I should have spotted the signs.

In the past week, I’d ordered two different packs of socks – some with Batman logos, others woolen and Fairisle, a set of silicone kitchen implements and a cherry red, oven-proof casserole pot, complete with special heat-resistant handle attachments.

This is always my pattern. The only difference, this time, was that I’d skipped a step… I hadn’t bought pajamas.

This was bad – skipping the PJs is like going from 0-100mph, with no warning.

Danger! Danger! Red alert!

I don’t remember when we first spotted the pattern… probably years ago, during my depression and breakdown days.

If I was mildly depressed, I’d buy socks.

If I was heading into a bigger downer, I’d buy pajamas – usually those warm, cosy ones, full-length and snuggly.

If I was really, really spiralling into depression, I’d buy cookware. Pots, pans, jugs, woks, pressure cookers… you name it.

I suppose, if we really break it down, they’re all comfort anchors. Warm, toasty socks to keep me feeling grounded and safe, fleecy PJs for those duvet days, and all kinds of implements with which to create home-made comfort food.

At least, on some level, if my mood was slipping, I was trying to take care of myself – even unconsciously.

It’s always been a bit of a running joke with us. “Oh no… Taz has bought socks! Are you alright? Is this *just* because you like those toe warmers, or are you feeling a bit down?”

Despite all those early warning signs being in place, with Amazon boxes in the hallway to evidence my purchases, I didn’t connect the dots this time.

I didn’t notice the big, black dog sinking its teeth into my derriere until it was too late.

I can’t even tell you exactly what triggered my rapid decline in mood.

Maybe it’s the clocks going back over here – dark mornings, dark afternoons, shorter days.

Maybe it’s just my slow-to-heal broken foot getting me down, with the ancillary knee and back pain that’s been disturbing my sleep for weeks (all to do with overcompensating for the sore foot, apparently).

Maybe it’s hormones.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to the gym in a couple of weeks.

Maybe it’s the approach of Christmas, the end of the year and all those stressors that go with it.

Maybe it’s all the crazy Covid news, shock tactic headlines and people sinking into the media and Government-inflicted drama and terror.

Maybe I’m just feeling run down, tetchy, still a little sore from last week’s nonsense and just in need of a clear head and some good sunshine.

Whatever the cause, I found myself feeling low on confidence, even lower on energy, a little weepy and wanting to shut out the world.

Thank goodness this was my week off! Well, it was supposed to be my week off… a few clients managed to sneak in, but I’ve been on lighter duties than normal.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because every now and then, we’ll all hit a downer. Sometimes, even if all the tell-tale signs are there, blinking at us like angry indicator lights, we’ll be so absorbed in whatever we’re up to, we’ll miss them.

I think I missed them this time because my diary was so full. I was cramming in work appointments left, right and centre and, by the time I got to the end of the day, I assumed my depleted va va voom was just tiredness.

There’s a life lesson right there – beware throwing yourself into work so heavily you miss your own warning signs! What’s that about oxygen masks?

So, this weekend, I’ll be giving myself all the nurturing I need in order to bring my energy back up to where it needs to be.

I’ll be wearing those comfort socks, finding some fleecy PJs and using my new kitchen tools to cook up all kinds of scrumptious foods… whatever the vegan version of chicken soup is, I’ll rustle it up.

I’ll also be reorganising my diary to build in more downtime, and I’ll be protecting those time slots instead of booking in work appointments, plus I’ll be ringfencing hours to get to the gym and work out.

Sometimes, when we hit a low mood, we just need to cut ourselves some slack and give our souls the nurture time they’re so obviously craving.

I might even turn off my phone and spend time with my loved ones instead of staring at a screen.

I suggest you do the same.

Until next time,