As this is our first podcast since the summer has ended, we wanted to discuss a phenomenon that some of you might have experienced during summer vacation, especially if you had a slow vacation time (aka Stacation). In particular some students may discover this. But anyone on vacation may experience this issue. And it also doesn’t only happen when one is on vacation.

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Everyone likes to have days when they take it easy. Vacations can be a great time. Many people lead up to a vacation saying to themselves and others that they “look forward to being able to take it easy.” Or they look forward to “having to do nothing.” But during their time off, they don’t have a plan to do anything. This is not always a problem, but for sufferers of anxiety and ADHD, a lack of routine can be especially problematic.

The problem occurs because some of us may hesitate when we get an idea to do something and not end up doing it or this hesitation leads us to lose our motivation and we don’t give the activity our best engagement or attention. Often when we don’t have a routine. We hesitate. When you start to think about or do something, you hesitate instead of moving forward or you start something and are tempted to move onto to something more interested. Some of us may jump into a new activity and lose interest quickly. Here is link to video from a psychologist discussing the related issues.

Anxiety sufferers can become more stressed out. ADHD sufferers can become very frustrated too. With a lack of routine or set of activities that keeps us occupied we have difficulty starting our maintaining our interests. This phenomenon doesn’t just apply to us anxiety and ADHD sufferers (though they have a unique challenge for which I’ll provide some suggestions in a moment); it can apply to anyone.

You may have heard stories of people who win the lottery but yet they are not necessarily happy. Many people think that life would be great to not have a care in the world. But they don’t see the emptiness that can arise within people when they don’t have a routine and they sit around wondering: what am I gonna do today? Especially because they keep asking the question then they start doing something but then they stop because they don’t have to do it and they have don’t full motivation. So they never accomplish anything. This is not really a state of happiness.

I believe that everyone needs a routine, even lottery winners or those independently wealthy. A routine means you keep yourself occupied every day.

As mentioned, I want to address what anxiety and ADHD sufferers can do about this challenge:

For anxiety sufferers ask yourself the following question: What would my life look like if I hesitated less?

For ADHD suffererers: how can I spend some time planning things a bit better in advance so that I don’t just start them before moving onto the next activity?

And those with both anxiety and ADHD can use these two questions.

And think about what life would looks like when you make an effort to keep yourself on a routine, and instead of hesitating, you engage in things that you plan in advance?

This can feel really good.

Does it mean one has to do a lot of things? No it is simply about having a routine and making an effort to try sticking with activities longer before moving on.

Doing the things you enjoy leads to contentment even though in the short term you may have to push yourself at times. There’s this feeling of contentment when you engage in something you enjoy but it sometimes is not felt at the beginning. There is the pleasant feeling of accomplishment. When you overanalyze and hesitate too much or you don’t stick with things or simply don’t have any routine there is a feeling of discontentment, your self-esteem can be badly affected.

You begin doing something then you stop. Then you go back and fall into default habits, such has bad habits. It could be binge eating or drinking or spending sprees, laying around, etc. people can have their own comfort habits. All those default habits. So in other words, every body needs to have a routine of some sort to protect against the self-destructive behaviours that can easily creep into our lives.

So to recap:

For anxiety sufferers ask yourself the following question: What would my life look like if I hesitated less?
For ADHD sufferers: how can I spend some time planning things a bit better in advance so that I don’t just start them but don’t stop them?

And those with both anxiety and ADHD, the can use both of these questions.

Make a commitment to stick with things you would like to engage in before moving on.

Establish a routine where you remain engaged in activities you enjoy, even when you have time off or extra time. Think of a routine as necessary for your mental and physical health. Routines can certainly include free time and engaging in unplanned activities. However, rather than always just leaving free time completely open all of the time, ensure you make some plans in advance so that you truly have a well-rounded day that can be enjoyable and leaving you feeling content. This can make you feel satisfied and fresh.