I Sometimes Create My Own Stressful Situations

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Over the weekend, I created a very busy day for myself on Saturday. I didn’t need to, but I have a tendency to over-book, over-commit and over schedule myself (WHY?!). Granted, if everything worked out time-wise how it should (or how it does in my mind), it would be a different story, but we all know that is generally not the case. Something is delayed, something takes longer than we anticipate and something doesn’t go as smoothly as we planned, which in turn means it takes longer to complete.

Here’s the way I thought my day was going to go:

  • get up, eat breakfast, make workout & get new playlist
  • Leave the house at 9:30 to bike to the Y
  • Teach 10-11 then do a quickie workout on my own
  • Leave the gym at 11:15
  • Shower quickly and head to a hair appointment at 12:30
  • 12:30-1:15 – hair cut
  • After hair, go to the grocery store to pick up other things we needed for the night
  • While this was all going on, Roberto would be getting ground pork in the North End
  • 3:15-3:30 leave for Jessi and Chuck’s

I mean, just looking at that written out now makes it so clear that I was setting myself up for a stressful day by jamming my schedule so full of different things. If ONE thing got delayed or took longer, it would literally throw off the rest of the day, so when multiple things don’t go as planned (as was the case for me on Saturday), I was left feeling anxious and like I was running out of time to get things done. It was not a relaxing day, even though it was filled with lots of my favorite things.

As we drove to Jessi and Chuck’s house (which was the thing I was most excited about!), 30 minutes late, mind you, RM asked what was wrong. We were stuck in traffic and I hate being late and when I told him these things and how anxious they were making me feel, he quite bluntly said, “Monique, you do realize that you created a busy day when you didn’t have to, right?”. Touché, RM, touché.

And, while I didn’t necessarily like being called out on this ( 😉 ), the guy did have a point. I could’ve spared myself a whole lot of stress, rushing around, and anxiety if I had just not filled my schedule so much. Committed to one less thing. Given myself time to enjoy fewer things rather than rush through them. RESTED and relaxed, maybe!

While I’ve gotten better at this since meeting RM (he, unlike me, much prefers not having plans and just going with the flow in terms of what he’s feeling on any particular day, especially the weekends), I still have the occasional self-imposed busy/stressful day like I did last weekend. Or even just the need to fill up “free” time with things I always wish I could do if I had more free time. However, I am really working on doing less of this, because at the end of the day it robs me of the enjoyment of each activity – and there’s no fun in that!

I’d love to hear from you – if you tend to be like me in terms of filling up your schedule, how do you force yourself to slow down? To not overbook or over commit? To “go with the flow” rather than have everything planned out?

And, if you’re not like me, but rather more like RM in that you prefer to not have plans scheduled out, what’s a tip you have for people to be like that? 

For me, before I over-book myself thinking that I’m a super woman who can handle it all, I’m going to think about what I REALLY want to do and what can wait. For the thing (or things if they’re spread out) I really want to do – that will be my focus and if nothing else happens that day then it’s no big deal. Bonus- if I get other things done based on time, that’s just things I don’t have to do another day!

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