I know everyone can relate to the feeling of “I’m not looking forward to what’s waiting for me at the office” after taking time off work. I took a week off work, as I mentioned I would be in my previous blog post. It was nice to have time off to “get things done” that you usually can’t do during the week and deal with things that I had been putting off. I don’t feel rejuvenated or like it was a vacation and I am still tired, but it was good to be away from the office and sitting in a chair all day.
Of course, being off work means my usual schedule is different, which means my sleep pattern is off and I still experienced anxiety and low feelings.
I saw some friends, went out for some nice dinners and actually enjoyed the food which was a good sign (meaning my anxiety let me do so!) and although I feel like I didn’t accomplish a lot, my husband says otherwise. This led to a discussion about happiness, where he said, “I don’t want to sound selfish, but I just want you to be happy. I don’t know what that will take or what will make you happy.” Of course, I don’t think that makes him selfish, but it is easier when your significant other is happy. Happiness, like success, can mean different things to different people. I don’t know what will make me happy either but that’s for a different blog post.
This is what I had hoped to do (in no particular order):
- Organize my paperwork, bills, receipts etc. for tax returns and file my return (and pay taxes) (Done)
- Change over my closets from winter clothes to summer clothes (Done)
- Change over coat closet (Done)
- Change over the shoe closet from boots to shoes/sandals
- Get passport photos and renew my passport (Done)
- Do some cooking to make things easier for this week (Done- Made a pasta salad, hard boiled some eggs, cut up veggies for snacking and cooked dinner – this was a big accomplishment for me considering I was avoiding the kitchen)
- Do some pleasure reading (a minimal amount)
- Do some colouring to relax (Yup)
- Organize my closet and get rid of any garbage (Done)
- Organize all of my makeup and minimize (likely to get done)
- Write a series of blog posts to have on hand for my business
- Use my social media dashboard to plan posts for the next few weeks for all my social media accounts/client accounts
- Clean out my google alerts in my Gmail account (80% done)
- Prepare for my presentation on Thursday
I always say there is not enough time in a day and I never feel like I have accomplished “enough”, whether it is personal goals or at work. My husband asked me if I experience self-doubt, which I do. I have issues with self-esteem and self-confidence that I have written about before. This started after receiving my diagnosis, first because of my fear of stigma, and then because of weight gain, memory issues and feeling forgetful and “foggy”. Oh, and don’t forget tired. I question if decisions I make are the right decisions, if I remember to do things, or if I can’t make decisions, I am unbearably indecisive (but let’s not go there- let’s just say deciding what to write can take hours).
Now that I listed all the things I wanted to do/hoped to accomplish, I see that I was pretty productive. I pushed myself but it was worth it. My home office still is cluttered but note that I did not have “organize office” on my list. I wanted to start exercising, but I know myself so “go to the gym” was not on my list. I guess I am getting to know my limitations and what sets me off, what I realistically can and can’t do in a week and what kind of pressure I can put on myself.
Here are some tips for setting goals:
- Make a list so you can check/cross off tasks as they are completed;
- Set realistic goals for yourself so you don’t overwhelm yourself – you are only one person;
- Break the tasks down into smaller tasks so they don’t seem so daunting;
- Figure out how long it will take you to complete certain tasks so you know how much you can do in one day;
- Remind yourself that this is your list, and the only person you are answering to is yourself (which is good and bad, because you can take the pressure off yourself, but you are also your worst critic and may pressure yourself more);
- Take pleasure in knowing that you are able to accomplish any goal (s) you set;
- Do not give yourself a deadline (unless you have to);
- Remember that even completing one task is a big accomplishment!
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!