Sometimes you NEED to see your therapist — but you have to wait. Maybe you just saw her, maybe your insurance doesn’t cover it until you wait a certain amount of time or maybe you’re waiting to see a new therapist. Whatever the reasons, you’re counting the hours. Obviously if this is an emergency – you call 911. Yep. We know. This is for those times when you’re just feeling anxious and need to put yourself in a different head space to distract you from your problems.
1. Figure out all the things you are looking forward to that will happen before your appointment. There aren’t any? Create some. This could be anything from lunch with friends, going to the park with your kids, getting your nails done, binging a show on Netflix. Write a list!
2. Take photographs. For me, taking pictures in nature is my go to. I try to find beautiful things. This is not a bad habit to have because you are paying attention the outside world – not your own thoughts. Don’t want to take pictures? Try the same thing with Pinterest. Hunt and gather pretty things.
3. Journal! Go ahead and ruminate all you want in that thing. Write about what is bothering you over and over and over again. It will not complain.
4. Creative writing. I’m a poet, so I’m a big fan of this one. Anyone can write! Here is a free rainbow color coded poetry prompt – those are suuuuper fun. You can write in any genre. Fact or fiction.
4. Get crafty. When I had my painful pregnancy I needed things that took time to distract me from the entire experience. This purse from A Beautiful Mess was the Perfect distraction. It took time picking out the yarn, it took time wrapping them up and creating tassels and adhering them to the bag. And at the end of it? I had an awesome bag AND some new skills! There are DIYs allll over the internet just waiting for you!
5. Plan meals that are healthy but YUMMY. Love mac and cheese? Find a healthy mac and cheese recipe on the internet that you have never tried – what’s nutritional yeast? – and then make it. This way you’ll be comforting yourself with something you like, but you’ll also be making something and learning a new way to do something.
6. Write handwritten letters to friends or family. They will feel really loved when they get it, it will take some time for you to do, and you’ll be forced to write about what good things are happening. For example, today was a realllllly bad pain day for me and I had to be heavily medicated for it. That’s not what I would lead with if I wrote a letter to my brother in San Francisco. I’m pretty sure I’d tell him about how Elro is trying to sit up, she’s having long conversations with the dog and she tried mango for the first time.
7. Exercise. Yeah, this should have been number 1, I know, I know. I took a brief nature walk this morning – before all the pain – and it was AMAZING. I wondered why I didn’t do it all the time. Now I know. So, if you can exercise? Do it! Too freaked out to leave your house? Walk around your house. Even better? Put on some awesome music and DANCE around your house. It counts.
8. Clean and organize. This has really been a life savor for me. When I have the energy to organize or clean something I feel VERY busy and I don’t think about any of my problems, and then I feel super proud of myself for getting it done. It makes me happy! What a perfect distraction.
9. Once I needed to see my therapist but she was on vacation. I went online and saw an online therapist. It was so easy, so helpful and I didn’t need a baby sitter. So, I actually dropped my therapist and kept the online one. And, if SHE isn’t available? I could see anyone with an open time slot
10. Treat yourself! I’m talking amazing baths, your softest pajamas, and your favorite movie. Treat yourself to a massage or use your favorite lotion. Find a way to express gratitude for yourself. Loving yourself in all the waiting-for-the-next-thing parts of life is so ridiculously important. Good luck!