SCHEDULING & BEHAVIOURAL ACTIVATION

THE KEY IS IN NOT SPENDING TIME, BUT IN INVESTING IT.

STEPHEN R. COVEY

BUDGETING

BUDGETING COGNITIVE ENERGY

“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.”

– Warren Buffett

 
  • Before we can start scheduling our daily activities, it’s important for us to consider our cognitive reserves and our energy/stamina for getting through those activities
  • Consider this: the brain is only 2% of our total body mass, yet is uses up 25% of our energy (oxygen and sugar, in non-concussed individuals)!
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some way to help us think more efficiently – and by that we mean, a way to conserve energy? (Kastens, 2009)
 
  • Cognitive Stamina represents our ability to do intellectual (cognitive) work throughout our day

 
  • Consider this analogy to demonstrate cognitive stamina after a concussion:

    • When we experience a concussion, we can liken it to a pay cut – where our cognitive energy is the cashflow
    • The degree of the pay cut (concussion) can vary depending on the injury
    • Regardless, though, the fact remains that you will be able to afford less (performing activities/accomplishing goals) than you used to be able to afford (before your injury
    • Every single decision, whether big or small, digs into your cognitive stamina bank account.
 
  • So what happens when you run out of cognitive stamina? 

    • Some of us tend to plow through to their detriment
    • And others tend to avoid too much, to their detriment
    • Think of the story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, where is the happy medium?
    • Read our article on BEHAVIOURS ASSOCIATED WITH LONGER RECOVERY for more information.
 
  • So, as we can see, one has to budget one’s energy to cover for all the basic necessities and engage in activities that give us the highest returns on investment (i.e., the most bang for our buck).

 
  • We are going to get into some strategies we can use to help us budget our cognitive energy

A professor once gave a wonderful analogy on life’s priorities; read more by clicking here.

 

Like this, clarity about what are your objectives is very important; read more by clicking here.

 

For that, one must accept what is within one’s purview, and what lies within their control at this time; read more by clicking here.

 

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

   

A simple acronym we can call on to help conserving our cognitive energy supply is STEP BACK:

  • Self-Care
    • sleep enough and take care of yourself
    • eat nutritiously, stay hydrated, and avoid alcohol/drugs
  • Take breaks
    • when you need to re-focus
    • even a quick 30 seconds away from your task can help you re-energize/re-group
  • Exercise regularly
    • it helps with better relaxation, sleep, and blood flow for the brain
  • Pace yourself
    • do your most difficult work when you are most alert
    • figure out the time of day when you’re at your sharpest and start there
  • Be open to help
    • and ask for help when you are struggling with a task:
    • don’t feel or guilty or embarrassed, consider those around you as your human resources
  • Avoid Interruptions
    • which make tasks take longer
    • Turn off your phone ringer or put it on airplane mode; consider a “Do Not Disturb” sign when you’re working on something
  • Cut distractions
    • which use up cognitive energy you need for the task
    • Turn off radios and TVs, close curtains, use earplugs, and mask sounds with a fan or white noise machine
  • Keep it simple
    • avoid “multi-tasking”
    • do one thing at a time, particularly when one of the things you are doing is potentially dangerous

SCHEDULING

WORKING WITHIN YOUR ENERGY BUDGET

The goal is to plan to make the best use of your time and stay within your energy budget.  

Imagine this scenario

  • It’s the end of another busy working day
  • You came into the office early and left late, but you don’t feel as if you’ve accomplished anything significant
  • This can even apply when you’re working through your days at home…
    • You start early in the morning to get all the things on your list done, you keep going through to the evening and still…
    • There’s a mountain of things leftover to finish
    • Sound familiar?
 

Even at the best of times, this can happen so easily!

 
  • We have to deal with endless to-do’s, frequent interruptions, and urgent last-minute tasks
  • It’s no wonder we can easily be busy all day without making any progress on high-priority projects and goals
  • That’s why knowing how to schedule our time properly is an essential skill!
  For those interested in taking some steps in making this ability more efficient, so you can allow time for the work that really matters, while still leaving time for personal development, leisure, family and friends, consider learning more about executive functioning.  

For now, let’s consider the importance of scheduling.

Lost time is never found again.

– Benjamin Franklin

    We can think of scheduling as the art of planning our activities, so that we can achieve our goals and priorities within the amount of time we have available in a given day or week.  

When we do this in an effective manner, scheduling can help us to:

  • Understand what can realistically be achieved with our time
  • Make sure we allot enough time for those really important things on our list
  • Account for contingency time for when “the unexpected” shows up
  • Avoid biting off more than we can chew
  • Work at a steady rate toward our personal/professional goals
  • Fit in enough time to spend with family and friends, doing the things we enjoy or love
  • Achieve a good work-life balance
  • reduce cognitive load, i.e., to eliminate the need to constantly be thinking “what do I need to do about this?”
What are some strategies we can use to schedule our time better and to help us stay motivated towards achieving our goals?   1. Create a time audit
  • You can use apps like Toggle Track to monitor how much time you spend in a day on certain activities (alternatively we have a worksheet you can use coming up later – see: activity monitoring)
  • The app monitors your activity and produces a report FOR YOU!
  • Then you can see where you’re spending too much time on the things that don’t matter to you or your goals
    • E.g. you might notice you spend 20 hours a week binge watching Netflix
    • E.g. you might find that you spend too many hours in a week attending to low-priority tasks
  2. Put a time limit on tasks
  • From your time audit, you may be able to identify tasks that are taking you longer to complete than you would ideally like
  • By setting yourself a time constraint for these tasks, you might find you’re able to work through them more efficiently (planning is key!)
  • If you’re finding that you’re still going overtime, try to see if there are ways you can tighten your workflow (e.g. only taking scheduled breaks, avoiding cell phone notifications, etc.)
  3. Plan your week on a Sunday
  • You can cut out procrastination by breaking down your weekly goals into daily to-do’s (and do-not’s)
  • 4Ps – Prioritize, Plan, Pace, Place
  4. Create a daily plan
  • Use the first 30mins of your day to create a list of your 3 M.I.T’s (most important tasks for that day)
  • Wording may be the key to your motivation
    • E.g. instead of wording your list as “submit report to manager”, try writing it as “manager’s report submitted”
    • It might seem silly or pointless, but language and the way we speak to ourselves can determine our attitude towards things, and this little trick might just be the boost of motivation you need as you cross things off your list
  5. Add a “done” list to your “to-do’s”
  • Unexpected tasks or activities pop up for all of us from time to time
  • When this happens – jot down those tasks you got done on a separate list from your to-dos
  • This will build in some extra satisfaction at the end of your day – you will SEE that you got more done than you thought
  • On Sunday, before you plan your week ahead, reflect back on these accomplishments from the week before
    • Congratulate yourself on your successes
    • This review period will increase your confidence and help you create the next week’s schedule
  6. Use your most productive hour(s) to do your most important tasks
  • As we work through our day, our brain’s energy levels can feel depleted
  • Use the time of the day when you have the most cognitive energy to focus on your most important or complex tasks to avoid burnout later in the day and minimize the opportunity for distractions
  7. Block out distractions
  • Use the “do not disturb” setting on your computer or phone when you’re focused on a particular task
  • If you have multiple monitors, try to use only ONE
  • Similarly, only keep ONE window open at a time (as much as possible)
  8. DON’T multitask
  • Researchers have disproven the multi-tasking myth
  • Channel your energy towards one thing at a time to get it done as best you can before tackling something else
  9. Use mindfulness to your advantage
  • You don’t have to wait for inspiration to magically appear in order to start getting things done
  • Notice your thoughts and feelings as you work on a task
  • Don’t judge them, and don’t let them govern your actions
  • Acknowledge your emotions and daydreams, then let them go (leaf on a river)
  • Start your task, even if you feel unsure
  • Trust that the motivation will follow (motivation is really about habit formation)
  10. Don’t strive for perfection
  • Is anything really “good enough” if we are aiming for perfect?
  • We learn from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them
  • Think of every task, activity or effort as an experiment – a valuable step in your journey no matter the outcome
  11. Focus on the big picture
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff and get hung up on small details
  • Remember you have bigger fish to fry
  12. Time block
  • Block off time for scheduled breaks and enjoyable activities in your daily/weekly calendar
  • We know what they say about all work and no play..
  • This strategy can also be used to assign time lots where you ONLY focus on a particular task and NOTHING else
  • Stick to it! (like it’s your job!)
  13. Train the other side of your brain
  • Take part in hobbies or leisurely activities to engage the parts of your brain that you don’t use for work tasks
  • You’ll solve problems faster and have more creativity at your disposal
  • Spending time outside of your comfort zone leads to success 
    • E.g. If you’re a lawyer, learn to dance. If you’re a pianist, practice martial arts. If you’re a software developer, go out and socialize
  • This is also a great way to maintain that work life balance!
  14. Self-care
  • Schedule time to eat well, sleep well & exercise often!
  • Your brain needs energy, oxygen and rest to be at its best
  • Scheduling relaxation time has positive effects on your creative processes
  • Meditation can help you look at your work/schedule with a fresh perspective
  15. Use your calendar
  • Track deadlines
  • Block off time for focused work
  • Add automatic locations to events
  • Don’t be afraid to cancel an activity/task in your day that will NOT contribute towards our goals
  16. Say NO
  • It can be hard to do, especially with loved ones or friends
  • But don’t be afraid of it
  • Instead of automatically accepting invitations or requests for things, use the phrase “let me check my schedule and get back to you”
    • This will allow you to buy yourself time & evaluate the decision so you can make the smart choice for YOU
  17. Have a great time no matter what!
  • Don’t get too hung up on having to do all the things on your list all the time
  • Take on everyday with a work/life BALANCE
  • Finishing an overloaded work day today isn’t worth spending the next 3 days in bed burnt out – PACE YOURSELF
  • Cliché but true: the road is more important than the destination

A professor once gave a wonderful analogy on life’s priorities; read more by clicking here.

 

Like this, clarity about what are your objectives is very important; read more by clicking here.

 

For that, one must accept what is within one’s purview, and what lies within their control at this time; read more by clicking here.

 

Check out our article on how to use Google Calendar to help you schedule more efficiently; read more by clicking here.

 

Like this, clarity about what are your objectives is very important; read more by clicking here.

 

For that, one must accept what is within one’s purview, and what lies within their control at this time; read more by clicking here.

BEHAVIOURAL ACTIVATION

FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Relationship between negative emotions and our activity level

  • Behavioural science and research has shown us that when we are depressed, or have feelings/symptoms of depression (e.g. hopelessness, lost interest, increased fatigue, anxiety, irritability, changes in appetite, uncontrollable emotions), we tend to become LESS ACTIVE
    • Less activity means the less frequently we have opportunities for engaging in activities that we find rewarding, positive and/or enjoyable
    • The fewer rewarding things that happen to us, the lower our mood can become  – you can see how this can quickly become a vicious cycle
    • BEHAVIOURAL ACTIVATION can be the key to breaking this vicious cycle!
    • It’s both practical AND evidence based
 

Relationship between how we feel and what we do

  • Psychologists have found there to be a very close relationship between our activity and mood
  • If we feel good, we are more inclined to spend time with people whose company we enjoy
    • Having positive relationships with other people makes us feel connected and valued
  • We do activities that make us feel good
  • We take on new tasks and adventures
    • Challenging ourselves means that we have a chance to grow and develop, and gives us a sense of mastery
  • All of this activity has a positive feedback:
    • Doing things we enjoy gives us feelings of pleasure
 

HOW MAY THIS BE RELEVANT TO YOU?

Generally, we don’t need convincing that doing things that we enjoy is generally good for us, regardless of our problems. However, you may benefit even more if you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions:
  • Do I have a sense of what is triggering my mood or anxiety? 
  • Do I generally find myself doing very little, with little pleasure or meaning in my life?
  • Are there times that I feel better or worse and I’m not sure why? 
  • Do I have a difficult time working with my negative thoughts, but seem to feel better when I can get myself moving and doing something?
  • Do I have a hard time even knowing what I enjoy or find meaning in?

Sometimes the solution has nothing to do with the problem.

 

“Step outside for a while – calm your mind. It is better to hug a tree than to bang your head against a wall continually”

-Rasheed Ogunlaro
 

Generally there are two approaches one can take to changing their lot through helping themselves:

  1. COGNITIVE APPROACH
  • This involves conceptualizing our problem in some way and than evaluating what we are thinking for validity
  • And finding more adaptive ways to interpreting our current situation
  • This is the premise to cognitive interventions in cognitive behavioural therapy
  2. BEHAVIOURAL ACTIVATION
  • Although this method seems less deep (i.e., more superficial), there is evidence that it is more effective on average than the cognitive approach mentioned above
 
The best place to succeed is where you are with what you have. -Charles Schwab
 
  • This is a more proactive way to increase our activity levels, even if we don’t feel like it in the beginning
 
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” -Mark Twain
 
  • It’s about making your life meaningful AND pleasurable again
  • Read more about an approach to using Behavioural activation as a check to negative mood: mood formula.

Education allows us to be more aware of patterns that are occurring, that we many not be picking up on.

 

This includes:

  1. Learning about the vicious cycle of inactivity
  • inactivity ⇒ depression ⇒ inactivity and understanding that we need to activate ourselves to feel better again
  2. Reducing avoidance
  • avoiding deciding on something is also a decision with consequences.
  3. Being persistent
  • Change doesn’t always happen over night!
  • It requires courage and motivation to stay your course

Monitoring our daily activities helps us understand the relationships between our activity and our mood

  • The goal is to monitor our activities and our moods during the day using a day planner to observe any relationships you can draw
  • This process is call activity monitoring
 

Check out our Activity Monitoring Worksheet (Activity Journal)

  • On it you can record what you do every hour of every day for a day
  • Do this for ONE FULL WEEK
  • You should record everything on this sheet, even activities that you don’t think are important
  • In order to track your mood or symptom changes across activities, rate your mood or symptoms along with each activity that you do (scale 0-100, with 100 = feeling that mood or symptom as intense as you ever have experienced it; and 0 being the opposite)
  • If you prefer not to use the Activity Monitoring Worksheet mentioned above, you can make a note of what you do every day, for every hour of the day on a piece of paper, or a note-taking app on your phone
 

Evaluating the Activity Monitoring Worksheet

  • Now that we have monitored our activity for a full week, we can use the record to start to look for patterns between our activity and mood
  • Look at your completed activity monitoring worksheet and ask yourself these questions:
    • What were you doing when your mood was highest?
    • What were you doing when your mood was lowest?
    • What do you notice about the relationship between your mood and how active you were?
    • Were there any days when you didn’t leave the house? What was your mood like on those days?
    • What was your mood like on the days when you were most active?
  • We will use the knowledge of these patterns to make two lists:
    1.  Activities that were associated with feeling better
    2. Activities that were associated with feeling worse
 

We will use these lists in the next steps.

What are values?

  • They reflect what we find meaningful in life
  • What you care about, deep down
  • Different for everyone; and can change over time
  • Reflect how we want to engage with the world, with the people around us, and with ourselves
  • Some research to show that those who are happier in life are most in touch with their values 
 

Values are different from goals

  • Goals are milestones we can reach
  • Values are more like directions that we want to head in
  • For example we might have the value of being a good parent which may require a lifetime’s effort, and the specific achievable goal of getting my children to school on time. Or we might have the goal of going for a jog while placing value upon our physical health.
 

WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?

 

Have a look at our Values Assessment Worksheet in identifying your values, and how you can leverage them in your life.

   

VALUES ASSESSMENT COMPASS

 

Values often lie in the following domains of life:

  1. Physical Wellbeing
  • What kind of values do you have regarding your physical well-being?
  • How do you want to look at yourself?
  2. Family Relationships
  • What kind of relationships do you want with your family?
  • What kind of mother/ father/brother/sister/uncle/aunt do you want to be?
  • What is important to you about a good family?
  3. Intimate Relationships
  • What kind of partner do you want to be?
  • What quality of relationship do you want to be part of?
  • How do you want to spend time together?
  4. Mental/Emotional Health
  • What helps you maintain sound mental health?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What issues would you like to address?
  5. Friendships/Social Relations
  • What sort of friend do you want to be?
  • How would you like to act towards your friends?
  • How can these relationships be improved?
  6. Employment/Career
  • What kind of work is valuable to you?
  • What qualities do you want to bring as an employee?
  • What kind of work relationships would you like to build?
  7. Education/Training/Personal Growth
  • How would you like to grow?
  • What kind of skills would to like to develop?
  • What would you like to know more about?
  8. Hobbies/Recreation
  • How would you like to enjoy yourself?
  • What relaxes you?
  • When are you most playful?
  • Are there any special interests you would like to pursue?
  9. Spirituality
  • What kind of relationship do you want with God/nature/the Earth/mankind?
  • What does having a spiritual life mean to you?
  • How can you exercise this?
  10. Citizenship/Community
  • What kind of environment do you want to be a part of?
  • How do you want to contribute to your community?
  There are probably values that you think are important and others that are not so much; There are no ‘right’ answers  

Read the descriptions and think about what makes for a meaningful life that YOU could value

   

EXPERIMENTS IN PERSPECTIVE

 

Here are some experiments to explore your own values…

  1. Biographical Story
  • Imagine that you were watching a biographical story on your life.
  • Think about how you’d want them to describe you.
    • How would they describe the way you spent your time?
    • How you related to others?
    • What was most important to you?
    • What are your strengths as a person?
  • Write down a narrative of what they would say.
  2. Loved One’s Perspective
  • Imagine you could read the mind of a person that’s important to you and with whom you’ve had a good relationship
  • They are thinking all kinds of thoughts about your qualities:
    • what you stand for
    • what your strengths are
    • what you mean to him or her
    • and the role you play in his or her life
  3. Heroes
  • Think about your heroes.
  • They can be people directly in your life, or other people that you look up to, even fictional characters.
    • What are their qualities?
    • What do you admire about them?
  4. Envisioned Autobiographical Perspective
  • Imagine you are writing your own autobiography.
  • Imagine how you would like to live your life, barring all barriers, in the “best case scenario.”
    • What are the things that are most important to you in this scenario?
    • What would you stand for?
    • How would you spend your time?
  5. Eulogy
  • Imagine that someone is performing the eulogy at your funeral.
  • Looking back on your life, they would be commenting on your strengths, values, and achievements.
  • How would you want them to describe your life? 
  6. Writing it out

Faking it till you make it

  • How many times have you waited to “feel better” before doing something?
    • it could be any task, important or minor, work-related or leisurely
    • If your answer was once or more – you’re not alone!
    • It’s a common occurrence for people, especially if we’re dealing with anxiety or depression
  • However, taking the approach to feel better before starting to act in line with the version of you that you would like fosters and external locus of control
  • It can also lead to avoidance and/or isolation, and self-criticism, guilt, embarrassment, shame or other secondary emotions
  • So, when we feel negative about our current condition, waiting for motivation and enthusiasm to come back in our lives before we do something is not generally the most efficient approach
    • According to research, doing things in keeping with the person you would like to be is an excellent approach for emotions to change
    • this is the premise to the behavioural approaches to cognitive behavioural therapy
 

Behavioural activation allows us…

  • To have more experiences in life so that the negative ones don’t seem as momentous as they otherwise would feel
  • the experience of receiving corrective information, that is, information that goes against the negative things we may have been telling ourselves
    • e.g., I can’t do this, I won’t be able to cope, I can’t have fun unless…How would you know otherwise unless you got out there and did something that proved that this wrong, even if just some of the times
  • To interact more with others
  • Develop new core beliefs
 

Getting Active

  • Ok so now we have our activity monitoring record, and we have identified some patterns between certain activities and our mood..
  • The next step of behavioral activation is to get active
  • As we mentioned before, it is important to increase our activity level even if you don’t feel like it to begin with
  • We can kick-start our activity by planning it and sticking to the plan
  • Get a piece of paper and write down a selection of possible activities
 

Good places to get some activation targets for your activity plan are:

  1. Get activation targets from your activity monitoring worksheet:
  • Which activities were most correlated with you feeling better?
  • Which activities were most correlated with you feeling most productive?
  • Which activities were most correlated with you feeling most connected (with others or with a higher purpose)?
  2. Get activation targets from your values assessment worksheet:
  • Which values matter to you the most?
  • What activities could you do that would be in line with your values?
  • For example, if family is something you value perhaps you could plan to spend time with them doing something specific.
  3. Make sure that you are doing the basics:
  • Be sure to include targets like washing and brushing your teeth every day, doing laundry every week, cooking meals, shopping for food, and to include some activities that are social and which mean you will have contact with other people.
  4. Make sure you included Relaxation Time & Leisure   5. Create an “Activity Menu”
  • Have a list of activities that you can go to when scheduling positive activities in your day (see next section for an example)
  • Check out our articles on Therapeutic Activities and Fun for some ideas
 

Create a hierarchy of activities

Now that you’ve created your OWN activity list from the menu, we need to create a hierarchy of the activities
  • This can give you a starting point of which activity(s) to do first
  • To do this, rank each activity in your list by how much benefit you anticipate that they will bring you
    • 10 = the most benefit, 0 being the opposite of that
  • With you hierarchy set, we’re ready to start scheduling activities for the upcoming week
  • Start with activities with higher estimated benefit
 

Scheduling Activities

Just as we used the Activity Monitoring Worksheet to get data about the relationship between our activity level and how we feel, we are going to use the Activity Monitoring Worksheet to schedule these activities from our Activity Menu
  • Be specific about:
    • What the activity is
    • When you plan to do it
    • Where you will do it
    • Who you might do the activity with
  • Once you have planned activities for a week in advance the next step is to put the plan into action!
 

Also, use our Behavioural Activation Worksheet to help you integrate activities in your day-to-day life.

Animals:
  • Pet an animal
  • Walk a dog
  • Listen to the birds
  • Be active:
  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a run
  • Go for a swim
  • Go cycling
  • Use an exercise video at home
  Be Active:
  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a run
  • Go canoeing
  • Go cycling
  • Go for a hike
  • Use an exercise video at home
  • Try geocaching
  Clean:
  • Clean the house
  • Clean the yard
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Clean the toilet
  • Clean your bedroom
  • Clean the fridge
  • Clean the oven
  • Clean your shoes
  • Do the washing up
  • Fill/empty the dishwasher
  • Do laundry
  • Do some chores
  • Organize your workspace
  • Clean a cupboard
  Cook:
  • Cook a meal for yourself
  • Cook for someone else
  • Bake a cake/cookies
  • Roast marshmallows
  • Find a new recipe
  • Swap recipes with a friend
  Connect with People:
  • Contact a friend
  • Join a new group/club
  • Join a dating site
  • Send a message to an old friend
  Create:
  • Draw a picture
  • Paint a portrait
  • Take a photograph
  • Doodle/sketch
  • Organise a photograph
  • Make a photograph album
  • Start a scrapbook
  • Finish a project
  • Do some sewing/knitting
  Expression:
  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Sing
  • Shout
  • Scream
  Kindness:
  • Help a friend/stranger/ neighbour
  • Make a gift for someone
  • Try a random act of kindness
  • Teach somebody a skill
  • Make a list of your good qualities
  • Make a gratitude list
  Learn:
  • Learn something new
  • Learn a new skill
  • Learn a new fact
  • Watch a tutorial video
  • Audit a class
  Mend:
  • Repair something in the house
  • Repair your bike
  • Make something new
  • Decorate a room
  • Change a lightbulb
  Mind:
  • Daydream
  • Meditate
  • Play
  • Reflect
  • Think
  • Try relaxation exercises
  • Practise yoga
  Music:
  • Listen to music you like
  • Find some new music to listen to
  • Turn on the radio
  • Make some music
  • Sing a song
  • Play an instrument
  • Listen to a podcast
  Nature:
  • Do some gardening
  • Plant your favourite flowers
  • Do some pruning
  • Go for a hike
  • Sit in the sun
  • Mow the lawn
  • Visit a nursery
  • Create your own backyard lounge area
  Plan:
  • Set a goal
  • Create a budget
  • Make a 1-, 3- or 5-year plan
  • Make a to-do list
  • Make a bucket list
  • Make a shopping list
  Schedule:
  • Get up extra early
  • Stay up late
  • Sleep in late
  • Tick something off your ‘to do’ list
  • Put something(s) onto your not-to-do list
  Read:
  • Reread a favourite book
  • Read a new book
  • Read the newspaper
  • Read a blog
  • Read outdoors
  Self-Care:
  • Take a bath
  • Take a shower
  • Give yourself a facial
  • Trim your nails
  • Sunbathe
  • Take a nap
  • Have alone time
  • Lean on a friend
  Something New:
  • Try a new food
  • Listen to new music
  • Watch a new show
  • Wear some new clothes
  • Get a new haircut
  • Do something spontaneous
  Watch:
  • Watch a movie
  • Watch a show
  • Watch a YouTube video
  • Watch a performance
  • Watch a sports game
  Write:
  • Write a letter with compliments
  • Write an angry letter
  • Write a love letter
  • Write a thank you card
  • Write a journal
  • Write your CV
  • Start writing a book
  • There is more than one way we can respond when deciding on how to act on a problem
  • Often the solution has no direct relationship with the problem
  • We have discussed many ways to problem-solve in this website and we will now discuss another strategy
 

Approach 1: Get the facts

 

Approach 2: Problem solving

  • Sometimes the best approach to a problem situation is to workout a way to “solve” it
  • The problem can be with with external factors
    • E.g., someone who is constantly aggressive towards us – we may want to find a way of setting firm boundaries, or leaving that relationship/friendship all together
  • Or internal factors
    • E.g., Always being tired because I have inefficient sleep habits and I am telling myself it’s all due to the concussion
  Here are some examples of problem solving skills:   We have some worksheets you can use to help you with problem-solving  

Approach 3: Accept what cannot be controlled

  • Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation where there are factors beyond your control
  • Trying to assume accountability for these factors can lead to frustration, anger, anxiety and/or depression
  • Sometimes, the best solution is to accept what we must and focus our efforts elsewhere.
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_07.htm https://toggl.com/track/time-management-tips/ https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/Behavioral-Activation-for-Depression.pdf https://www.psychologytools.com/self-help/behavioral_activation Kastens, K. (2009). The Energy Budget of Thinking. Earth and Mind: The Blog. https://serc.carleton.edu/earthandmind/posts/energy_budget_t.html