Want to combat anxiety or stress? Create a schedule. When we make significant and transformative changes in our lives, we may feel overwhelmed at times. As we begin working through our addiction and the pattern of dominance it holds over our time, creating new habits from large blocks of seemingly empty chasms of time can be overwhelming.
We understand things need to be done. There are places we need to be, not to mention the stuff we added to our to-do list this morning. But unless we do something to make sense of that list, it becomes just one more thing threatening to cripple our efforts to move forward.
Being overwhelmed causes heightened levels of stress. Instead of powering us up to get going and move forward, the opposite effect happens. It can literally freeze our brains until it feels like a solid block of nothing. Swinging into action means thawing that brain of ours so we can stop putting things off for tomorrow.
Stick To It
A sustainable schedule creates a pattern of activity that, after around twenty-one days, becomes a habit and then a routine. Planners work best since even the most basic designs are divided into months, weeks, and days. Other schedules offer more personalized options with inspiring quotes, images, short journaling exercises, and even pictures to color.
The options are wide and varied; just select the one that best matches your personality and budget. Of course, there are digital versions of the above, including online scheduling and planning apps. These are great and can be used alongside another planner; however, even in the convenience of the digital publishing age, paper planners remain popular.
Take Time to Make Time
As you work toward your addiction recovery goals, consider incorporating those goals into your daily planner and subsequent activities. This can become a great way to track your progress over the next twelve months.
At the beginning of your week—such as a Sunday evening or Monday morning—create a quiet space and spend time planning the week ahead. At the start of these sessions, ask yourself what 3-5 personal goals you would like to achieve by the end of the week. You might not achieve everything, and that is okay. You might begin something that carries over to the following week; being flexible with your schedule is fine; the important thing is creating actionable plans you can start and finish.
Each evening, review your activities and make plans for the following day. Once again, ask yourself what you wish to accomplish, taking something from the list you constructed at the beginning of the week.
- Grab a planner.
- Begin the start of every week with a plan, scheduling your appointments, meetings, phone calls, etc.
- Review your planner at the end of each day. Note your successes. What things do you want to get done tomorrow? Pick one or two from the list you started at the start of the week.
- Be open to change. Keep things flexible. However, this does not mean you can just blow off your responsibilities!
- Don’t forget to build in time for personal downtime however you wish to spend it: family, faith, meditation, or watching your favorite show. Schedule it so you can enjoy your guilt-free break.
- Schedule your support groups and one-on-one counseling sessions. An essential part of your rehabilitation and wellness should not be overlooked.
- Don’t over plan or think every page must be filled. Allow sufficient time for activities, so you can mindfully tend to them.
Those are the basics. From there, you can select colors to highlight the most critical tasks or stuff that falls under a particular category, such as work, support groups, family, and so on.
Taking time to plan your activities can be a rewarding part of recovery. Each activity written on the blank page is a part of your story. It is also a wonderfully concrete way of demonstrating to your inner critic that even on days when you feel stuck in one place, you are still moving forward.
Creating a schedule that you stick to is a great way to support your transformation away from addiction. The act of writing an obligation onto a calendar rather than a scrap piece of paper has the power to make your obligations more concrete. At times, you may feel overwhelmed as you replace old habits with new ones. However, creating a sustainable schedule provides a means to track your progress. On days you feel like you’re at a standstill, it provides evidence that you are still moving forward. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. No matter how far you’ve come on your journey to substance abuse or mental health recovery, we look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035 today.