Positively Therapeutic

I’m starting to feel human again, and it comes down to two things that happened this weekend:

  1. I painted my fingers and toes a happy bright color
  2. I rode for the first time in a week and a half

It was amazing. Instead of a bulky lump of a dry-skinned icicle, I’m a happy human! I even put mascara on this morning and that’s a rarity. This return of myself was so necessary.

I’ve dealt with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for quite a few years, and I’ve learned a lot about how to handle it. But this year something changed, and instead of being gloomy and tired all the time as I usually am in the winter, it’s been more about the anxiety. As in, hyperventilating while brushing my teeth because everything is overwhelming and can I please just never get out of bed? Anyways. This isn’t a post about that (though I’m thinking I’ll write that soon), just a little background on my mental state these days.

Last week was super tough and I don’t think my pulse slowed below 100 bpm. I was so keyed up about everything- I thought I was doing really poorly at work, finding a parking spot at the grocery store was impossible, doing household chores seemed exhausting and pointless, I felt really sick (though it wasn’t the flu, strep, or mono. I’m thinking it was all in my head), and I didn’t get to ride at all.

I made a decision: I’m not going to let the cold get me down. I want to feel like myself again. I told manfriend, and he was enthusiastically on board.

So Saturday morning, I went to work on myself: I used a face mask, I actually shaved my legs, I used body lotion, I painted my toes and I painted my fingers, and generally pampered myself. All while manfriend made us bacon-chocolate chip waffles with bourbon maple syrup (yes, I know I’m totally spoiled, and yes, I promise to share the recipe very soon. They were ridiculously good).

happy_nails
They’re so bright and happy!

Never underestimate the good feelings that can come from a little bit of paint on your extremities. Every time I look down I get that sweet pop of color and it instantly boosts my mood, and I just feel more put together. I’m not obsessive about having my nails done at all times but I can’t deny that it adds a certain polish (pun intended)! If you remember, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to stop biting my nails, so that was another boost- I’m sticking to that way better than I thought I would!

Moving on.

I got to ride. Thank you Lord, I got to ride.

I’ve said before that riding is my therapy and this has never been more true than it was yesterday.

It was like I walked into the barn and a switch flipped in my brain. I had been nervous about hopping on because Addy has had a break from riding and very little turnout lately. But I walked in there, breathed deep, patted some soft noses, and instantly relaxed. I like to think Addy was happy to see me because I was absolutely thrilled to see her.

I decided to lunge her for a bit just to see how she was feeling- I wanted to warm her up in case she was stiff from stall rest, and I wanted to let her get out excess energy if she had that going on. She humored me for a few circles in each direction before coming in to me and telling me to hop on.

I know, terrible groundwork manners, but you try resisting that sweet face!

She was a rockstar. Not even a hint of sass, responsive to my aids, not caring about the snow falling off the roof. Have I mentioned how much I adore this mare? She walks out of her stall after a week of nothing and goes around perfectly.

It wasn’t a long ride since we’re both a little out of shape but it did the trick. She was happy to be working again and I was ecstatic to be back on her.

addy_selfie_goofy
I swear she was happy too, just disappointed that the phone wasn’t a carrot.

The combo of feeling pretty again and spending time with my girl had a ripple effect across my whole weekend. I met up with friends at a super cool bar near my house, I did a tasting at a local winery with other friends, and I got coffee with Owner Lady (a.k.a. we had a meeting of Addy’s Fan Club). Just last weekend all of this would have overwhelmed me, but my change in attitude made it more than just manageable, it made it incredible.

This weekend, painting my nails and getting horse time was my therapy.

How do you pep yourself up when the cold and dark has you down? What’s your “unconventional” therapy?

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