Gratitude, Mental Health

Friday Gratitude: One Breath at a Time Is an Acceptable Plan

February 15, 2014

Friday Gratitude: One Breath At a Time - Sweet and Savoring

Let’s start this off with a nice big deep breath.

Maybe we’ll make that two.

Have I mentioned that things have been tough lately? On many days, I find myself in usual Winter Depression Mode: shut down, empty, stuck in a mental loop of criticizing myself for being such a loser. This is when I do nothing except play the latest adventure/mystery game I’ve downloaded, lost in a fantasy world. (Hey, at least I’m numbing out with harmless games, right? People numb out to a lot worse than that).

I knew in the back of my mind that this was coming, as Christmas came and I felt festive and normal, albeit suspiciously. I knew it when we drove down to North Carolina for New Years and everything went well, and I had fun. I knew it when, towards the end of January, I realized that I felt pretty awful. At least now, I could relax. No more waiting to see when the good streak would run out, no more wondering where my depressed self was, why she was so late this year.

Friday Gratitude: One Breath At a Time - Sweet and Savoring

I take it each day as it comes. The title of this post comes from musician Ani DiFranco, from her song. “Tamburitza Lingua”, and it’s a lyric I’ve come back to again and again. One breath at a time is an acceptable plan. Thank you, Ani, for giving us such beautiful poetry in your songs, for providing the words when I’ve found myself all too quiet.

And these photos? Space. I’m craving space lately. Winter has a tendency to invoke that claustrophobic, cabin-fever-type feeling. The fact that Andy and I share one car is a factor. The fact that I’m ‘due’ for another trip is another factor. And now, with gigantic piles of snow everywhere closing in on us, I find myself looking up to the sky quite often. The sky is open and expansive and limitless. This is also why I’m drawn to water & shorelines, something I’m planning on writing more on in a future post.

That’s said, here’s my gratitude list for this week:

1. I’m grateful that things are never as bad as my mind anticipates them to be. This must be a universal human flaw, no? We jump and assume and judge and worry, all practices that do us no good, and have no basis in reality.

2. I’m grateful for flannel sheets, an inviting bed nest, and a quiet humidifier. It’s all about coziness…and not shriveling up like a raisin in our dry house. 

3. I’m grateful for the fact that we didn’t lose power from any of the recent storms, and when we did lose water, it was only for a few hours. Enough said.

4. I’m grateful for WiFi. If I didn’t have a laptop and access to YouTube videos, blogs, Wikipedia articles, TV and movie torrents, and all of you, I can’t begin to imagine how much worse my depression would be.

5. I’m grateful for a snowy day at the beach with the four-year-old. The beach! I’m crazy and I love going there when it’s bleak and monotone and empty. I knew Axel (a nickname he randomly landed on one day) would love playing with the ice chunks on the shore and then hitting the playground, and I would love enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. A win for everyone! It was just such a nice afternoon together. No tantrums, no whining, lots of laughing and contentment.

What are you grateful for right now?

Friday Gratitude: One Breath at a Time - Sweet and Savoring



Virtue is relative at best; there’s nothing worse than a sunset when you’re driving due west…I know that in an hour or three, the sun is gonna be in my eyes. And I know that sometimes all I can see is how I feel, like the whole world is on the other side of a dirty windshield.     –Ani DiFranco


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  • Delia @ Blog Formatting February 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    That’s a great way to look at things, Christy! I am so grateful for everything good happening in my life. The secret is to acknowledge and stay focused on the good 🙂 Thanks for the great post.

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Thank *you*, Delia!

  • Emily Smith // The Best of this Life February 15, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Winter depression is a tough one to fight through. What’s saving me this year is a Vitamin D supplements and 2-3 veg/fruit smoothies a day. Vitamin overdose 🙂 Normally, I would go outside and breathe in the fresh air – but the temperatures have been so cold, it’s unbearable. Like you, I’m thankful that we have out power, heat, humidifier (I couldn’t live without it or my eyeballs would dry up!) – and my family. Spring will be here before you know it and the buds of new life and greenery will brighten our worlds. Hope you get the space you need and start to breathe a little bit easier. xo

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      You’ve reminded me to take my Vitamin D! I’ve been forgetting lately (needless to say?? :)) I am soooooo eager for spring to come! Thank you for your lovely comment, Emily. xo

  • Tamara February 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I love Ani’s lyrics.
    I seem to have anxiety-free winters when it’s my first winter with a baby. So the winter after Scarlet was born? Awesome. The winter after Des was born (last winter)? Awesome. This one is heavy and it’s suffocating me a bit. Things are always harder for me in the winter, and I know I’m not alone.
    I guess I’m grateful we all find our way to the light. And I’m grateful that everything that seems so wrong is mostly all in my head. Makes me think it can be remedied there too.

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      How interesting! It seems like we’re hearing more and more about postpartum depression, so I’m glad you had the opposite with your kids. Sending you hugs and positive energy that things do get easier. Spring is closer every day…

  • Deb February 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Yay, I think it is 36 days (or so) til Spring! And we are headed up your way tomorrow, lots of hugs ahead, and catching up! Gratitude for love and feeling welcome too. Thank you for honestly sharing, and reminding your readers how “one breath at a time” is truly a gift we can gratefully accept!

    • Christy February 16, 2014 at 12:00 am

      All right! How have I not been counting the days? See you tomorrow!

  • Jill February 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I’m grateful that you are finding joy in your blog. A thank you from me, a stranger. Do you remember Tom Hanks in Castaway? When asked how he kept on, he said to “. . .just keep breathing.” And a winter beach is always a good place to do that. . .Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA is a good place.

    • Christy February 16, 2014 at 12:09 am

      Wow, thank you so much, Jill! Comments from strangers are often the ones that make me smile the most 🙂 We’re actually headed to MA soon, but not anywhere near the beaches. I’ll put that on the list!

  • Pam McCormick February 16, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I’m grateful for the little things each day that put a smile on my face. 🙂 Glad I found via SitsGirls 🙂
    Pam McCormick recently posted…My Annual “Imaginary Acceptance Speech” 🙂My Profile

    • Christy February 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      I’m glad you found me, too, Pam 🙂 I appreciate you leaving this comment.

  • Shana Norris February 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Christy, I just listened to a piece on NPR (their TED radio hour) about how different factors affect our happiness (gratitude, misfortune, accumulation of “stuff”) It really echoed your #1.

    I always love these lists. And I get the flannel sheets/bed/humidifier. The little things matter, they really do!

    • Christy February 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Ooh, thank you for letting me know about TED radio hour…why didn’t I know about this already? Downloading to listen in the car this week….
      Thank you for your support, always. xo

  • Cyn February 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What a great attitude to have. I find making a gratitude list every day to be agreat way for me to stay positive. Btw I love the beach in winter too!

    • Cyn February 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Ps I’m visiting from #sitsblogging

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Isn’t the beach in winter so incredible? I love having it to myself!

  • Crystal Green February 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I can feel your state of mind in this post. I’m glad you were able to find things that you were grateful for throughout all of the gloomy feelings that are holding you captive (at least that’s how I describe my depression states.)

    You’re so right having the blogging world and the Internet is such a great way of getting through these funks. May this period of depression be short lived for you. Glad you were able to enjoy the beach with Axel (love the nickname!)
    Crystal Green recently posted…#TidbitsThursday Blogging Tips 2_13My Profile

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      You got exactly right, Crystal- I do feel like those feelings hold me captive. Writing these gratitude posts is always worth it, no matter how much of a struggle it can be. Thank you!

  • Amy | Club Narwhal February 17, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Winter definitely has been getting me down too but I love how you are looking at the things you are grateful for to help shift your perspective! I’m also in love with my flannel sheets. I don’t know how I survived winter without them (this is the first year I’ve owned them). Life changing.

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      My first year owning flannel sheets, too! What have we been waiting for? Total amazingness for sure.

  • Christa Sterken February 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

    What a post we can all relate to on some level! I really liked that song lyric about one breath at a time, and your list. My husband just smirked the other day about me and my sheets. He says I have a smile of delight when I climb into clean sheets that is the only time I ever look exactly that way. I am thankful that i have sight to read, hands to type, ears to hear laughter and music and birds, and that my spirit has learned to soar instead of sink (and stay there long term I should stay ;))

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      That’s so funny Christa, because my husband just got into bed and said ‘Ah, flannel sheets! Once I was not cozy, and now I am.” 🙂 And I will echo you on gratitude for sight to read! I feel like reading is everything to me.
      I’m glad you could relate to this, because it felt like it was all over the place! Thank you for your comment!

  • Kate February 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I am grateful for friends, they make everything more bearable during these boring months!

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      I hear you there, Kate. Can’t wait for spring when there’s more stuff going on!

  • Jenna @ A Savory Feast February 25, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Being grateful always helps me! Thanks for being open and sharing real life on your blog. Love it!

    • Christy February 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      You’re welcome, Jenna. Glad you liked it and thanks for stopping by!

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