn’t apply to things like kids ministry, which totally does not light me up but God has asked us to sacrifice in doing with joy anyways.) With a lot of prayer, I think we will receive guidance about what to push forward in (wedding photography, the venue, being good parents) and what to say no to.

5. Go to the beach. Or just get out of the house. For me, this relies a lot on having a fantastic husband who will be a total jerk to me because he knows what I need. There are exceptions to this, but 90% of the time, if I leave the house and have a something else to think about my mind forgets how much it wants to die. It’s hard, but dwelling on your feelings is almost never helpful. So once or twice a year, when he can tell I’m really struggling, Josh will get all the kids and the bag packed and tell me to get my shoes on and get in the car. The trick here (if you’re a person who loves a depressed person.) is that I don’t have to do anything except convince myself to get into the car. Josh never tells me to “cheer up.” He just gets us to the beach, or my grandparents house, or the mall.

I hope this has been helpful. I’ve learned over the past 15 years that you can’t just tell a person with depression “it’s going to be ok.” just like you can’t tell a person with a broken leg to “just get up and walk.” You also can’t allow depression to control and ruin your life. So I’ll keep falling down, and keep failing, and then I’ll keep getting back up again and fail forward.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

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