The Many Ways to Use a Planner to Battle Anxiety and Depression | Giftie Etcetera: The Many Ways to Use a Planner to Battle Anxiety and Depression

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Many Ways to Use a Planner to Battle Anxiety and Depression

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Confession time...I'm currently wearing brown nail polish. Honestly, it's more a dark bronze than an actual brown, but no matter.

What matters is the reason why I'm wearing such a dark, difficult-to-ignore nail polish.

anxiety, depression, medical, planner, medical planner

My therapist said that I had to paint my nails. (The above picture, which I decided on due to the fact that even my pug nose looks depressed, is pre-nail painting.)

My depression and anxiety (which is much better, thanks for asking) comes with some quirks. One of those is obsessive cuticle biting (think drawing blood), so painted nails it is, just to remind me not to do it.

(For the record, I officially do not have OCD! My doctor had me tested, and she assures me that I am "at-risk" for but not yet at the level of full-blown OCD. 

On a related note, I have been advised to stop driving back home to check if the door is locked.

And, yes, my therapist did find the humor in the fact that I am so unlikely to check the oven that the smoke alarms go off three times a week, but my back door must be locked and I will drive home for miles to check the lock.

She laughed. She admitted that it was, in her words, "a little crazy." I'll take that as a compliment! I like her.)

As my Loyal Readers know, I use a journal instead of my planner for therapeutic purposes. 

(This helps, too.)

This journal is perfect for self-therapy:

Gratitude Journal

While I don't love talking about this particular health condition, I realize that depression is just as serious as my stroke issues (and the two issues are likely related). I also hope this post - and being as open as possible - will help someone else who is struggling.

Besides, my planner is a big part of my treatment. I talk about my planner all the time (and more people mock you for using a paper day planner than for depression, just for the record), so why not here?

I use my planner in so many ways to handle this crisis.

Eliminate Anxiety

My calendar and task lists help. Simply knowing what I need to do and when I need to be somewhere helps keep my anxiety levels lower. If the anxiety ramps up, I simply go through the plan, one step at a time.

Allow Saying "No"

I am a people pleaser. It's seriously bad. For a long time, I wouldn't monetize my blog because I was scared readers would leave (even though monetizing doesn't cost my Loyal Readers anything and my content stayed quality).

But being able to check my planner and determine that I truly don't have enough time, or even to see that I haven't had a date night in months, helps me to be more realistic about accepting obligations.

Also, pull out your planner and check it before you say "no," and watch what happens. People respect the "no" when you check your planner first. They assume you must really be too busy! It's like magic.

Remind to Take Medication Daily

In addition to a phone alarm and a pill sorter, my daily checklist includes a check for taking meds.

It's the single most important thing that I do to take care of myself, so I duplicate reminders.

Maintain Control of the Physical Body

I log exercise. I write down eating and sleeping patterns when and if they get troublesome, so I can look for causes. My planner gives me a place to do that. (My journal is different. It is about feelings. My planner records facts.)

Manage Medicals

My planner gives me a place to organize medical history, prescriptions, and doctors' contact information.

Even if you are perfectly healthy, you won't always be. Having a planner lets anybody be prepared if a health crisis sneaks up.

If you enjoyed this post, consider reading:

Creating Happiness in a Planner

Free Printable for Dealing with Depression or Anxiety

How to Make Mondays Better

Avoiding the Sunday Blues

Crying in Public


Don't these look fun?
Happiness TableTopics Cube

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Partied at: Coffee and Conversation, Happy Homelife, Thought Provoking Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, 100 Happy Days, Best of the Weekend, Inspiration Spotlight, My Favorite Things, Create Link Inspire, Make It Pretty Monday, You're Gonna Love It, Turn It Up Tuesday


Geertrude Verweij said...

Glad to hear you're doing better. Depression is hard.

Also glad to hear that it's just "a little crazy" to drive back and check if the door is locked. I do that a lot and it's always locked when I check.
But last week I drove off, told myself not to worry and came home after three houers to find I forgot to lock the door...

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing. I get panic attacks off and on. They started back in the 90's after I suffered a traumatic experience. I started using a planner at work after that to take control of my emotions. And now I recently started decorating it a little and I love my planner more!

Anonymous said...

Loved this! Thank you for your willingness to share. I have suffered from this illness on and off for years, but more severely after my 2nd child (turning 3 next month). So, I am encouraged by seeing how you are putting your health first. It's so hard for us women to do. I would love more examples of using the planner to schedule self-care!! I love painting my nails too. CC

Tracy said...

Thank you for writing this post. I was diagnosed with depression about six years ago so I know not only the struggle, but the stigma associated with it. (My oldest daughter has diagnosed depression and anxiety too.) I think you are absolutely on point with how a planner can help you feel more in control and I especially like the way to use it to say no as I am a "people pleaser" too!
Love your blog - not only for the great planning tips but also for all the honesty!

Anonymous said...

Giftie - CC back one other thought. Did you learn any of your planning strategies in any course? I know you have an education background and I find that since I struggle with ADHD/Executive Function your ideas are helpful to me. I just dropped my daughter off at preschool and the teacher reminded me I still need to reschedule her conference. She was sick the day of her scheduled conference. Where did I go wrong in letting this slip off my radar? Completely forgot. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this, Kristy. I'm blessed to say I'm in good health and don't take any meds (hub on the other hand.....), but I still track certain symptoms in my planner as I've been getting migraines a bit too frequently. I also tend to exhibit ADHD at times as well (hub will be telling me a story, but I'll be making a mental list of everything I need to get done once he's done yammering) Using a planner is a must for me because if it isn't written down then it's as good as forgotten.

I switched back to my ringed planner because (although I love certain aspects of the bullet journal system) having to transform a plain notebook into the type of system my brain needs to process just stressed me out. Plus I was journaling in it as well which prevented me from keeping it open on my desk with personal stuff on display. I'm best off with my formatted inserts to navigate my household, personal and business life and use a journal for more personal writing

Unknown said...

Nail polish is how I was able to quit biting my nails (as much). I still play with my nails and cuticles way too much, but was able to beat the habit of tearing them down to tiny little bits with the nail polish "hack" - hopefully it will be helpful for you as well!

Giftie Etcetera said...

oh, you guys, I am so happy to read these comments. I was gone all day and didn't check in on my blog until now (late in the day).

All this love and support makes me feel so blessed. I hope you each know that I am walking beside you in your struggles, too!

SurpriseAvonLady said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I can totally relate! I NEVER thought about using my planner to help with my anxiety and depression! I got distracted with the "decorating thing!" Then I got sad because I didn't get it decorated, another fail for me etc. First on my list is to do my nails 'cause yep, got anxious in traffic today and now have sore fingers! Thanks again! Dawn

SurpriseAvonLady said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I can totally relate! I NEVER thought about using my planner to help with my anxiety and depression! I got distracted with the "decorating thing!" Then I got sad because I didn't get it decorated, another fail for me etc. First on my list is to do my nails 'cause yep, got anxious in traffic today and now have sore fingers! Thanks again! Dawn

Anonymous said...

I, unfortunately, also suffer from these illnesses. I was diagnosed with Major Despression in 2003, since then I haven't been the same... I really enjoy reading your posts and blog. I have learned so much with you...
Thanks for sharing with us about something so private.
I am so glad that you are feeling much better!
Have a great night and wonderful day!
Warm regards 😀👍

Anonymous said...

Hello Giftie, in my life I have possibly bought over 100 planners, began to fill in a few dozen and forgotten or lost every single one. What's the secret to keeping it important and relevant every day? Oh I need to mention that I am ADHD challenged and really need to keep a planner.

Lyli said...

Welcome to Thought-Provoking Thursday! I really struggled with keeping things organized during my bout with depression in 2012. I ended up going back to a hard copy planner, and ditching just using the phone. It helps me to see everything laid out and to write it down.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this with us at the 100 Happy Days linkup! I also struggle with anxiety, and I agree that having a planner truly helps. I laughed when I read that we should pull out our planners before saying "no" because the person will believe us! Ha!
Thanks for such a useful post & for being brave enough to write about difficult things for others to read. :)

Unknown said...

Depression is such an awful battle. Thanks for sharing your tips at Turn It Up Tuesday

Kathi said...

I'm the same way about the door, only I'm afraid I forgot to shut it. I've driven for miles back home to check. (For the record, I've never left the door open.) My solution is to say out loud "I'm shutting the door" as I pull it shut. For some reason I can remember doing that and don't have to drive back home to check.

Unknown said...

Thank you! If I read one more perky Ms.Perfect planner idea, I'd probably claw my own eyes out! Anyways, I had never thought of using it to help myself say no to others. I also have issues of being a people pleaser. I never thought of putting my medications in there either. Thanks for sharing & baby steps!

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