So, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to post a regular blog post. I haven’t forgotten about my blog, or any of you lovely readers. The last three weeks of the semester were insanely busy. I had to finish up several lengthy papers and complete various homework assignments, and then I had to prepare for finals week.
To say that I was busy was an understatement.
Thankfully, my semester ended on May 10th, and I was able to pack up my things and move home the same day.
Now, I finally have more free time, so I will be posting more regularly.
Having free time when you have an anxiety disorder is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you have more time for self-care, which is good. On the other hand, free time gives you more time to think about things, which can aggravate your anxiety. If you’re not careful, vacations can turn into a real drag.
Here are my tips for how to cope with free time:
- Brainstorm a list of activities you would like to do. You may not get to all of them, but it’s better to think of plenty of ideas so you have them if you need them. Make sure at least half of these activities are things that will fill you up. For me, these ideas include exercising, knitting blankets for charity, re-reading my favorite books, extra prayer time, and blogging/writing. Fill your list with things that will refresh you.
- Find a few activities that are out of the house. For me, if I stay in the house for too long, it takes a toll on my mental health. Because of this, I found an internship that get me out of the house for about 15 hours a week. I’m also going to participate in my church’s college youth group. These events will eat up some of my time and help me to structure my week, both of which will help my anxiety.
- Maintain your mental health treatment. I cannot stress this enough. If you’re on medication, continue to take it as your doctor prescribed. If you’re in therapy, continue to be an active participant. Attend all therapy sessions, and do any homework the therapist gives you. Doing these things will prevent you from relapsing, and you’ll be better able to do fun stuff.
- Consider taking a vacation. Vacations are a great way to relax and get away. Just make sure to check in with your therapist and/or psychiatrist beforehand. You don’t have to fly somewhere, or even travel far from your home, in order to go on vacation. Consider a staycation. Most cities have good hotels; you can always book one, even if it’s just for the weekend. You’ll get a change of scenery, and you’ll get a break from cooking and cleaning as well.
- Consider making a weekly summer routine. This is a good idea if you have children who have anxiety. For example, Mondays can be a pool day, Tuesdays can be library day, Wednesdays can be arts and crafts day, Thursdays can be the day for going to the zoo, science museum, etc., and Fridays can be movie day. Planning an activity for each day of the week helps to build a routine, which is comforting for anyone who has anxiety.
- If finances are an issue, seek out inexpensive or free activities. The activities don’t have to be expensive to be effective!
Just because you have an anxiety disorder doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun summer. It just takes a little bit of planning to ensure that your needs are being met.
Have a good summer!