The fridge-sticker's guide to mental health
I'm an inveterate "fridge-sticker."
Family photos. Cards. Playbills. Two Walt Whitman magnets. Magnetic poetry, including a rather minimalist contribution from my 14-year-old nephew, "I devour thee, naked candy."
My family has valued fridge ephemera for generations, to the extent that fridge magnets are the de facto souvenir whenever anyone goes on a trip. Our fridge collections betray our politics, our religious convictions (or lack thereof), our friends—everything we find important enough to see many, many times in a day.
There's a new addition to my fridge these days, and it's something I'm happy to have, but grateful that I haven't needed recently.
A little context, perhaps.
A few weeks ago, I had a bad night. A really bad night. Hours of ugly, teary, snotty crying—not a good time. My evening plans had been changed rather abruptly (damn snowstorm) and for some reason, I completely fell apart at the prospect of spending a long, lonely night all by myself.
What was worse, though, was that there were plenty of things I could have done to yank myself out of the doldrums—but in the distress and panic of an unanticipated stretch of solitary confinement, I simply could not gather my wits together. (We'll address what's starting to sound like a pathological fear of being alone in a future post, perhaps.)
The next day, I decided that if I didn't want to be at the mercy of my admittedly mercurial moods, I needed to take some practical pre-emptive steps. Always literal-minded, I came up with a list called "Cheer yourself up." Wrote it up. In different colours of markers. And stuck it on the fridge.
I figured that if I wrote down all the things I could do that might make me feel better, I'd have a better chance of actually doing them, of weathering the next emotional storm with a little less snot and a little more dignity. Think of this as my optimistic, straightforward, compassionate side talking calmly to my insecure, scared, doubting side.
Here's the list (and yes, I wrote in all in lowercase):
- write it out in your journal
- go for a walk
- write a blog post or short story
- go onto happiness-project.com and do the quizzes (I like self-help quizzes)
- have a shower (I also like showers)
- watch a movie
- make cookies
- play happy music
- play dress-up
- clean something
- do a crafty project—preferably one that's straightforward and easy
- read "the right to write" and do the exercises
- play with the cat dangler
- play guitar
- go on damnyouautocorrect.com
Do you have tips for lifting yourself up out of the doldrums? Let me know!