Taking the Situation One Step at a Time
In managing the demands our current national crisis has brought to us, it is easy to give into our emotions and begin making negative decisions that are damaging to our physical and emotional health. Bad decisions have a way of feeding off of each other and escalating over time. The good thing is that positive choices work the same way.
One positive decision sets up the next positive decision. Taking one small step at a time can help you feel more in control of your decisions and minimizes the unnecessary questions we use to procrastinate. Sometimes, making a list of the tasks you need to accomplish and beginning with one of the easier tasks on your list helps build momentum. This forward momentum builds confidence as more is achieved. The sense of accomplishment becomes a growing snowball, as long as you stick to your routine and don’t allow your old behaviors and thoughts to creep back in and slow you down.
This approach also lessens the stress of tasks that have to be done every day, as each item has its place and time and is not allowed to cast a cloud on the rest of your day. This reduces anxious or self-defeating thoughts before and during the activity (e.g., “Maybe I’ll just skip this today.”, “I hate doing this.”, “I just want to escape!”). Here are just a few of the activities around which you can create a routine:
· Preparing for sleep, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day
· Setting aside time each night to plan for tomorrow’s events
· Daily exercise, meditation, or inspirational reading
· Household chores and meal preparation
· Time for unwinding after work or before bed
· Wrapping up your day and planning for tomorrow before leaving work
By adding more structure to your day, your mind is free to think more clearly, you eliminate clutter from your mind, you more easily adjust to unexpected events, and you are more focused and certain about each activity.
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.