avoiding the weekend blues — how i schedule my time to avoid depressed moods

I tracked my mood diligently over the summer and did an even better job of it while in therapy weekly.  When I switched to a monthly tracking view (and I can talk more about my mood tracking in another post), I began to notice a pattern.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays were okay.  Thursdays and Fridays were not (angry, irritable).  And during the weekends I was depressed.

To give you some context, on a Burns depression rating (just a rating you can use to monitor mood over time), I’m a normal 20ish.  On these weekends, I was around 60 or 70.  If you’re a numbers person.

After reading Dr. David Burns’ chapter “Do-Nothingism: How to Beat It” in Feeling Good, I knew what I had to do.  I had to schedule out my weekends — hourly.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get out of bed.  It didn’t really matter what I scheduled.  It could be coloring, playing with my dog or watching a movie.  It just couldn’t be nothing.

To those who don’t struggle with mood problems, this may sound a lot like laziness.  I agree.  It does sound like laziness but the two are not synonymous.  When I think lazy, I think choosing to not do anything.  Like “I’m just gonna be lazy today.”  “Let’s have a lazy morning!”  When you’re being lazy, you’re probably also doing something, like reading or watching TV.

A depressed mood or a weekend of do-nothingism sounds more like “There’s no point in doing anything” “I have nothing to do” “Things are too difficult” “That won’t make me feel better.”  And it looks like laying in your bed, sometimes sleeping, sometimes not; not showering; eating fake meals (i.e. cereal) repeatedly.

“The same individual who ordinarily bursts with creative energy and optimism may be reduced during an episode of depression to pathetic, bedridden immobility.”

David Burns, Feeling Good

If you struggle particularly on the weekends, use your planner to schedule out hourly activities.  You don’t have to stick to them 100 percent.  But: Always start with a shower.  Always include food.  Never skip either.

I found that once you start doing the first couple of activities, you will get some momentum.  You might even start looking forward to another activity down the list.  Enjoying yourself?  Don’t be afraid to spend a little more time than scheduled.

I will admit to you one thought I had while having my most recent weekend blues.  Once I thought about it, I was already hopping out of bed:

Sometimes it’s actually not as bad to be up as it is to be in bed. 

What?!?!?!?!  Does that even *make sense*?!?!?!?  Only #depressed people will understand.

Signing off, scheduled but not depressed.

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