World Mental Health Day

Above left is first layer on a box fish. Lower is additional work on the bi-color dwarf angelfish. Using Strathmore Colored Pencil Paper with Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils.

On World Mental Health Day, I am grateful to be home (day off from the day job). I’m spending much of the day on art (above are my most recent works-in-progress) as well as making sure I head outdoors later this afternoon to dig up what’s left of the garden.

**Update** Dug up part of the garden. Removed some weeds and the cherry tomato plant. I stopped when I discovered a decomposing rabbit next to the pepper plant….¬†

Over the past couple of weeks I have clearly defined, beyond any doubt, the things that make my depression rear its ugly head. One, is the day job. This post won’t belabor this fact – it’s been eating at me for years. The fact that I keep pushing it to the side makes matters worse, but I am taking steps to improve this situation. More on that another time. The other thing eating at my soul for about the same amount of time is social media. I have had a love/hate relationship with it since day one, but anymore I cannot escape the fact of how much it negatively affects me on a consistent basis. I was thinking the other day, back to when I was taking college classes and working full time, that I was able to achieve this massive goal (graduating with a bachelor’s and with top honors), and actually enjoy the mental stimulation, because there was no social media. The distraction wasn’t there. And thinking of now, when I seem to be unable to gather enough steam to forge ahead with new goals, I realize part of the problem. Fucking social media. It eats away time and energy with zero gain. Granted, I have formed great relationships because of it, but those relationships now exist without the need to always check in, staying glue for hours on end. And frankly, I’m over most of it. After this realization of how much it affected me (along with a few other issues with Facebook and Twitter that I won’t go into here), I was done. I was going to deactivate Facebook altogether, but it is where I can stay in touch with family from time to time. I will not be posting anything anymore on my personal page (I will still post occasionally to my art page). I simply don’t care anymore. This may sound shitty, but it’s where I’m at at the moment, and I’m okay with it. Putting it aside for good is allowing me to focus on my art, as well as getting in more reading time which I sorely miss.

The last thing I realize recently was that I’m not getting outdoors nearly enough. There is a ton of research available indicating how being in touch with nature can increase your mood and I believe it. But lately my outdoor activities include the time to and from my car at work or going back and forth from the grocery store. Spending insurmountable amount of hours under glaring fluorescent lights, or even just being confined to the indoors at home, is making me more miserable than I need to be. So today¬† I plan on being outside for at least an hour – to enjoy the sunshine and dig in the dirt. I’m actually looking forward to it. I admit, though, I am struggling on incorporating time outside during the workweek. I could walk at lunch, but I also like to do art at lunch, or sometimes read. After work doesn’t pan out either since I come home to workout (and then its dark). I’m working on this, so I hope to have a solution soon.

What are you doing for yourself today? Make sure you do something just for you. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.

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