Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Find and practice your own therapy to help you out of boredom, loneliness and depression

Dear spouses on dependent visas,
you are going through your first or second winter in the USA; even though we are in March, this long and cold season is not over yet. You feel the length, coldness and solitude of this season more than anyone else.
Time passes very slowly when you have to stay home all day either because there is nowhere to go or simply because of the weather. In this desolate surrounding it is way too easy to become apathetic and slip into depression. The TV set becomes your best and only friend and you waste your days away. What can you do to get out of that miserable state? I wish I had a quick and painless solution but I can only share with you some things I tried and helped me somehow.

Organize your day:
you don't have to run on a military schedule but it is nice to have different things to do during the day and dedicate each activity no more than a couple of hours. I realize now how important it was for me to be linear with my schedule. I coped relatively well the first two years when I was doing several things. However, the moment we relocated somewhere else and I lost all my reference points I closed up and stay home all day. It was the beginning of the end. So, don't make the mistake to park yourself on the sofa and watch TV. You must fill in your days.

Do activities you enjoy doing or that are good for you:
In the morning I loved going to the gym or pool, I would alternate between group classes and doing laps. The sport club was within walking distance from where I lived and I made it a habit to go there almost every day. It was extremely beneficial to do physical exercises because I felt relaxed in my mind. Besides I was able to network with people who introduced me to other activities and groups I joined in. I spent also a great deal of time in the kitchen baking and cooking. I had the time for my hobby and I took the chance to experiment new and elaborated recipes. I regret saying that now, since I am back home, I don't do anything of that sort, which after all is really a shame.
Also doing house chores had its forced me to get up and do some movements around the house. I have always preferred to be tired because of physical work rather than mental fatigue, therefore any chance I had to move around I welcomed it despite some initial resistance.
Then I spent time reading and watching movies. I'll have to admit I watched more TV than I meant but sometimes I needed to hear noises in the background. However, as I said before, we lived in an area that had its shares of weather related issues, so when we were out of power, I kept busy working on my jigsaw puzzles. And I have quite a collection now!

Music therapy:
Music is important to me from the moment I get up. I need to hear cheerful tunes, music and songs to set me off the right foot. I realized the moment the radio would play some slow cheek to cheek music I would feel awfully down. All that moaning, weeping and crying makes me run to the window and howl too!! Not a nice thing to hear!! I needed something that would give me energy, recharge me, open my mind and soul and above all make me think positive.
Of course it is a matter of personal taste, but for me what worked well was contemporary music played on the radio, some U2, disco music of the 70s and 80s, jazz and also some classic music. Avoid slow, romantic music! You will end up in a spiral of gloom and depression. Also every song with memories attached leads you to treacherous grounds so avoid it. You have got the picture now for your new compilation: Village People in, the Platters out!!

Movie therapy:
Romantic movies will only worsen your condition, you already cried enough watching Ghost when you were fine, now that you are lonely probably you don't need that level of empathy.
A good laugh is better than any medicine, release the muscles of your face and laugh, the louder the better. All the comedies you can think of are definitely in, the rest is sooo out!
Here are some comedies I loved watching: Meet the Parents (the first two are by far my favorite), Anger Management, Along came Polly, and the list can go on. I found out that I needed light hearted, brainless movies that kept me entertained and nothing else. I don't even mind watching old comedies like an oldie by Disney's The Parent Trap but I watched it so many times, I know it by heart. Sit-coms are also in, just avoid those programs where death and misery are the main subject.

People therapy:
socialize and meet people. Going out with them gives you a chance to learn more about the place where you live and spend time together with someone who is in your own shoes. That's empathy! Even your family and friends back home can't understand what you are going through. You need real people around you to share the good and the bad moments.
Most spouses spend a good deal of time on Skype with their own folks. This is all nice and wonderful however it won't make you feel any better, possibly even more homesick and people on the other side can't do too much for you. What I am trying to say is to avoid spending hours on Skype and relate more to the people who are around you. Sharing my experience with other women in the same situation helped me to put everything into perspective. I was not alone after all.

What else?
If you feel like sharing what has helped you just let me know! I am only a click away.
The list as you can see is very subjective but if it can help you, I am very happy.

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