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Day 5 Question to Ponder...Activities I enjoy

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Lilibet, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    This was interesting, because I had a hard time thinking of activities I enjoy doing. Most things I've enjoyed doing in the past have either become addictive (a way to escape from my feelings) or stressful because I want to see a finished product (creative pursuits).

    I came up with three activities that don't carry that baggage: going to the library, browsing through the interesting shops downtown, and listening to music.

    How would I feel doing one of those activities, without feeling stressed out, having anxiety, or worrying about other people and responsibilities? (That's a LOT to ask of me! LOL). I would say carefree, relaxed.

    Why don't I do this more often? Because there are so many things I feel I should be doing, but I'm not, that I would feel irresponsible, self-indulgent and guilty just playing.

    What steps could I take to do one of these activities stress-free and without worrying about other things? The first thought that comes to mind (of course!) is to make sure I've done the essentials first. Not gonna happen! So, the more do-able step I can take is to treat the activity as medicine or therapy that I have to do--an essential on a par with eating (which is something I always make sure I do). :)

    I think of all the physical therapy and doctor appointments I've gone to over the years because I viewed them as essential. I didn't feel irresponsible, self-indulgent or guilty doing that. I felt like I was responsibly taking care of myself. So I've made an appointment with myself to go to the library this week. I'm just going to sit and read fluffy magazines or kids' books in a comfy chair near the big windows for as long as I feel like it.
  2. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    That is awesome!

    The library has featured in my recovery as well. Back last fall, my foot started hurting and I soon was afraid to do anything "unnecessary," such as going to the library. My local library is a 15-minute walk from my home but I certainly couldn't walk there!

    I joined this forum in January. By March, I was doing little things to "take back my life." One day I decided to go to the library. I drove there (which was depressing, normally I don't drive somewhere I can walk). It hurt to stand and walk around the shelves and browse, but I did it anyway and felt good about it.

    Now it's June. I've been slowly increasing my daily walking since late March; I now walk 30 minutes a day. A few weeks ago I walked to the library for the first time since last summer. I am not pain-free, but the crucial thing is I have much less fear now than I did then. It was a wonderful accomplishment to be able to walk there, browse around a bit, then walk home.

    It's a very important thing to do things for yourself. I have the same problem as you in that often things I do to comfort myself soon become obsessions, and therefore stop providing comfort. Going to the library is just a nice thing to do. I hope you're able to do it and report back on how it went.
    Leslie and Lilibet like this.
  3. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    Thank you Gail! This is so encouraging to me. I have always loved libraries. The children's library in my home town was such a happy sanctuary for me as a kid. It figures that I would choose a library visit, doesn't it? :)

    This ties in nicely with something I wrote in another post about how I enjoy walking with a destination or purpose in mind, rather than just for exercise. The branch library in my small town would be about a 15 minute walk. It's too much for me right now, but it gives me a goal for later.

    In the meantime, I will drive to the lovely library five miles away with the big windows and comfy chairs. And I will stay out of the mysteries section! Too addictive. I will certainly report back.

    If you really are in NYC (my birthplace but not where I grew up) please greet the lions at the library for me the next time you see them. :)
    gailnyc likes this.
  4. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Ha! I really am in NYC, but I live in the Bronx, far far from the lions, sadly.
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I'm sure the ones in the zoo would welcome your greeting Gail!

    Lilibet, if you decide to read a children's book, "Green Eggs and Ham" gets my vote:D
    Lilibet and gailnyc like this.
  6. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    I grew up on Dr. Seuss back in the 50's but loved "Green Eggs and Ham" as an adult. My all time favorite Seuss is "If I ran the Zoo." I still use that expression when I think something outside my control could be done better. :D

    And yes, zoo lions would love a visit if the library lions live too far away.
    gailnyc likes this.
  7. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    This is part of the rage/soothe ratio. It is important to make time for things we enjoy doing. This balances the stressors.

    Now I used to have an issue with this as in my family we were raised being very "busy" so it was difficult to sit and read or do other things I enjoyed. Yes, for awhile my mind would be "you really should be vacuuming" or. . . (I've learned to strike "should" from my vocabulary!) So I've learned to ignore the "shoulds" that may occasionally come up and to really be present in whatever I'm doing. . be it a walk in nature, cooking, reading, whatever else I make time to really enjoy. This is very very important.

    Remember, we need the pleasures of life to balance the stressors. So make time for the things you want to do--even if it's short spurts--you can increase the time when you see how you benefit from making the time in the first place! :)
    Leslie likes this.
  8. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the "short spurts" idea, Lori. I seem to think I have to clear a whole day or large chunk of time for these little pleasures. Good old "all or nothing" thinking! :)
  9. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    I made it to the library this afternoon! Yay me! I started getting cranky and anxious before I went and I almost didn't go. There were some stressors about getting there and I was also feeling kind of silly making this time for myself, and thinking I wouldn't enjoy it. But I decided to just do my "therapy" and not expect anything.

    I started out browsing in the kids section. Lots of kids and Moms were there and I felt out of place. While I was looking at books on the shelves, a little boy came and stood quietly next to me. I smiled and said Hi, and he said "Do you have any books about Godzilla?" I explained that I wasn't a librarian and I was just there playing. :D He wandered off. So cute!

    I went over to the magazine section and sat in a comfy chair by the big window with a view of the main street and mountains and enjoyed a couple of interesting magazines. Very relaxing.

    After more than an hour, I joined my husband and a couple of friends for coffee and conversation at the local bookstore. Later, we got a bite to eat and browsed along the main street for awhile, looking in some of the shops. Although I hurt the way I usually do when I do much walking, I just accepted it and didn't get frustrated.

    It was a nice afternoon, and I feel mellow and relaxed. :)
    gailnyc and Leslie like this.
  10. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Wow, that sounds amazing! So glad you were able to enjoy yourself!

    I think this is essential: "But I decided to just do my "therapy" and not expect anything."

    I don't know why but I always have a better time when I let go of expectations. When I anticipate--either good or bad--I don't have as good a time. Practicing letting go has been good for me.
  11. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    Thanks Gail. Yes, it really made a difference letting go of expectations and just accepting whatever happened. I usually try to control the outcome, so it took a lot of self-control to let go (which sounds really funny when I write it). Sort of "OK...deep breath...you can do it...come on...let go..." :D
  12. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    Disneyland! Thinking on getting an annual pass. It's minutes away from home. I get on all the rides.
  13. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    That's a great idea, Stock Trader. I have a good friend with an annual pass to the San Diego zoo. She goes for walks in the morning and gets her exercise while visiting the animals. Such a beautiful place!

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