My post on December 31 of 2017, detailing my mental health for that year has turned out to be one of the most read items I’ve shared. I’ve been receiving a lot of feedback online and in- person. This post acts as a follow up to that. Hopefully, it will answer some questions.
It’s the end of January and I feel really good. I have strung together two or three really solid weeks of feeling positive, hopeful, and resilient. I’ll run through the same categories and score myself for the month.
Seeking Resources on Mental Health- A (from an A-)
I’ve continued seeing the counselor. I’ve ordered a couple new books. I began looking into the Wim Hof method of breathing and cold therapy to see if there’s something more to it than media buzz. I began seeing an integrative medicine specialist, and I booked an appointment for some energy work.
Purposeful Work- A (from a B)
As my health improves, my mental clarity is also improving. I feel more confident and content in my workplace. I believe it is having a positive effect on my work environment.
Hobbies- D (from a C)
Still stinking it up on this one. I’ve not jammed or built anything this month. I’ve done no garden planning, though I do have a lead on doing some garden work in a local state park. I’ve been writing and managing this site again, which has been the one saving grace. But, I haven’t found the time and concentration to put out a big interview on Islam and hardcore that was completed last year. I’m giving myself and F in February if it isn’t out by the end of the month.
Light Exposure- B (from a B)
I’m keeping this the same. Light box use in the morning has been regular, and I am trying to get outside during daylight hours when I’m not in the classroom. I could do better.
Sleep- B+ (from a B)
I’m starting to shorten those extra long nights of sleep. I’m feeling pretty well rested most days.
Meditation- B+ (from a B)
Still doing a little every day and an hour on Sundays. Trying some new breathing techniques. (Still falling asleep sometimes.)
Reducing Rumination- A (from a B)
I really haven’t found myself getting stuck in negative thought patterns.
I attribute part of the success to deleting social media from my smart phone. I spend a lot less time scrolling. I’m not saying social media is a bad thing. It has its uses. But, I was using it in a way that drained my energy and negatively impacted my mood.
Regular Medical Care A (from a B)
See: Seeking Resources on Mental Health above.
Also, I’ll be getting some detailed lab work done next month. I’m looking forward to that.
Socializing- B (from a D)
The new schedule I made for myself has probably helped most in this area. I’ve spent more child-free time with friends this month than I did the entire year of 2017- probably double the amount I did in 2017. I’ve taken walks, ice skated, had multiple coffee chats, and did some of that aforementioned Wim Hof stuff.
My wife and I have spent a little time alone. Usually our “alone” time involves one of us holding the baby. It’s still been good. The three of us have binged a lot of Netflix after the big boys are asleep. We also joined our hometown’s second Women’s March and did some home organization work.
Exercise- C (from a D)
I’ve had some onsets of allergic reactions while exercising, which has kept me pretty well sidelined. But, I have been making efforts.
Nutrition- B (from a C)
Still navigating the new additions to my diet. Starting to reduce the amount of supplementation with the guidance of a doctor. Haven’t quite solved acid reflux and potential food allergy issues.
Making Family Time Count- B+ (from a B)
I’m less distracted by social media. We’re finding things to watch, read, listen to, and play together. The baby is really expanding his emotional responses. We’ve hit the outdoors when it’s not too cold. We did some unusual things for January in Wisconsin, including a couple bike rides and a backyard fire. We played Sequence for the first time.
I’d like to spend some more time with my in-laws. I usually stay home and work while the rest of my family goes to visit. Getting over there would involve me ratcheting up my efficient use of time, which would probably be a good thing.
Overall Grade: B (from a C)
This B grade feels great for a couple reasons. First off, it means I can connect significant improvement in my well-being with changes that have taken place. Second, it leaves room for growth. I am doing dismally in some areas, but I know how I can start to shore up some of the trouble spots. From the ashes of 2017, something better is rising.
I could not agree with your caption more! I need to play off of some of your growth and positivity. My grad school journey is really dragging me down. Good thoughts Ned! Keep up the good work! Ps that’s an amazing fire!!
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I think writing and being honest about our struggles is so important. It helps me realize that these are things we all struggle with, no matter how “together” we appear to others. I too have been working on health, wellness, and balance; sharing my learning and experiences on my blog. I’ve been incorporating a lot of tea/herbs as I garden and research. I know you’re a busy guy with lots on your plate but check it out if you have some time. It’s always great to get to know our friends better through their stories. Hope to see you soon, Ned! 🌻~Anne
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