Just Don’t It – Redux



Hello friends!

I wrote a different version of this post a few months ago. I decided to revise half of it and added a section about “micromovements”, a concept created by the bestselling author SARK.

What’s a micromovement? you may ask.  (Hint: it’s not a tiny bowel emission! 🙂

Read on and you’ll learn what a micromovement is and how to incorporate one into your life…

During the 1980’s a trendy Nike campaign caught the world’s attention with the tagline “JUST DO IT!”  Nike’s message was loud and clear: when it came to exercise, there were no excuses.  I think it was a brilliant campaign as it motivated countless people to work out.

The catchphrase is just as true today as it was a couple decades ago.

To me, Nike’s slogan holds a special significance.  As a teenage long-distance runner in the 1980’s, I wore Nike running shoes long before I’d be diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder.  Since my diagnosis I’ve experienced a marathon of seven hospitalizations.

I tried over 20 different medications, and when my father died I was desperate and demanded ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), which brought me out of the suicidal state I was in. I finally reached stability with the right meds and self-care program, and to say I’ve been grateful for my recovery is a massive understatement!

However, just because I became stable (the International Bipolar Foundation even profiled me as a “2014 Story of Hope and Recovery”, an honor I frankly never thought would be bestowed upon me in a million years!), life has been a daily challenge and I know it always will be that way.

The past few weeks have been particularly rough ones. An unexpected family crisis popped up that tested my hard-won stability.  The good news is that I’ve gotten enough sleep each night thanks to my antipsychotic medication Seroquel. (This medication has been key in keeping me on the straight and narrow path of mental stability.)

Even so, I’ve struggled with some unhealthy habits I call “JUST DON’T ITS!” that could potentially affect both my mental and physical health, and it’s time to kick them out the door. (I wonder if any of you do these nasty bugaboos too?)

Here are some of my “JUST DON’T ITS”:

1) Yelling too much at my family members. (I often have bona fide reasons to raise my voice, but I’ve been overdoing it.)

2) Eating an entire pint of gourmet (a.k.a. ultra-high fat) ice cream far too often. This is a biggie “JUST DON’T IT”! As a former certified personal trainer, I should know better than to do such a heinous thing to my body. I definitely don’t recommend consuming this much ice cream if you want to maintain your overall health and specifically, your weight!

3) Spending too much time on social media at the expense of my other projects and duties. It’s fun, but I want and need to cut down. Facebook has become my social media version of gourmet ice cream. (I can see you mumbling “Hunh?”)

4) Feeling intimidated to ask friends I’ve helped over the past year (i.e. providing them with childcare) to please return the favor once in a while. It’s hard for me to ask for help, but it would lessen my stress if I had some child-free time to do errands or have some quiet time to relax and recharge.

This is an incomplete list, but you get the idea. It’s better to have a short list to focus on anyway, so I don’t get overwhelmed.

Now, as far as “JUST DO IT!” is concerned, Nike was right all along in their message to cool it with excuses and take a very simple step to break a sweat.  One of my favorite bestselling authors/artists SARK (“Inspiration Sandwich”) calls these tiny steps “micromovements”. The author of over 2 million books in print, SARK uses micromovements with her writing, but micromovements can apply to many other actions.  I’m sure you’ve heard different versions of her concept, but I like her approach best, which she describes in some of her books.

For example, if you want to take a walk, tell yourself you’ll walk for half a block.  Yup, just half a block.  As you begin your stroll, you might surprise yourself by going just a little further than that half  block.  In your next walk, you can continue to build upon your initial success to go a slightly further distance. (Walking can totally reset your mood for the better, and it’s an ideal way to try out micromovements.)

If you’ve been putting off paying an intimidating stack of bills like I do, commit to paying just one bill.  Once you start writing the check, see where your energy level is after picking up (and moving!) your pen – maybe you’ll find that you can pay one more bill on the same day!   

This all may sound overly simplistic, but micromovements are really a great way to “JUST DO IT”! It feels so good to accomplish a small thing; for those of us who live with bipolar disorder, completing a mundane chore can be profound.  Recently I’ve used micromovements in cleaning our one bathroom (an always odious task) and with our incredibly messy dining room table/office.  I had partial success with both tasks, but there was definite improvement (i.e. clean toilet, half the table was clear) and I can try again.

When we experience days when we’re depressed, if we take on a seemingly “little” task such as making a bed or taking a shower, that action can shift our energy and attitude the lasts longer than one would think!

I’ve followed SARK’s micromovement advice during both good days and bad ones, and I’ve found that even if I don’t do a whole lot, they definitely work to shift my attitude.  

I wish you strength in getting rid of some unhealthy habits of your own and I hope you incorporate the art of micromovements into your life.

Thanks for reading!


p.s. What single “JUST DON’T IT” would you like to phase out of your life this fall?  I’d love to know!




30 thoughts on “Just Don’t It – Redux

  1. Great post, love the theory. I need to work on at least trying a little something. That’s my “Just Don’t it”- stay in bed and wait to feel “better” before starting a small task.

    • Hi Amanda! sorry to take forever in responding! Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope that you’ve been able to get to some of those small tasks you’ve wanted to do maybe a touch more easily? I’ve been faithfully reading your blog, but I’ve been terrible with everyone as I haven’t been commenting lately. That could be my new “Just Don’t”: Don’t not comment! 😉 I’ll try my best as soon as I can. take care, my dear! Dyane

  2. Great post. I have also started exercising to benefit both physically and mentally. A “just don’t do it” for me is to cut down on my one vice….soda.

    • Thanks Vic! Good for you for adding exercise. When you MOST want to blow it off, that’s when you must force yourself! 😉 Then you’ll be amazed at the fact that you did it and you feel at least a little better.

      As far as the soda vice, you sinner!!!! Just kidding! I encourage you to cut down one can (or bottle) at a time. I’m rooting for you, my friend!!! Baby steps! Maybe drink 1/2 or 1/3 of your regular amount and go from there…:))))) hugs from Dy

    • After nearly 40 years of drinking Mt. Dew, I was finally ready to stop. I’m way overweight and all that sugar was just bad for me. I’ve known that for years but suddenly I was able to do something about it. I’ve substituted Crystal Lite Lemonade. It doesn’t give me the taste-treat of Dew but it helps. I’ll be pulling for you.

      • I went from regular soda to all diet. I know they’re are concerns about aspertain (sp) but I do it for the lack of calories. That also made reducing my daily content easier to manage.

  3. As far as Just do it’s. I make lists of tasks because I either forget to do them or I end up procrastinating which makes me feel worse about myself. By having lists I just focus on one task and get out of the house and just do it. Many times the tasks are very simple like going and paying a bill or getting the car oil changed but after completing it I give myself a pat on the back even though sometimes I find it sad that I have to resort to such oversimplification when I was previously capable of doing so much more.

    As for just don’t it. Although I was not a chronic drinker I was most definitely a binge drinker for over 10 years. I remember many nights of drinking to the point of having blackouts and many of those years were while I was on psychotropic medication. It’s been 18 months and I haven’t touched alcohol. I have truly kicked it out of my life and it doesn’t bother me not drinking even when others around me are. Also, whenever making financial decisions I take many time outs now because I struggle with differentiating between what is a decision being made by me and what is one being made by my illness. I’m trying to incorporate time outs but haven’t really mastered this one yet but hope to.

    • It’s so strange to hear my experience so clearly articulated by another person AND just one hour before I sat down here. I’m almost never online at this time of day. Good for you and I celebrate your triumphs. Except for your challenges around alcohol, this could have been my post. I also think that learning to take time-outs BEFORE I feel tired or overwhelmed is the step I’m on now.

      • Thank you so much for your comment, Star! :)) Nice to have you here! I’m so glad that you got a chance to read this post today.

        I’ve actually been alcohol-free since Nov. 2013 – I didn’t have a one drop since! What prompted that was starting the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) medication – one is not supposed to drink while taking it and that motivated me! But the gelato and ice cream remain a problem. Oh well. I’m aware of my ice cream “thing” and working on it day by day… I like your time-out technique too! Thanks for your kind encouragement – I’m rooting for you!:) Dy

    • Hey there insanelyconfused!

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. I usually reply a lot sooner, but the past couple weeks have been filled with my taking care of sick children & I got totally burned out. I had almost no energy & my sleep got messed up, which we all know is serious. Yuck. Anyway, I used to do the same thing that you mention. Make lists. I stopped writing them because it got much harder for me to use them effectively. I felt like a failure since I didn’t complete most of the items I listed & it stressed me out! I know what you mean about it being sad that you need to keep it super-simple instead of how it used to be, but I still admire you so much for doing anything, i.e. the bill paying or car oil change. I really do.

      Re: the alcohol – I don’t know you personally, but let me state that I am SO PROUD of you for abstaining as long as you have. That’s incredible. It’s soooo much better for your body. (I watched a close relative die of alcohol-related liver failure, and it was nightmarish as you can imagine) I also hope you have luck with incorporating those time-outs – it sounds tough, but if you can kick alcohol the way you did, you can do it.

      Take care and thanks again for sharing your experiences!

      Dyane 🙂

      • Hi again – I’m SO happy you wrote this response! It made my morning! Isn’t it amazing how just a few lines can sometimes improve our state of mind? I woke up grumpy and then saw your reply and felt better, so we’re helping each other out. Take care & hang in there, my dear! You rock!

  4. As I’ve got the flu and am in bed today, I’m keeping it relatively simple: I accepted help from my husband who took a family sick day off work and drove my son to/from school (and fixed meals) and will take him to his pdoc appointment later. What a guy!

    Just Don’t
    1) Just Don’t yell at son and husband, or be too irritable and critical. Just Do let them know they are loved and appreciated.
    2) Just Don’t sit on couch all day without MOVING. Just Do take a few steps or dance a few minutes. Just Do take microsteps to exercising more.
    3) Just Don’t isolate self from family and local community by burying self in online community. Just Do talk to my family and neighbors. Just Do reach out to my community. (MHA Hearing Advocate volunteer interview Thursday!)

    • Kitt, I was remiss in replying to everyone on this post, but I suspect you’ll remain my loyal friend!

      I’m so glad that you are feeling better now. Your husband really came through for you on Monday, didn’t he, and I think he’s the bee’s knees.

      I love your list especially since you include the “just do’s” alongside the don’ts. I want to follow the three steps you list, except for the MHA one obviously, but speaking of that, I’m super-proud of you for interviewing & going for it! I hope your “shadow day” is turning out to be a great experience – as I write this, you’re working this very moment, I believe.

      Looking forward to hearing about your training soon, my dear friend.

    • Hey sweet socialworkerangela, one of my favorite bloggers! I hold my breath ***all the time*** so your comment really means something to me. I was holding it just now and then when I read your words, I breathed.

      THANK YOU!

  5. I’ve got a similar problem with ice-cream. I wonder if micro-movements will help.

    Now let’s see, it’s pretty tough not eating a whole tub of ice-cream so I’ll try not eating half of it instead.

    Yum. That worked well.
    Now I’ll see how I go not eating half of what’s left.

    Great! And did it in even less time too.
    Now I’ll try not eating half of the remainder.

    Excellent! What a great way of exercising self-control.
    I do believe I’ll try it again.

    I’m really good at this you know. I’ve now managed to not eat half of the ice-cream left in the tub about a dozen times and it just keeps getting easier.

    There’s only a spoonful or so left now so I might as well finish it off. A couple of spoons of ice-cream never hurt anyone.

    What a great technique Dyane.
    I think I’ll go buy another tub of ice-cream and “Don’t do it” all over again.

    • Okay, I have now determined, after doing much field work this past week, that there is one area where micro-movements will NOT help in a zillion years and that is
      ice cream, my friend.

      I should have thought that one through & put it in a disclaimer of some sort in this post!

      Your comment cracked me up, I have got to say. You didn’t mention the flavor (flavors)!!!!! We have a local ice cream company that I only just discovered this past past year. They are called…..drum roll please…..POLAR BEAR ICE CREAM and they make the darndest flavors. My current favorite is called Dirty Paws, a mix of caramel, vanilla and of course my beloved fifth food group: chocolate.

      On a whim, I messaged Polar Bear Ice Cream to please endorse me for the WEGO Health Activist Award “Best in Show Blog” for which I was nominated by author Wendy K. Williamson.

      I reasoned that since I tell many people about how great their ice cream is, they could do me that one small favor. It would take just 15 seconds of their time to keep a loyal customer happy.

      At first I thought they blew me off, and I found myself starting to get really fuming…and freaking out because if I was mad at them that meant I couldn’t buy their Dirty Paws and really enjoy it….but this morning I received a glorious Twitter message saying yes, they endorsed me!

      I thanked them, of course, and then I suggested that if I’m so lucky as to win the award, perhaps they could create a new flavor in my honor, called “BIPOLAR BEAR”. Do you have any ideas on a yummy combo.? It must have chocolate!

      • I was kidding when I wrote about the ice-cream binge above.

        But what I love the most are the heavy, high fat chocolate ones. My most favourite of all – though not technically ice cream – is chocolate and chilli gelato.

        But mostly I buy cheap generic vanillas and use them as a base for something else. One of my vices is banana and coffee shakes but when passionfruits are in season I tend to go overboard on banana, passionfruit and strawberry smoothies with lots of high fat ice cream and yoghurt. All the fruit means it’s good for me, right?

        And when I’ve got a tub of any kind it can be hard to get anything out of the freezer without sneaking a couple of spoons of it.

  6. Wow you have been through so much! It’s no wonder you were profiled. Just doing little things at a time is a very practical thought process that can assist in overcoming that feeling of being overwhelmed. Unfortunatley it does not always work for me though.

    • Yeah, Glenn, doing small things at a time doesn’t always work for me either – you should see my supremely messy desk right now! :0 But even if the micromovement concept works once in a while, I’ll take it! 😉 Thanks for catching up on my posts and taking time to comment – you rock!

  7. Once again, this is just what I needed to read. I got so upset with myself yesterday because I knew I was snapping at the kids more than they deserved. Granted, we had been out in the sun all morning running in and out of various construction vehicles and tractors (which all three kids adored, but ugh, it was HOT), so I was drained and stuff, but nastiness begets nastiness, and my ill-temper only worsened the kids’ tantrums when we got home. So, like you, I need to “just don’t it” with the snap-backs, and make myself breathe for ten seconds instead. I’ve also been working on tackling a little at a time so I don’t feel so overwhelmed. It may have taken me three days to clean Blondie’s room, but it got done, by golly! If I keep making those micromovements in the house, I may just be able to reach my desk again…*gasps* do I dare hope?!
    😛 xxxxx

    • I was so happy to read that this post was helpful! I’m super-impressed that you cleaned Blondie’s room – three days passes in a flash, and what matters is that you got it done. The tantrum issue is ongoing with our tater tots – there will be good days where we can bring ourselves back from the dark side in time to prevent a massive tantrum-fest, and then there willl be “those” days. Ugh. I know “just don’t it” & micro movements are simplistic by design, but anytime they can help us be better parents and not feel like we’ve descended into Dante’s Inferno, it’s good.

      Also, on a separate note, I’m not sure if you saw this on my Twitter feed (I meant to tag you) but here it is – thought you might like it!


      Hope you have a great Monday, my dear!!!
      💜 Dyane

      p.s. The 16th is a comin’! 😉

      p.p.s. as a very rare and special treat, I took the girls to Sunday brunch at the Italian restaurant Casa Nostra across from the Italian bakery (they share the same owner – a lovely guy – I know his family). Avi had pasta al salmone, my little gourmet, and Rilla had fancy-looking, thin pancakes, fruit, bacon, and lest we forget, maple syrup. A sugar fest! At least they use very high quality ingredients, but sugar is sugar…

      I didn’t eat because I already had lunch, BUT I had a double espresso AND a coffee and they were both sooooooo good! I think they use Lavazaa. Wish I could take you there – we would create a caffeinated ruckus, I’m sure.

      I’ll tweet you some pictures of where we sat on the sunny patio amongst the redwoods.

      • LOLOLOL You made my day! I could see the two of us going eighty miles an hour and somehow catching every word the other says. 🙂
        Oh, how I wish my kids would eat ANYthing but their Twelve Foods. Seriously, it’s around twelve things: bread, peanut butter, pears, etc. One won’t even touch bananas. BANANAS. SOOO nitpicky. But pancakes might just win them over!

        Thanks for the article–looking forward to the read!
        AND I’m looking forward to the 16th. After the insane eating we’ve done on this quick family vacation, I’m looking forward to s serious detox (so are my pants). The weirdo diet and sleeping hasn’t helped my my fuse with the kids, either, but at least I’ve been catching myself and walking away while Bo holds the fort for a few minutes and I catch my breath. It’ll be hard to do that when he goes back to work, but being home will make a HUGE difference. Plus, I’ll have internet at home–no more drives into town just to check blogs! YAY!
        Can’t wait to see your pics! xxxx

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