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Mental Health and Self-care: Move like Water When Things Get Rocky 

We’re in our third week of living in the new house, and I still feel just as overwhelmed. My body and my mind are feeling the effects of the constant change. Of having my routines broken. Of having things dirty and unkept. Of not having things the way I need them. But I find that if I don’t stop moving, I’m okay. 

Dealing with the constant change is making me more rugged. Unpolished. Simple. Like my grandpa was. I channel him each time I maintain the pool. Smelling the chlorine. Getting covered in the dirt and cobwebs and bugs while hooking up the vacuum — and not caring. Feeling the sun on my face and shoulders. Breathing in the fresh morning air. Things I probably haven’t done since my grandparents were alive and well. Over 20 years ago. 

I’m getting up earlier and earlier, which hasn’t happened since I lived in San Diego. Where I was actually excited to start my day. Must be the water. And because I’m moving nonstop throughout the day, I’m exhausted at night. Falling asleep quickly and waking up naturally. 

On the move, I’m eating more out of need than by desire. Letting my stomach feel empty. Feeling the hunger. Because I can finally feel it. Grabbing something quickly. Not making it a huge production. Eating simple. Using it as fuel.

Working like a machine. Not letting myself feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be accomplished. Learning to take one thing at a time. And being okay with what doesn’t get done.

water flowing over rocks
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I’m learning my thoughts flow better when I’m moving. Like water. 

So even if I’m writing or teaching, I need to be moving. Syncing my mind to my body. As if my neurons move more when my body’s moving. Making everything function as it should.

Movement does make everything better. For nothing goes anywhere without it. 

The constant movement is causing me to use muscles I haven’t used in years. Painting. Wallpapering. Cleaning. Bending over and weeding. Lifting heavy boxes. Taking down doors and putting up shelves. Going up flights of stairs and running up sides of hills. Like I’m training for Ironman.

My body’s been so sore that I’ve had to take extra good care of it. Especially my muscles. I haven’t had to adhere to muscle repair this way since cheerleading camp. Which might sound funny, but it’s true. At cheer camp, you’re throwing girls in the air and catching them. You’re being thrown in the air and landing into a cradle of arms. And they make you run sprints like you’re at boot camp. It beats you up. I used to come home and have to sit in ice baths. I couldn’t walk. I smelled like Bengay everywhere I went. And I’m back to that. But it feels good. Like I’m fighting for something.

Only now I’m not fighting for my sanity; I’m fighting for my happiness. For peace of mind. For the first time ever. Perhaps that’s why I’m fighting so hard to make this house a home.

There are still hundreds of things left to be done to the house; work I didn’t think would need to be done. And somethings need to be redone. Which means that many things have been temporary. And then we have to redo them. Essentially doing them twice. And with my classes beginning this week, I’ve also had to engage with the 40 students I’m now teaching.

In the past, I would’ve felt paralyzed by all of the things that need to be done, but now, I’m learning to just move. It’s when I stop moving that things become difficult again. If I move, everything that needs to happen will. And I’m learning to stop trying to control it.

I used to be able to tell how bad my mental state was by how much clutter was surrounding me. How messy my room was or how dirty my car. How little I was able to pay attention to. But now, I find that it’s because of how much I’m paying attention to. That it no longer matters if things aren’t a certain way.

Because life isn’t. And it’s about time I accept it.

Stop allowing things to rattle me so easily. Stop trying to control everything. Stop letting things take away my power. Just go with the flow and move.

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Mental Health and Self-care: Move like Water When Things Get Rocky 

Jenna Grace

Jenna Grace is a writer and educator with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) diagnoses. She writes and speaks about topics including healing from trauma, coping with neurological disorder and practicing mindfulness in order to help others and to explore new meaning. Visit her website for more of her stories.

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APA Reference
Grace, J. (2019). Mental Health and Self-care: Move like Water When Things Get Rocky . Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jul 2019
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