The air conditioning went out in my car. It probably just needs to be recharged after the car just sat for a month with no one driving it anywhere. As I sit idly, while someone else drives up to Dallas, my mind wandered on this thought of maintenance (and, occasionally, how damn hot it was).
When something sits unused for a while, it seems to break down or cease to function properly. For example, you let a car or a motorcycle just sit untouched for 6 months to a year, that vehicle will need some maintenance before you drive/ride it again, even if it was in perfect working condition when you parked it.
People are like that, too.
You can be the picture of physical fitness and mental well-being, active every day, etc… If you change that person’s lifestyle – throw in a major life change that causes a domino-effect of changes. You pick; it really doesn’t matter. This.is all hypothesis. This person is now, for the most part, sedentary. Give it 6 months. You’ll see a decline in the person’s physical health; this is expected. However, you will also see changes in the person’s mental and emotional well-being. All aspects of health will decline with the sedentary lifestyle.
And, just as a vehicle that has sat for a while has lost its “get-up-and-go”, the individual falls into a cycle of depression, losing the motivation to do any of the things he or she used to do. It is truly a vicious cycle because it can keep the person in this new “nothingness” for much longer than my hypothesized 6 months.
So, how do we break out of this cycle? Well, we take care of ourselves just as we would anything else that’s been “out-of-it” for a while. With a car, if you aren’t a mechanic, you go see a specialist for help on that tune-up. For yourself? Talk to someone. You aren’t alone. I’m not saying go out and find a therapist, although it did help me, but I am saying figure out what works for you. Best friend? Therapy? Call someone. Get out of the house and go talk. You don’t have to talk about your stuff, but make that contact. Get up, get dressed, get out, and do it for yourself.
Just like that car you got running again and proudly showed off to your friends, remember, you took care of yourself, too! You want to keep yourself in good shape, right? That means treating yourself well. It also means recognizing old patterns for what they are when they appear (which they will), laughing and saying to yourself, “Yeah, I used to do that,” or, “Yeah, I used to talk to myself that way, but not anymore.” Let it go and move on.
And I realize so much of this is easier said. I’m still learning a lot of this, myself (or, rather, un-learning old habits). But I still know this is right, and I wish I’d known it much earlier in life. Now I just need to work on remembering some of it when I’m stressed. I have a feeling I’d be a lot less stressed…