Homework from my Psychologist

Last week I saw my psychologist. it was a good, productive session. She gave me two bits of homework to work on before my next session (next February).

The first is to to try to talk myself down from a meltdown. The context is me telling her that I had a meltdown when I couldn’t start the lawnmower because I felt a failure because I couldn’t do something which I regarded as being simple. I have to try to interrupt the negative thought pattern and reinforce the concept that the lawnmower not starting is not a big deal and I can do something else instead. Have to wait for that chain of events to start to see if I can change the course. Something that may or may not happen before my next session.

The second piece of homework is to take a day off work for no reason. They may not have been her exact words and I realise that I need to clarify what her exact words were because I have realised that it is causing me a great deal of stress and it was only this morning that I realised why.

Some context, I have a new job I started a couple of months ago. It is an evening shift casual position and I have been getting 5 hour shifts, 5 days a week for the last several weeks (probably 5) and it looks to continue that way until Christmas and beyond (apart from the week between Christmas and New Year when the office closes). I have a very strong work ethic (to my detriment) which has previously caused me to burn out. The thought behind taking the day off for no reason is that I need to not prioritise the needs of the business over those of myself or my family or other needs. Sounds simple right.

I could take a day off at the end of January when my daughter comes to visit, it would be nice to spend some time off with her. Damnit, that’s not for no reason. I can still take it off but that is not what my homework is about.

A little more context here. My brain likes to justify things, find reasons for things, cross reference things and allocate them. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.

Take a Friday off and have a long weekend. Nope, that’s a reason, does not qualify for the homework.

Take a random day off midweek. Might be nice to go out for dinner with my husband. Damnit, reason.

I’m feeling a bit tired, random day off to catch up to myself. Damnit, reason.

Have a couple of things on this week during the day, may be overdoing it and scheduling too much. Damnit, reason.

Pick a random day, throw a dart at the calendar, don’t think about it, just email the boss and say I wont be available one day, random date. Don’t think about it before I do it. If it happens to be a Friday, or I have other stuff on, or I’m a bit tired, or I go out for dinner it doesn’t matter, I will have met the requirements of my homework and taken a day off for no reason. Damnit, reason.

My brain figured that one out before I did and was stressing because it knew there was no solution, no way for me to do this.

Will email my psychologist and get the exact wording of my homework.

5 thoughts on “Homework from my Psychologist

      1. I think your interpretation is correct that the thought behind taking the day off for “no reason” is to not prioritize the needs of the business over those of yourself or your family or other needs. In other words, it’s not for “no reason” but rather for reasons of fun (such as vacationing or relaxing) rather than necessity (such as doctors’ appointments or health reasons). Thus all your suggestions (visiting with your daughter, a long weekend, midweek relaxation, personal time) would qualify but a stress migraine wouldn’t.

        There’s no point in taking a day off from work if you don’t enjoy it. It sounds to me as though you are self-sabotaging by interpreting your psychologist’s homework in a way that produces as little enjoyment for yourself as possible, when actually she probably meant it as a way to give yourself a treat.


      2. I know you are right, but the bit of me that is always second guessing everything goes for the literal meaning, even if that is not what the speaker meant. I have organised to take some days off in the new year for things I want to do. Even if I plan to be busy on these days, it will be busy for me, not for someone else. It will be things that I want to do, rather than the ‘have tos’ of life

        Liked by 1 person

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