• Athena Peña

Daunting Days are Depressing

Last Sunday morning, at the ranch, I woke to shotguns and four-wheelers. Feeling complete joy, I laid still, eyes closed, listening to sounds I knew were filling my husband and children with excitement. Monday morning, still in the country, I woke to the hum of gentle rain and felt absolute peace and joy again.

Tuesday morning I woke up in my big comfy bed at home, sad and blah for no known reason. What in the world is going on? I laid in bed and prayed, asking the Lord to show me why I felt sad. I asked for help to get through my day with joy, and to be productive.

Wednesday I conversely woke feeling extremely positive and at peace. Why the significant difference? And in that exact moment, I surmised a critical awareness. Recently I began to schedule time on Friday’s to schedule almost every hour, of my every day for the following week (yes in writing, in an old fashioned planner, because that’s what I prefer). I schedule things like, “take girls to school”, “blog”, “do live video”, “lunch”, “ride bikes with hubby” and of course the obvious, dentist appointments, important meetings, events, and the like.

Unfortunately, I was so busy getting ready the Friday before we left for the ranch, I failed to schedule my following week. And as it happened, I woke up that first morning home with no plan, no known agenda, no sensible course of action for my day, and I felt lost, empty, and sad. I inadvertently planned the rest of my week that day. And to my great surprise, I woke up the following day feeling positive and hopeful. Had I suddenly discovered an amazing phenomenon that is really not so complicated at all?! I believe so.

Consider how this plays out further in your everyday life. If you don’t have your “schedule”, or your days planned out, you wake up to what? A mind racing wild with all the things you need to do, yet no plan of action or schedule to feel assurance you will get anything done. Instead of experiencing any fashion of mindfulness, which by the way I am a huge advocate for, you know only complete chaos. No wonder I woke up feeling content and at peace in the country. I didn’t need a schedule, because I had nothing to do! I did not need an agenda. I didn’t wake up with my mind racing, because I didn’t have a task tornado swirling in my mind. Yet as soon as I returned to reality Tuesday morning with a mound of tasks to complete, and no plan to make them happen, I woke feeling depressed. I felt hopeless, which directly affects my business. When I experience those moments of disorder and chaos, I feel I can’t make it and all the successes up to that point seem to vanish from my mind. I hear thoughts like, “I can’t do this. I don’t have time. I will never get where I want to be.” Ever had any of those before?

If we have a plan, it alleviates the racing thoughts of all we have to do, and allows us to be mindful. When we are mindful, we can be fully present in a moment, because we are not worrying endlessly about the next moments. Mindfulness has been proven to affect physical, mental, and emotional health.

This lack of a plan also affects procrastination that results from the, “I will be happy when ________.” Without a plan, it is easy to believe some grand final destination will bring you great happiness; however, you spin your wheels over and over because you have no plan to get to that grand destination. You become the queen/king of procrastination. Racing thoughts abound. And delusional beliefs of a greater sense of peace and happiness when _________ fill your mind. Yet no plan to get yourself off the starting block. Still wonder why I believe this relates to depression?

Let’s relate this to business… I can watch trainings and make lists of things I need to do all Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. day long, but if I don’t literally write exact tasks in my planner, I fail to accomplish my goals. I then continually feel like a failure. When I plan my week and write in my tasks, i.e. “follow-up with clients, do live video, place orders,” I perform the task at the time I have written down, and it gets done. I feel accomplished and my ball moves forward. I am not left looking at my business with racing thoughts and chaos of all the things I need to get done. Daunting and depressing. Does not create movement, and clearly does not bring joy and fulfillment.

SO – what does this look like for you? For me it is literally writing down as much as I possibly can into time blocks and do my very best to stick to my plan. It works. I feel accomplished. I wake up feeling positive and hopeful. I go to sleep feeling I succeeded and my ball is moving forward day after day.

If planning your week sounds overwhelming in itself, start with just planning tomorrow. Take a pencil and a planner and write down what I like to call “time-blocks” for tomorrow. In the past I even included a time-block specifically for checking email, and another for checking Facebook. Can you guess what that did for me? It stopped me from checking those two things every five minutes while I was trying to accomplish a thousand other things. Start with one day and commit. I promise you will feel pure joy and fulfillment at the end of that day, and you will have accomplished tasks that move your ball forward towards that ultimate grand destination to which you so eagerly wish to arrive.

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