I’m Not Doing Enough: Worry Journal Exercise
Why should it feel like I’m not doing enough when I’m doing all the time? That’s not true. I’m doing when I have the energy to do. And when I’m not doing, I’m thinking about the doing I wish I could be doing, and planning when and how I’ll do it soon. And whether I’m in the process of doing or not, it’s disempowering either way, because no matter how much I do, the anxiety is there.
Situation / Trigger
Thinking about all my to-do’s
I’m not doing enough.
I’m not writing enough.
When I started this website, my plan was to publish new pieces 3 to 5 times a week. It proved ridiculously difficult for me with the rest of my workload, and the amount of posting I’ve done here over these first 4 months (since the launch) shows it.
January, 15 posts. February, 9 posts. March, 5 posts. April, 3 posts.
Two posts a week is fine. One post a week, I can live with. Months like this with a measly three have got to go.
I’m not reading enough.
Most days, I mostly read headlines and social media posts. That’s with the exception of a blog post here, a news article there, and maybe a few pages from whatever novel I’m struggling to stay engaged with because I’m reading it so infrequently.
I’m not cleaning enough.
I can’t stand a dirty house. It’s not disgusting, but it’s not pristine. I want pristine.
I go weeks without seeing or speaking to friends (text, email, and social media excluded).
When I get home, I hold my breath standing outside my front door for fear that if I don’t get it unlocked soon enough the neighbor I hear across the landing will open her door and I’ll have to talk to her. This is a nice neighbor who I barely know and to whom a simple “Hey, how ya doin?” would suffice.
Other distressing neighborly avoidances (e.g., going to and from my car, taking out the trash, stepping into the community backyard).
I’m not self-caring enough.
I beat myself up constantly for falling short (see any one of the “I’m not doing enough” references above).
I almost never take a day off.
I put work above well-being.
I’m writing enough to have this blog, to have a few readers, and to have something that gives me purpose. Plus, there’s all the writing I do for other websites – 30-something posts a month.
I’m reading enough blogs and books to stay inspired and know I want to read more.
I’m cleaning enough to keep it cleanish most of the time.
I’m social enough to maintain relationships.
I’m self-caring enough to get enough sleep every night, take my supplements every morning, meditate most days, and do yoga now and then.
What’s More Likely
I expect too much of myself within the framework of my life.
Alternative Thought / Positive Affirmation
I’m doing plenty.
What’s Worrying You?
Keep your own worry journal and work it through. I picked up this tool in cognitive behavioral therapy. Inevitably, my anxiety level at the end of the exercise is less than it was when I started. I hope it works that way for you, too.