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The Daily and Weekly Goals of Someone With Depression and Anxiety

When, like me, you experience anxiety, panic attacks and depression, completing normal, everyday tasks can become overwhelming. When I feel exceedingly anxious or I start to slip into a depressive episode, I start to struggle with just about anything. I forget to eat, can’t motivate myself to shower or get dressed, I’m lying awake at night and take too many naps during the day. In essence, I stop taking care of myself and let everything slide until it feels like everything has spiralled out of control.

Along with it come feelings of guilt and shame. I ask myself why I can’t even complete the simplest everyday things other people don’t even think about. I feel like a complete failure as an adult and it drags me down even more.

It also adds to the already difficult task of getting out of my depressive mood or anxious thoughts. I have to work hard to get back on some kind of schedule and routine, which uses up extra energy I don’t really have. I also know that being surrounded by chaos and dirty dishes is also detrimental to my mental health. It’s really a downward spiral.

In the current situation, with most of us having to stay home and not seeing many people, it’s especially easy to lose control. But even before that I would be home and alone most of the time. I find it very hard to keep myself accountable, get things done and not fall into some kind of void when there is no one that’s going to notice.

I’ve been thinking hard about how I can change this and find a way to keep myself on track. I realized that, ultimately, I’m not taking care of myself for anyone else but for me. Thinking about it that way helps me to motivate myself. But I also need something to keep track of things. When I’m in a bad place mentally, I also get a lot of brain fog and don’t realize all the things I’m not doing.

I’m generally an organized and tidy person, so writing lists and checking things off is something that comes naturally and I’m used to doing it. I have now written myself a to-do list with daily goals and one with weekly goals. Some of my daily goals include:

  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat lunch
  • Eat dinner
  • Clean up kitchen
  • Talk to someone
  • Do breathing exercises
  • Drink water
  • Check mail
  • Go to bed on time

Some of my weekly goals include:

  • Shower three times
  • Wash hair twice
  • Go outside three times
  • Get groceries
  • Do laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Vacuum and dust the house

I don’t force myself to complete everything. I also don’t beat myself up for failure. But I do keep track of how well I’m doing. And when I start to slip, I know I’m not doing so well and need to take action. I need structure and routine in my life. That might not be the case for everyone, but I know I feel better when my days are a little more predictable and my house isn’t a complete mess.

Getty image via Ralf Geithe