Last Friday I was having a swim with the hubster and chatting about the weekend to come, and in particular Saturday. Everyone was either working or out or studying and I, well, I really didn’t have any plans or agenda as to how I was going to spend the time.
There was a time when this didn’t bother me but in the past couple of years, I have found a growing and uneasy sense of loneliness, particularly on Saturdays when there’s nothing planned and no one to ‘hang’ with.
Because I work from home, I am very often alone in the office, and often alone in the house throughout the day, and I find this loneliness quite baffling but it’s there, that’s for sure. And it’s been bugging me that I haven’t been able to squash it.
As we lapped back and forth, chatting and just enjoying the sunshine and the company, I realised that maybe what I was lacking was a plan. I know, I know, everyone says that you need to have days where you don’t plan, and there is great wisdom in this.
But this is what I have realised, and have decided to stop feeling so guilty about. I need plans. I need a strategy for each day and as much as I’d like to pretend that having an agenda-free day suits me to a T, it doesn’t.
Now I am not suggesting that we become inflexible. Or that it’s not okay to have little or no agenda. What I am saying is that for me, a plan helps to eradicate one very nasty and insidious little thing.
Planning and strategising, in particular, gives me a scaffold to work within; a framework that can be adhered to exactly, or that can be shifted around to suit if the day unfolds differently.
And this reduces the level of anxiety significantly.
As anxiety is often exacerbated by the feeling of uncontrolled anticipation (i.e. the anticipation of an unknown outcome), a ‘day off’ with nothing to do is top of the list for feeding this beast and so, for me, this is possibly the worst way that I can spend the day.
What I am grateful for today, therefore, is this revelation. I am grateful that a) this idea occurred to me and b) I felt ready to acknowledge that this is something I need to incorporate into my own mental health plan.
I personally believe that God guides my thoughts and ideas and don’t hesitate to acknowledge that lately he’s been guiding my perspective in new ways. I am seeing things more clearly; making stronger links between what I am experiencing and what I understand.
So this is what I have learned:
Everyone has a unique internal drive and for those who suffer with anxiety, a day off could be the worst possible way to spend their time. Perhaps then, what we should be doing when we try to encourage someone to ‘relax’ is find out what makes them feel relaxed and support that. It’s going to look different for everyone and once we stop putting our own agendas on others’ shoulders, we may just see them really thrive and suffer less.
So the wonderful thing about learning these things at my age, is that I learn them quickly and can make changes to how I approach these battles as well as how I assume others should approach them. Just because I learn and thrive in this way, it doesn’t mean my hubby, children or friends are going to resonate with it. This is my unique way of managing my time, regardless of what I am supposed to do with it, and they will have theirs.
Anyway, I pray you have an incredible week, feel energised by everything that you do and have the courage to change the things that drain you.
If you need encouragement to pursue a routine that better suits your unique neurological wiring and mental/ emotional health, please let me know in the comments. I would love to support you in your journey, as I am sure others would too.
Be a blessing,
p.s. I actually had a really great day on Saturday, ticking a number of tasks off my list and feeling really happy with how I managed what has been otherwise a very challenging type of day.
p.p.s You can follow my mental health journey here.