At my core, I am someone who like structure and a good plan. Don't get me wrong---there are days in the summer when I will wake up early and decide it is a great day to go to the zoo. There is much grumbling as I wake everyone up and inform them of my fantastic idea and let them know we are leaving in 20 minutes. Breakfast? We will eat on the road - breakfast sandwiches (that gets them moving a bit faster). I start packing bathing suits and lunches, sunscreen and water bottles. Spontaneous trips often turn out better than planned ones since I know I WANT to go and there feels like there is less pressure for the day to be "like I planned". It is an "adventure day" so anything can happen and I don't put expectations on the trip---ok well fewer expectations.
A couple of years ago we went on a7 day Caribbean cruise out of Tampa - me, my husband and two of the boys. I planned out each day of the drive to and Florida, the stay with my mom before the cruise and every day trip while on the cruise I had painstakingly researched for the best deal and most unique experience. I was determined it would be the best trip ever because it had to be (it was so expensive, a big big deal for us to take a vacation like this and the first time in 8 years I had taken 2 weeks off in a row!) Whenever anyone suggested a change in the itinerary, I could feel my chest get tight as I watched my well laid plans slip into the unknown. The unknown is a scary place for me. The unknown can't be controlled. You don't know what to expect in the unknown. I truly felt responsible for everyone's happiness and if things didn't turn out (one day due to a storm we could not go into a port and had to scrap our day trip) I was so worried and stressed out that everyone's resulting bad mood was somehow my responsibility. I lost control of our trip and was incredibly stressed hoping that our next excursion day would be 'perfect' to make up for the missed one. To cope, I chattered incessantly about how beautiful the ship was and how lucky we were to even be there..... When we returned home---I was exhausted from trying to hold everything together.
So for awhile know in therapy, I have been encouraged to create less structure in my day. To find "unstructured" time to just sit with me. To "take it easy---rest and recover". The challenge is, I have so many things I want to do--and I feel I need to do since I am "home doing nothing" (those are my words in my head) to prove my worth and value (paint, clean, garden, clean out cupboards, etc.) that this lack of structure in a day has resulted in me continuing to jump from one project to another--then back--then on to something else--then back --then forgetting something to the point where I have not sat down for 6 or 7 hours.
Sometimes there is little to "show" for that time (cleaned out cupboards and washing all the beds and making them, starting dinner and cleaning out the fridge and pantry, pulling dandelions --someone might think I did nothing all day by looking around--including me!) What is missing is time for reading, exercise, baking, knitting, watching TV or a movie, having coffee with a friend.
My psychiatrist and therapist have finally offered up the white flag on the whole "don't schedule yourself" deal. It is who I am and fighting it when it is this ingrained into a person is practically impossible. So how do I make it work for me?
We have been talking about creating a schedule for my day....either scheduling myself time to "do projects around the house" and then letting the rest of the day be me time (other than regular dinner and lunch making and such) or scheduling in "me time" in the day. I am not sure which one will work best so I may try them both and see. I have been talking about trying this for a while but just haven't done it......time to break down my day and see what feels right. Schedule will be posted tomorrow so I track my progress here.