Self-Care: Structure

book-pages-planner-calendarMy life — that is, my days and weeks, is really structured. I go to physical therapy once a week (it used to be twice), go to the salon once a week (alternating services each time), and go to therapy once a week. Each of those appointments are on the same day each week and at the same times on each specific day. They are written on a desk calendar. I try to schedule things so I get out every day, either with my husband or by myself, in my continued effort to fight my anxiety over leaving the house alone.

Even my daily routine is structured. I won’t go into the minutiae of what I do (brush my teeth, feed the dog and cats, etc.), but I do them in the same order every day, and at approximately the same times each day. I walk the dog at 2:00PM, because I know that most of the neighborhood dogs have already been walked (Rudy loves people, but doesn’t care for some dogs!). My husband is trying to work from the office more instead of from home lately, and usually this means that Rudy goes to daycare. I’ve gotten past the anxiety of having to care for him by myself all day, so now he stays home. This is a big step for me!

If my husband and I make plans, those are on the calendar, too. (I bought our tickets to see the new Star Wars movie, which comes out this weekend, last October!)

My anxiety decreases if I know what to expect. Yes, things pop up such as doctors’ and other appointments, and I can’t always meet my psychiatrist on the same day and time each month, but as long as I know about these “non-regular” appointments at least a week ahead of time, I can fit them into my schedule and still know what to expect.

I try to make sure my life schedule is the same because I get derailed easily and panic by the unexpected. The biggest example of the unexpected that gets me off track is my husband getting sick, which he did last week. I had a meltdown, which you’ll read about in my next post. (If you follow me on Twitter or read the Twitter feed in my sidebar, then you already know some of this.)

But even trivial, unexpected things affect me, such as discovering that we’re out of yogurt, which I always have for breakfast. That may throw my whole day off. I’m better now about doing something about it, like having a granola bar instead, rather than retreating back to bed or the sofa, and not showering. I’m able to get on with the rest of my day, but sometimes it’s still tough.

I’ve also faced a few unexpected challenges while walking Rudy, which I’ll post about soon. But having a highly structured life helps keep my anxiety in check.

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