How to Manage a Hectic, Stressful Schedule

Adult life is not without its headaches. Between having a job or maybe two, having pets or kids to take care of, paying the bills, a romantic relationship to sustain, and trying to squeeze in a social life, it pretty much seems impossible!

Often times we find ourselves in an anxious, stress ball.

I personally have a part-time job that averages 25-32 hours a week, a side business that averages roughly the same amount of time, this blog to upkeep, taking care of a pup pup, a relationship, and trying to maintain a social life. Not to mention I have a lot of debt I need to pay off so that adds a bigger weight onto me than all of those things combined. And honestly, there is probably more I could add to that list, but those are the main things.

What I have found that works for me is quite simple that most everyone already knows they need to do it – get a planner. Oh but here’s the twist – USE IT!

Again those both seem so brainless that you are probably heading up towards the “Exit” button as you are reading this. But hold on just a second, because you haven’t even gotten to the main point I want to make.

Yes getting a planner and using it is what we have been told to do, day in and day out, that this is not new news. In fact, how is this supposed to fix your problems any differently?

Instead what I want you to do when you are writing in your planner is to write down absolutely everything – item by item. People say “don’t sweat the small stuff”, but a lot of times in our busy schedules, it’s those small things that we need to get done that we end up forgetting. Because the feeling of accomplishment is bigger when you can have small wins throughout an entire day as opposed to having a few bigger ones that may or may not be able to get done in one day.

For example, instead of writing “clean out car”, separate it into multiple jobs. So you would end up writing something like:

  • clean out trunk
  • clean out cup holders
  • organize center counsel, etc

And for content creators like myself, instead of writing “post on social media” because let’s be real, that could be A LOT of things, instead write something like:

  • post on Instagram
  • post on Facebook
  • pin 1 original style look on Pinterest
  • repin 3 things on Pinterest
  • do Insta stories about (insert topic/client here)

So here’s a look into a the kind of things I write in my planner.

As you can see, I always put my work schedule at the top of the day in orange because that is the most important and most time consuming. I also separate my social media postings in a few different categories that way I can remember them all (sometimes I forget how busy I am!). Most weeks I try to write something that will keep me on track to one of my goals. This week’s goal was to “Remember to live conservatively! You have bills to pay for and two mini vacays to pay for <3”. I feel more inclined to keep myself in check when I have this reminder. And sometimes I even write things in my days that are just normal functions of being a human, like “remember to wash your hair”, “drink water”, “eat dinner”, etc. Sometimes it’s so easy for me to get caught up in getting my chores and work done that I will go through a whole day and be like “Why am I hungry? Oh because I didn’t eat lunch. Why do I feel like meh? Oh because I only had coffee and didn’t actually drink any water all day.”

Our days are crazy, and a lot of times our attention gets diverted mid-chore. By splitting things up into multiple jobs, you can get something done as opposed to leaving major things on your list un-checked off! Not to mention, you can remember the small things in life that keep us healthy!

The other thing I do is that I add things onto my list in my planner even after I have already accomplished them. Did you already take your dog for a walk today? Write it in your planner and immediately check it or cross it off! Even though the activity is already done, you can have a sense of accomplishment about it and make your day feel like a success.

And it is very important to cross or check things off! Although I like the clean look of putting a colored check mark next to a completed chore, I cannot tell you the extreme satisfaction that is scribbling something out in full black ink. By doing so, you are giving your brain a visual sense of accomplishment by getting one more thing off of your crazy schedule. It’s like doing an insane mic drop in the face of a big chore that you just freaking crushed!

Once you start feeling like you’re checking more things off, your day will just become a catalyst of success. You’ll find yourself looking for minor things you can do just so you can keep the success train chugging right along! Starting with small accomplishments adds up quickly and by the end of the day you will look back at your planner and see all the things you have done!

However, it is important to note here that it is 100% okay to not get everything checked off on your list (as seen by my planner). Again, life happens and sometimes things come up randomly that need more attention or maybe one chore took a little longer than what you expected. Or maybe work was just more stressful one day than it was another and you just don’t have the energy to do what you planned to. Do what feels right and don’t push yourself. More so, it’s okay to not have anything planned in a day. It’s okay to just take a day or two to yourself, detox from some stress, and care for yourself by being lazy and catching up on some TV.

No one knows what struggle you are dealing with or the type of hectic life you are living! I promise you that by taking some time to give yourself some praise for your accomplishments (however small they may be!) will give your mind some ease and make you feel like through all the madness that there is still some progress being made to manage it.

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A Different Method in Dealing With Anxiety

“Oh baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle! I’m losing my mind just a little..” Catchy song, right? It almost makes you want to play the song right this second! But what if instead I had put…

“It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world!” Now this song is also unfortunately pretty catchy too. But it has the reverse effect on us in that we definitely don’t want to listen to it longer than we have to, but it’s more likely to be what will get stuck in our head the rest of the day!

You might be wondering how this relates to anxiety, and the connection is quite simple. Sometimes songs come into our head rather randomly and based on whether we like these songs or not usually depend on how much they affect our day.

If we like a song, odds are that we welcome the song into our head and more often than not we have the urge to listen to the song! And shortly after listening to the song, it is no longer stuck in our head, we have a great day, and we go about our business!

However, if it’s a song that annoys us, we try our best to block it out. We get frustrated when it keeps popping up in our heads and it takes a lot of time before it finally leaves our head.

Anxiety acts in the same way.

Anxiety is defined as distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. In other words, they are the thoughts that come to mind that you didn’t ask to be there, that usually aren’t caused by any substantial evidence, and are usually irrational or outlandish.

So let’s get this straight – anxiety is a bitch. I have talked about it before in one of my other blog posts discussing tactics to maintaining a healthy mental lifestyle, but we haven’t talked about the topic head-on.

So let’s.

My own journey with anxiety actually started about two years ago when I finally came to the realization that I had it! I know this sounds like nothing new – most people do have some form of anxiety at some point in their life. I just remember sitting in my bathroom with the door locked, sobbing on the floor because I was beyond stressed about my financial situation. Then out of the blue, one of my friends texts me and asks how I was doing and if I was okay – maybe he had some sixth sense to my duress! But I texted him back and told him what was going on, and about what I was thinking and feeling. And he simply responds with “oh you’re having a panic attack.”

UM – WHAT?!

But over that next week, I made a doctor’s appointment and they told me what my friend had already figured out for me. I had anxiety. After that, I started to reflect a little more on how this may have been affecting my life without me knowing that it was anxiety-based. And the truth is that it had actually come up multiple times in my past relationships, friendships, and life situations. I looked back on some hard times and realized that WOW, I actually had experienced more than one panic attack since I was about eighteen years old.

Now that I am writing this with about two years of knowledge about my own anxiety, I have a great way of handling it! In the first year of knowing and living with it, I tried to shut down the thoughts that were coming to me. What if my boyfriend wasn’t truly in love with me? What if I would never bounce back from my failure with my small shop? What if I couldn’t salvage my life into something lovable and livable?

What I found, which is what I think many people find when trying to not think about a song that they hate that got stuck in their head, is that TRYING to shut down those thoughts DOES. NOT. WORK.

By trying to not think about it, you end up thinking about it more and feeling worse. It ends up stressing you out! And the final result could end up being a panic attack.

So instead, what I am going to suggest is to treat every song/thought (good or annoying) like a good song. What does that mean? That means accept the thought, take control of the thought, and let it pass.

So if I am being completely honest with you, my biggest annoying anxiety thought is that my boyfriend isn’t in this relationship as much as I am. I think about him going out on his own and what he could be doing or who he could be doing it with. Unfortunately he has earned that mistrust. No he has never cheated, but he has done things that broke trust and when trust is broken in any aspect of the relationship, it makes your thoughts wander to other aspects of the relationship.

Those thoughts have plagued me for a very, very long time and I have always felt so guilty for thinking the worst in him when he hasn’t done the things that I am thinking of him doing. And in the past, when I would think these things and end up subconsciously treating him like a criminal, he shut me out, he got upset, and he felt like I was accusing him of things he didn’t do.

So instead what I do is quite simple.

This thought of him cheating on me comes to mind. Instead of being nervous about the thought, I welcome the thought. “Oh so we are thinking about this? Alright let’s go. Let’s give this hoe-bag a name. Let’s set the scene. Where did they meet? How long have they been talking? How are they sneaking around? And better yet, oh, let’s have me catch them in the act and let’s think about what I would do and say.” You better believe that I think of everything! Instead of the thoughts controlling me, I’m controlling the thoughts. I am taking control of where the thoughts go. If they want to be in my head, then fine let’s give the thoughts a good seat of the movie screen. Let’s focus on the details.

And you know what ends up happening? I think about it…. and then I don’t. It’s the same thing that happens when “The Middle” starts playing in your head and then you play it on Spotify real fast. You think about it, you listen to the song, and you move on with your day!

What ends up happening is that since I took control of the thoughts, I led the thoughts where I wanted to go. What ends up happening is that I get to the end of the scenario and I think wow…. that took A LOT to make that thought happen. And more often than not, my loving boyfriend texts me, or walks into the room, or he cuddles me closer at night at the moment that those thoughts start to pass, and I smile. And then I start having a new thought. I think of the day we get to go on a nice vacation together with our puppy, or I think of the day he asks me to be his wife.

I know anxiety comes in all forms and the thoughts are even more varied so maybe this method isn’t for everyone. I know it’s scary when these thoughts come to mind so the idea of thinking about them more may be intimidating or overwhelming. But I encourage you to stop trying to make them stop. Instead take control! Try to create the ENTIRE scene and play it out in your head and remember to include how you will come out of that situation stronger, better, and more badass!

Because at the end of the day.. wouldn’t you rather live in your reality than the nightmares that you have created in your head?

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