Part of my healing journey and my mental health care is trying to stay focused on the future and being productive. It is very easy to get caught up in memories and cry fests. (Just ask my dogs, they have been very attuned to my moods and are excellent at surrounding me when I need extra snuggles.)
And to do that I have started my “Today I will” lists. I got this idea from a Tik Toker who is struggling on her own career path and with anxiety and she talks about how seemingly innocuous routines have helped her keep her anxiety in check. While anxiety is not one of my own challenges, losing focus and then becoming unproductive certainly is.
As a result, I am working on creating small routines throughout the day to break up the time I have in my head if you know what I mean. Here’s what I’ve got so far…
I use our Home app to have lights come on in the house before the sun. Starting my day before the sun up is a psychological win for me. By the time the sun is up, I am showered, dressed, have greeted the dogs and am ready to start my day. But even more than this, I have begun setting a water bottle (glass that I fill every night) and my vitamins by my bed. I researched the best times to take some of my supplements and what to take them with and I have about 4 that should be taken 30 minutes to 2 hours before you eat. So I sit up, take my supplements, stretch because I’m old and my back hurts, and send my gratitude prayers up before I pad to the bathroom to brush my teeth and shower.
(And this has gotten so much easier since I programmed our thermostat so the heat goes from 62 degrees to 68 degrees about 15 minutes before my lights come on. I wake up to light and warmth. Win!)
By the time, I’m showered, the dogs who sleep in crates are ready to see me. And by that, I mean, they are making noises which are annoying enough to hurry me up to care for them.
On my way
Before I greet the crated dogs, I ask Siri to turn on the lights in my office, stop by to put in my hearing aids, turn on my computer, and complete my I WILL list. Right now this is just a post it note I stick to my computer screen. This is the KEY to my day.
I tune out the whines of the dogs. Shut off my music if I’m playing any. And I sift through my mind for priorities for the day.
These are not work tasks, those all live in my calendar or project management tool. They are not personal/household chores that also live in my project management tool. But they are growth minded, mental health minded. And sometimes, when I get caught up in the emotions swirling, I just need that push to get back in the right mindset. Having these daily goals that put me back on track has made a huge difference.
Throughout the day, if I get caught up and going down a rabbit hole that is not productive or is self defeating, I re-focus by completing or at least working on one of these items. These typically get me back to work either personally or professionally. And by the end of the day, I have accomplished something outside of work and chores.
Closing out the day
I go to bed early. I am old. And it’s cold. And I like it that way. My kids think I’m crazy.
But the reality is that I am often here alone. I don’t have to cook for anyone very often. And I’m not a TV watcher. So once I am wrapped with work and the dogs are to bed (ie crated ones in their “boxes”), I take my night time supplements and head to my room to get cozy. For the last few months, I have watched Tik Toks til I turned off my light. But that routine has gotten old and is not very productive. Not to mention, these past couple of weeks, I cannot stand to see the relationship related videos and quotes, they just hurt too much.
So I’m switching it up. Instead of entertaining myself with video, I am now reading an Amazon Prime available book on my phone. This keeps me from running up library fines or even having to go to the library anymore. My night time reading is for pleasure rather than work. And I’m finding that I am not up near as long with a book as I was watching videos.
The financial side
Now I know many long time BAD readers are going to say, what does this have to do with getting out of debt. A lot really! The old me would set the world on fire, ie going on a spending spree when my emotions got the best of me. A comfort mechanism. The new one, is 100 focused on becoming debt free, financially free. (If you clicked on my blog link in my last post, you might have seen the domain name is I want more free – that is my goal.)
Creating this micro routines keeps me focused, keeps my mental health stable, and keeps me making good decisions.
At this point, it can only get better. I am believing that and holding on to that.
Hope is a digital marketing manager and foster/adoptive single mom to five kids. She has run her own consulting company for over 15 years and took a leap of faith returning to the corporate world in 2021 to a job and team she loves! Hope began sharing her journey with the BAD community in the Spring of 2015 and feels like she has finally mastered the balance between family first and wise financial decisions.