Mentally Prepare for the Week Ahead
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
Alexander Graham Bell
Does a long weekend make it easier or more difficult to transition to the week ahead?
Whatever your answer, the fact remains:
It can be daunting to stare down a new week.
Fortunately? There are some simple steps you can take to make each new week a great one.
Read on for 10 ways to mentally prepare for the week ahead:
1. Check in with yourself.
It sounds simple enough, but when’s the last time you paused to do a quick check of how you’re doing? Mentally scan your body and note any aches, pains, or other sensations. Ask yourself: Am I tired or energized? What’s my mood right now? Are my thoughts racing or is my mind pretty still?
2. Review your calendar.
Once you’ve checked in with yourself, pull up your calendar to see what you’ve got planned for the week. When we’re feeling anxious about the week ahead, there’s often a tendency to avoid even looking at the calendar. And while this might feel relieving in the moment, it actually sets us up for even more anxiety when our week begins– or worse, being blindsided by our own plans.
3. Visualize the week ahead.
What kind of week do you want to have? Don’t just jump right to easy answers like, “a good one!”. Instead, challenge yourself to really see yourself moving through your week. Picture yourself interacting with the people around you, working on tasks, savoring pleasurable moments, caring for yourself and others. How do you want to feel 7 days from now, as you reflect on the week? What will help make that feeling a reality for you?
4. Schedule self-care.
Go back to your calendar and do a quick scan to ensure self-care’s represented there. Are there breaks in each day (even very brief ones)? Have you carved out time to move your body? To connect with the people around you? To go to therapy?
5. Make a food plan.
For each day in the week ahead, ask yourself: Where will I be for each meal? On my own or will I be feeding anyone else? Are there ingredients or ready-made components to assemble? Restaurants to budget for? If I’m bringing food with me anywhere, do I have an easy way to transport and store it? Am I all set with snacks? No need to get fancy; just make a plan and move on.
6. Ask for what you need.
As you scan through your week, potential challenges will start to appear: Schedule conflicts. Carpool issues. Opportunities to reschedule, clarify, or negotiate responsibilities. Let go of the expectation that you must “do it all” on your own; instead, ask for what you need to make the week run smoothly.
7. Plan something to look forward to.
Maybe it’s a date to go try something new. Or a date with the couch and your favorite comedy. Whatever it looks like for you, having at least one bright spot to anticipate can change the tone of your entire week.
8. Take a break.
Now that you’ve taken the time to plan out your week, give yourself full permission to switch gears and focus on now. If you notice any worry or unsettling feelings creeping in, gently remind yourself: The week’s all taken care of. There’s nothing left for you to do.
9. Do a brain dump.
As you’re winding down for the night, it’s normal to experience some busy thoughts about the week ahead. Take a few minutes to jot it all down in a journal or notes app on your phone. Then do whatever you need to do to transition yourself to sleep.
10. Rest up.
Sometimes the most obvious advice is also the most easily overlooked. So, we’ll say it again, just in case you need to hear it: Resting your body and your mind is vital to mentally preparing for the week ahead. Sweet dreams!
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Need some support as you mentally prepare for the week ahead?