So much of our lives revolve around the 7 days we call a week.
“The week in review”
“The post of the week”
We cram a lot of tasks into 7 days, and most of those are crammed into the 5 days that we await the weekend. This can put a lot of strain on us as we try to prioritize the things weed need and balance them against the things we want. This becomes even more stressful as we zoom out and look at the tasks laid before us for the month. We focus so much on our weeks, our months that we can neglect our hours and our days. It’s often said that we need to focus on the ‘bigger picture’ to think ‘long term,’ but if we haven’t learned to take it day by day first this can quickly become overwhelming. As someone with anxiety, this is a hard learned lesson I have to remind myself of daily. I want to share some of the things that I’ve learned to help me destress and examine my days, and give an example of how I put each into practice.
Don’t overstate the importance of your happiness. We can really overlook the small things that make us happy day today. When you start your day, ask yourself “What can I do to make myself happy today?” No matter how busy you get you always have time to do something that you enjoy. This is important because when we access our happiness we also assess changes that we need to make to be happy. Do you like to cook? Do you take solace from time with your pets? Maybe you enjoy the silence around you as you read a good book? I personally like to write fiction and I set a goal for when I will make time for it and how much I will write. I meet these goals with varying degrees of success, but if I can’t get around to it every single day that’s ok, as long as I am mindful of my goal each day.
It’s really important that we recognize what our limits are as they pertain to our mental well-being. The things that can trigger stress vary widely from person to person so it can take time before we become familiar with our triggers, once we do we are able to think on and find coping strategies and as a result, gain a better understanding of ourselves as well. I know that crowded areas can often trigger my anxiety, so I’ve learned that taking a moment to find a quiet area and listening to the sounds around me help me to calm my nerves and prepare myself for being physically in a crowd.This works for smaller crowds but with larger ones I have to realize my limitations, and I’m still working on becoming comfortable with them. It took years to learn this and I would never have learned if I simply avoided what triggered my stress. It’s only when we confront our fears and anxiety that we can really start to overcome them.
Finding a way to unwind at the end of a long day is one of the most important aspects to taking your weeks day by day. Always try to set aside time for something you enjoy or that you find relaxing. I usually save this for the end of the day because this way I feel like I have earned my leisure time. Video games are my go-to for winding down at the end of a long day. I enjoy being immersed in another world where my choices have weight but are also inconsequential at the same time. This is just one method though, yours can be specific to you, and you can have more than one.
Keeping lists and setting reminders are some more great ways to slow things down and look at them on a smaller scale. Each night you can write out the tasks you want to complete for the next day. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a visual aid to monitor progress, this can help you keep sight of your goals. It can also help to set reminders for these tasks on your phone or tablet with a little message reminding you to get the job done! No excuses no buts, you have to make the commitment in order to reap the reward. Most importantly, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. When you start to feel depressed, when you start to feel anxious, remind yourself why your goals are important to you.
By: Andre Olden, Anxiety In Teens Contributor