Having the wrong mindset

Do you ever think to yourself: man this week sucks but if I can just power through to the weekend, then next week will be better.
That way you can make it through the bad days while looking ahead at better days to come. In and of itself it’s not a bad way to look at things. I use this mindset a lot. This current week, for example, is particularly busy. Today and tomorrow are both long days at work and they both seem to be going differently than initially planned. I had to teach a class today that I hadn’t taught before and it definitely felt like a much bigger challenge than teaching a class I know. I’m writing this on Monday afternoon by the way. I have a meeting at four that I have little to no input for and I’m currently trying to think of a good reason to bail on it. If not, I might try and use the time to be productive and do some editing on some of my stories. But I digress. Wednesday I’ve got some appointments and a birthday dinner which aren’t particularly bad things, but they do cost a lot of energy. Then finally on Friday I need to go to the dentist to get my cavities filled. I know, who asked? The point is, it’s a busy week but in my head I’m thinking about the weekend.

The problem I’ve been running into a lot more often lately, is that every week feels like a challenge. That’s partially because every week is a challenge to me, I have autism and normal routines take a lot of energy. That’s Just the way life works. Some weeks, like this current one, are definitely a lot worse than others, but I’ve noticed in the past few months that I’ve gotten stuck in a vicious cycle. Every time I have a bad day or week on the horizon I´ll try and see it as something to just get through and be done with. But if too many busy weeks are on the horizon, which is true nowadays, then you’ll find yourself constantly coping with life as opposed to actually enjoying things. This gets exhausting. I don’t think this kind of mentality is healthy in the long run and I’m starting to work on thinking about it differently. If you’re tired, your brain will find something tough on the horizon without fail. So there’s never any time for rest or feeling good because you’re permanently worried about the next anxiety inducing moments. The dentist for me is near the peak of things that I get worried about, so that’s amplifying this already awful feeling.

So what’s the solution?
Well, I’d like to tell you that just worrying less about your daily and weekly tasks is the right way to go, and if you can manage to do so it definitely is. But for a lot of us that’s far too much to ask. I can’t just not worry about something, if that was a possibility I wouldn’t be talking about my poor mental health on this blog every other week. So instead we have to think of more manageable solutions. One thing I’ve been doing recently that is helping a little bit – when I manage to keep up with it – is having a more specific planning. If you’re very prepared for everything, things will quickly become less stressful. Have an essay to hand in? Oh it’s already finished three weeks early. So that is the first step, but on my way home I was ruminating (what a great word) over this topic a little bit. I took my bicycle today because the public transport is on strike. I did bail on the meeting I talked about earlier in this post by the way. Glad I did, there wasn’t much use in me being there as I’m not any of these classes student mentor or main teacher. I’m just an unpaid intern. But I did come up with a second solution to this problem.

My mindset has always been to just get through the bad days and it’ll be alright. But instead I should focus not on getting through the bad days but more so on getting to the good days. In reality that’s the same thing, but it’s framed in a more positive light. If I’m instead getting excited about the weekend as opposed to getting relieved that the weekdays are over, that brings a different feeling with it. Instead of “I just need to make it through Friday and the dentist is in the past” think of “I just need to make it to Friday so I can play some games without worrying.” It’s not a big difference of course, but it’s a core principle in cognitive behavioral therapy. The efficacy of that therapy on people with autism is being put into question I believe, but there are definitely good reasons for teaching it to people. A lot of stress is in our head and if we can reframe the way we approach these things then we can hopefully unload a little bit of unnecessary stress. 

But that’s just me and my opinion, I’m not a therapist or a doctor or anyone who should even be allowed to have an opinion on things. I’m just rambling about my day to day because I no longer get therapy since I’m “too healthy.” So what do they know, am I right?
Either way, I’m getting tired since it’s been a long day so I’m finishing up this post here. I hope some of you who read this can shift your mindset to be a little more positive and if not, at least I tried. Thanks for reading.

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