How to Reduce Anxiety By Organizing Your Day

Father and daughter eating breakfast together.
An organized morning can help reduce anixety about the day ahead. Getty / Mike Kemp

Many people with social anxiety also suffer from problems organizing their lives efficiently. This may stem from fear of scrutiny, the need to be perfect, or avoidance of social situations.

Plan out Your Morning Routine

One way that you can give yourself a better shot at keeping your life organized is by taking care of your morning routine. When you start the day right, it means that you have more mental energy to deal with social and performance situations.

A little organizing at night creates an organized morning! Imagine a morning where everything goes wrong. The coffee isn't made---in fact, there's no coffee in the house. Permissions slips aren't signed---you can't even find the permission slips. Your keys are nowhere to be seen. There are no clean socks around. And you know there is something that has to go into work with you, but what on earth is it?

Then there are the mental tasks. You are stressed about calls that need to be made later in the day. You know you need to discuss a work issue with your boss. You feel overwhelmed by the many little things that need doing.

Take Care of the Morning Before Bed

The best way to prevent this kind of morning chaos is a fifteen minute routine before bed.

First, sit down and think. Work through the morning routine in your mind. Picture exactly what you will need to do, right down to the toothbrushing and dressing and starting the car.

And then, set up everything you will need, in order.

Here's an example. You know you'll need your reading glasses when you get out of bed. Set them right next to your bed, right then, the night before. You will want a cup of coffee. Put the coffee beside the coffee maker, or better still, get a coffee maker with a timer.

Then you'll want to get dressed. Pick out the clothes you will wear, and don't forget the little things, like socks and shoes and underwear.

If you have kids to get ready, do the same for their clothes.

If you are going to put on makeup, gather what you will need in one place. If you will be bringing something to work or sending in something with the kids, put it right by the door you leave the house by, so you can't possibly forget it!

Take Care of Mental Stress

Morning stress is a huge problem for so many people, and part of that stress is mental---thinking about what the day will bring and how you will deal with it. That can be helped by nighttime work too!

Before bed, think about the challenges you will face the next day. Then, give yourself a very brief bit of time to think of a way to meet each challenge.

For example, if you know you have to make a phone call to set up a doctor's appointment, decide on a time to make the call and a quick script---”I'll call the doctor at 10 am. I'll ask for an appointment for my annual physical” It's amazing how much just making a plan beforehand can help with everyday anxiety about small but necessary tasks.

Have a Relaxing Planning Session

Make your fifteen-minute nighttime planning session pleasant! Have a decaf coffee or a little snack while you plan and organize. Listen to some calming music. Tell yourself how relaxed the morning is going to feel when everything is set up and ready when you wake up.

When the morning arrives, put yourself on automatic pilot. Tell yourself you have handled the planning and the thinking the night before!

Your only job is to follow what you have planned for yourself. Everything you need is already where it needs to be. You don't have to think about the many little tasks you have to do---they are planned out and scheduled.

Tell your morning self that your night self has already taken on what you need to do. It's amazing how taken care of this little trick can make you feel!

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