Enjoy Your Weekend (and Today)

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in anxiety, Coping Skills, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Stress | 0 comments

It’s Wednesday, and I’m scrambling to get ready for a long holiday weekend.  I’m looking forward to time off, spending time with friends and “getting outta dodge”. However, the usual To-Do List has gotten longer.  There is more to pack into each day this week – aside from the usual circus of taking care of kids.   Clients talk to me about being overwhelmed like this all the time: “How can I manage the stress of day to day activities better?  It seems my life is all about getting through “the list” – all I do is work, chores, and errands.”

Here are a few strategies – ones that I’ll attempt to use during the next couple days.

1)      Don’t forget to have fun.  My kids are good at reminding me of this. Even if we are late for school, or there are things to get done around the house, they are always having fun. Singing a song, rhyming, telling jokes, throwing a ball in the air, dancing, balancing, playing with toys (of course), coming up with imaginary worlds, racing, having contests.  There’s no reason that fun can’t happen while we’re also getting things done.  Don’t forget to play.  Too often as adults we get into the rut of “I’ll enjoy myself once everything gets done.” The problem is that too often we’re never done.  We might as well enjoy ourselves NOW.  No one on their death bed ever said “I’m glad I enjoyed all those Saturdays!”

 

2)      Compartmentalize. Go ahead, make your list – but once it’s time to work, just focus on work. If you’re at home, focus on what needs to get done at home.  When you start to go off track, just put that thought of another task into an imaginary box (or compartment) in your head. Imagine that this box has a sign on it “for later”, and trust that you can go back to it at any time. This safety deposit box will help you to relax, knowing that whatever you’re concerned about will not be forgotten.  Putting all the clutter away for safe keeping helps calm your mind down and makes life less overwhelming.   If you’re getting things done, stay on task. Don’t always stop to check texts, or respond to a Facebook post from a friend. Stay in the moment.  We’re so connected with technology now that our brains get overloaded with a constant influx of new information. You don’t have to have your phone with you while you’re folding laundry. You don’t have to respond to a co-worker’s email while you’re at the grocery store.  You don’t have to do your household budget while you’re on your lunch break.  Whatever you’re doing, just do that, and put the rest in a box.

 

3)      Ask yourself: What do I have control over at this moment?  Do that.  We spend a lot of time thinking about what we need to do later after we get task #10 done.  In reality, we don’t really have any control over whether or not we’ll get #11 done at all (until we get a chance to start that task).  Too often we spend all our time at work worrying about what needs to get done at home, and all our time at home worrying about a meeting tomorrow.  Try to stay in the “here and now”, right now is what we have control over.  No one can be mindful and in the moment all the time, but if you practice it gets easier.  Taking care of tasks that you can do right now is more enjoyable than worrying about all the other things that are completely out of your grasp.  You might even realize that it’s not all that important to finish the list.

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