**Disclaimer: By no means is the content on my website a substitute for a professional diagnosis or medical treatment. All of the information on this website is simply a reflection of my own personal experiences and the methods I have used to manage my tics and compulsions. The purpose of Mindful Coping is not to provide professional advice or endorse any treatments, medications or procedures. A licensed medical practitioner is the only person who can diagnose you with a mental illness, but regardless of whether or not you live with mental illnesses, I hope this blog can help you develop healthy habits to prioritize mindful wellness.
Maintaining a perfect GPA. AP classes. IB coursework. Athletic events. Performing arts tryouts. Community service hours. All that plus a social life? The life of a modern student is absolutely packed with pressure, mounting expectations, and fierce competition. As a result, heightened anxiety coupled with organizational issues have become prevalent issues especially for young teens and students suffering with mental disorders and illnesses. I urge you to read on to learn how I use online spreadsheets to optimize organization and prioritize health in order to best mitigate these issues.
How to make a schedule
Well...it's simple! This template can guide you to incorporating organization and order into your daily schedule. The blocks are customizable, of course, and the dates and times are programmed to be easily modified as well, using the calendar function (select from "Week of:" tab on the top left, below "Daily Schedule"). And if you don't have access to a Google operating device, just use a pencil and paper!
You must be thinking, "What? Is this guy seriously telling me to make a schedule for school to get away from it?" Well, the short answer is absolutely. If you just think about how many hours you spent even today thinking about what you had to do instead of doing it, you'll quickly realize that your daily routine clearly lacks efficiency.
For many of us, our coursework consists of several classes with several assignments and due dates respectively. Especially during a pandemic where many of our daily routines have been transformed, it is essential to block out time to maximize your productivity which in turn will give you more time to relax, meditate, destress, and do the things you love.
Note how there are color coded blocks that represent different categories of tasks. This will help you visually break down your schedule to better envision the rest of your day. It might seem trivial, but I highly recommend you add specific times in your day to get ready, shower, exercise (this one is very important), and simply relax.
Incorporating non-school/work related tasks sporadically throughout your day will prevent burnout and fatigue. No matter how much mental stamina you think you have, your brain needs a break every once in a while.
Using the above suggestions, you avoid several pitfalls:
1) Unhealthy sleep schedules
2) Forgetting to take care of your physical body with sufficient exercise and hygiene
3) Looking like an absolute mess (trust me, you need time to get ready in the morning....I learned the hard way)
4) Extended periods of procrastination and putting off tasks for "later"
5) Late night cramming and unpleasant burnout/frustration
6) Forgetting to eat
7) Forgetting essential school/work related tasks
8) Saying you have "no time for hobbies"
9) And most importantly...putting off your health for "another time"
Not only do designated time blocks to exercise, relax, and do the things you love give you a much needed break from work, but they also give you crucial space to reflect on your health and mental wellbeing. Relaxing after being productive is satisfying, which will put your mind at ease. I know it feels so much easier to sleep in until 2pm, watch Netflix until 10pm, and cram your work until midnight, but you quickly realize how every aspect of your life becomes unsustainable; you'll feel heavy fatigue, mental drainage, lack of motivation, and consequently, your work will be subpar. When your body and mind begin deteriorating like this, it is your brain making a desperate attempt to tell you to make life changes NOW!
You need to be productive to relax better as well. When is your mind more at ease? When you have 25 deadlines due at the end of one week? Or when you have one task per hour that you can easily manage and execute? Obviously the latter.
Do not be frustrated if you find yourself struggling to follow the schedule exactly from Day 1. Every major life change takes time; I assure you that you will get used to this new lifestyle quickly, and it will reap priceless benefits. Make daily adjustments. Practice mindfulness. Use this new free time to practice coping mechanisms and meditation to combat symptoms. With the aid of this schedule, I have been able to have more time to practice therapy, meditation, and have fun playing the piano and swimming, while simultaneously being productive and producing higher quality school work.
Living with OCD or Tics/Tourette's, you know that the mental, physical, and social anxiety to endure is much greater than the average person. This, however, is not an excuse to sulk and allow your condition to get the better of you. Use it as a reason to even further prioritize your health and mental state.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences, tips, techniques, or even just say hello!