Day 9 & 10: Planning to Relax

February 11, 2018


Hello everyone, and my sincerest apologies for not posting yesterday. By the time I got around to sitting down to write, it was a little too late, and quite frankly, I just wanted to go to bed. I could say that I forgot, but the ever-present reminder on my phone that reads 'blog post' will not let me. I will just sum this up to laziness, which may be something I can work on in my next challenge?


Because I'm covering two days worth of content, bear with me while I try to format this into something you'll enjoy reading.


The chapter I've read in preparation for the next day or two is about teaching an old mind new tricks. One of the tips is to set a worry timer, which allows me a certain amount of time to literally just sit and stress. The first time I read that section, my first thought was, and I quote, "nuh uh." The more I think about it though, the more I think, God, that's brilliant. I spend every spare moment I have stressing because I find myself so preoccupied that every second I get to let my brain have a venting session with itself is doing just that. Giving myself an allotted ten minutes a day to absolutely lose it? Sounds like a good way to solve some timing related stress to me. 


That's what I'm taking from this chapter. I've found that trying to apply everything from every single chapter during every. single. day. makes me more stressed than when I started. So I'm taking matters into my own hands, and applying what I think will work best for me. Planning a few minutes a day seems doable, so keep reading to take a look at how I plan my week. 

This week

What do I have going on this week? SO MUCH. First of all, I've found that by switching my major, I've been bombarded with papers. History is a lot of writing, which isn't much of a surprise, but sometimes I forget that I am, in fact, in college and taking classes and all of that requires work. Second, and absolutely most important, I have my interview for the Gaines Fellowship this week. I'm nervous because this is probably the biggest opportunity I've had at UK so far, and so I want to do this right. I'm also feeling very stressed about all the little things I have to get done. 


Now I'm sure you're over me telling you that I'm stressed. What am I going to do about it, right? 


What works best for me is sitting down with a list of things, cranking them out, and knowing what's coming next for every day possible. I like to plan, I like to be able to have my general outline for the week ready to go. So that, readers, is what you're getting today. 


A full, in depth look at what I have to do this week in full, and how I set it up.



My Planning Process: Relaxing my Mind

 Typically, before a week (or weekend if I'm really busy), I'll sit down with my planner, my laptop and a notebook. I measure out the notebook to make columns so I can make my to-do list for every day. Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain. This is incredibly therapeutic to me. I get overwhelmed if I haven't seen my week's work laid out in front of me. Having that mental picture/ timeline of what I need to be doing makes me feel more secure in actually being able to do it. Today, I got to do it for Monday thru Friday while sitting in bed with Ben, which was extra relaxing because I love having him around. So I got out my collection of pens and highlighters, which has grown quite impressively over the course of my college career, I must say, and I started mapping out what exactly I have going on this week. 


I honestly change up the format of my to-do lists from week to week. If I do it the same every single week, I start to blend together what I have to do this week and what I've done previous weeks. This week, I went for something easy to follow and easy to make since I have a lot going on. As you can see to the picture to the right (hopefully it's to the right, but with mobile viewing, you never really know,) I have it set up with a column for every day, and the columns are broken into rows that are sectioned in order as follows: Due Today, Reminders, To Do. For a lot of people, To Dos can consist of when things are due and reminders, but I find it best to separate the three, so I don't get overwhelmed with a million to dos. I think this is a good way to have a look into what's really going on in my head, and why this challenge might be useful, because I'm constantly scanning through my to do list. Having it written out really helps me. Maybe it'll even be useful to you!


Up next, I fill in my to do list, obviously, otherwise I'd be letting a perfectly good to do list go to waste, and there would be no point to this post. (Side note: does anyone know how to get rid of that little iTunes pop-up that comes up every time I plug my phone in? It asks me to update my phone, and clicking the Do-Not-Ask-Again button has not worked so far.) I actually messed up with this one, and I put a few things that are due on Tuesday in the Monday box, and then I rewrote one of them in the Tuesday box? I'm not sure, it was just a mess. So those are the arrows you're seeing that connect some of Monday to Tuesday. I highly recommend doing this whole to do list as a general practice, though, because aside from having everything written in my planner from syllabus week, this gives me an updated idea of what's going on in my life. It helps me more than I can say. I also love to write things out, so if Google Calendar is your move, okay, but we'll never agree and I think you're wrong. 


Last, I take everything I've just written out and highlight it according to the colors I've associated with each class. For instance, green is my Creative Writing 207 class, purple is Italian 102, light blue is History 323: the Holocaust. You get the idea. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you, COLOR CODING IS THE ANSWER. Give everything a color and highlight your to dos with that color, and you'll never forget anything ever again. After I finish that part of my planning process, I rip it out (gently, as not to miss the perforation) of the notebook and hang it on my wall. If it's a short to do list, I do this on a 4x6 notecard, so it stands up in a dividing section of my lamp. Very cool. 


As I'm writing this, I'm realizing a lot of the things I think are cool are really uncool. If you didn't know that about me yet, though, I'm not really sure why you've taken an interest in reading about my life... a pretty defining factor of my personality is level of uncool. Anyway, keep reading either way, just please acknowledge my uncoolness as fact and read with said judgement in the past. 


Now that you've seen my finished product, let's move on to what I have going on this week, how stressed I'm going to be and how I'm going to deal with it using what I've learned so far from this challenge. 

To Dos, Stress, Coping

My to do list this week looks something like this, I've made each a color representing the stress level I associate with it, green being none at all, red being super mega stress and orange/yellow meaning in between, then I've given an explanation if there is a high stress level: 


-GEO reading and quiz (These quizzes are hard, but she also posts the slides online.)

-ITA supersite homework (It marks everything wrong even though it's right???)

-HIS 323 reading and comment card

-email sources for flu story (What if I don't hear back in a timely manner?)

-daily blog post


-ITA supersite homework 

-ENG reading and response

-prep for Gaines interview (AAAAAHHHH I'm nervous)

-print out resume, application

-daily blog post


-GEO worksheet

-ITA supersite homework

-HIS 323 reading and comment card

-work on HIS 301 Library challenge and essay

-daily blog post


-GEO test (These are too hard, I'm not into it.)

-daily blog post


-daily blog post


Maybe, dear reader, your to do list, and your stress levels look something like mine. Let's pretend we're in this together as I wrap this blog post up. Here's what we're going to do: breathe. I've found so far this month that breathing is 100% the answer to calming myself down when I feel overwhelmed. Breathing helps slow my heart rate, helps clear my head, helps make my stomach feel less queazy (which it often does when I get nervous). I think that could be the answer for anyone who reads this, given that their anxious feeling can be handled on a day to day basis. 


That's one thing I want to hear about. I know my friends and family are reading these, and I'd like you to try the breathing technique I talk so much about when you're feeling stressed or anxious. In four, hold two, out four, hold two, repeat. Please feel free to reach out to me and tell me if that helps you as well. So far, it's been the biggest help to me.


Thanks for reading tonight! 


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© 2017 by Cathryn and Lauryn- All photography credit to rightful owners​