This is the last post in the “series” or whatever you want call what I’ve been doing this week. Just wanted to talk about some things I’ve changed with myself, things I’m working on, and changes in myself that I’ve notice.
The biggest change by far is that I’ve started seeing a therapist regularly. Like I mentioned in the first post of the series, I was originally struggling with work stress and it got so bad that I decided to seek out some professional advice and guidance. Seeing a therapist has really made me aware of my own mental state and given me a lot of tools I can use to fend off a lot of the negative things I was doing. I don’t want to go in to too much details on everything that I’ve tried, but I’ll share an easy one. She asked me to try out a “gratitude journal”, which was really simple: Everyday, just write down 3 things that you are grateful for. I was a little skeptical that this would do anything, but I told myself going in to therapy that anything she suggested I would give it an honest shot and try not to rule anything out before I at least tried out. So I started doing a gratitude journal, and it was a really great experience! I don’t think it was even the “being grateful” part that made me feel better. It was more that I was actually taking about 5 minutes to just sit and think about myself and the things that I truly appreciate in life. And that felt AMAZING! I probably hadn’t honestly thought about my own needs and feelings on my own in months if not years before that point. I don’t write in my journal every day any more, but it’s one of the many tools I now have at my disposal to help keep me at my best.
The second biggest change for me, I’ve completely cut caffeine and alcohol out of my diet/life. Caffeine was the hardest for me. I was drinking 4 – 5 cups of coffee a day. Work made it very easy for me to get in a bad habit like that. We have some decent single server coffee options provided to us and I was just downing them every 1.5 – 2 hours out of boredom. What I learned from my therapist was what that does to my body. When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called Coritsol. I don’t want to bore anybody with the details but go read this article if you’re interested about how it works. The gist is, chronic stress causes cortisol to be released in your body, and over time that leads to depression. Caffeine consumption also causes cortisol to be released in your body. So I was really just doubling up on the negative impact from chemicals without really even meaning to. (And just btw, it took me 2 weeks to slowly come down from that volume of caffeine. I tried to do cold turkey and felt miserable after about 3 hours into day 1. I would highly recommend that if you are planning to cut caffeine out of your lifestyle to take it down about 1 cup of coffee every 3 – 4 days so you don’t seriously hurt yourself). (Also btw, if you find yourself craving a warm drink in the mornings after you come off coffee, herbal teas come in a ton of different flavors, have zero calories, and the vast majority have no caffeine at all). Cutting out alcohol was for a different reason. I know there are probably some studies or articles out there that link alcohol to depression, but my main reason for stopping is that it was becoming THE ONLY activity I was doing and I wanted to do more than just drink and watch tv all the time. I think I’m still coming off of alcohol but I’m finding myself having the drive to want to do many things again. Like play games for my Backlog journey!
Alright, that’s enough about me. Thanks for listening. Now for some fun news. I have been playing FF9 again and LOVING IT! My next post will be all about that and maybe a little bit of MMO updates (and comics). See ya!