Brain burnout- the curse of being a planner

In the world of the Monday-Friday 9-5 workers who burn the candle at both ends and use weekends as a chance to catch up socially rather than catch up literally, taking a day to do nothing is weird. It feels strange and unnatural and if you’re one of the above mentioned people, you’ll know what it’s like to feel like you can’t relax without plans.

I’ve loved structure ever since I was a child. I liked to get up every day at the right time, be at school early, know exactly what I had planned for the day and that momentum has continued into adult life. Apart from uni, where I took a hiatus from any sort of structure and just did ‘student life’ like a normal, cheap vodka drinking, occasional essay-writing, happy go lucky young adult, I’ve never dealt well with just going with the flow.

For many reasons, health being the biggest, I’ve desperately been seeking to adopt the laid back attitude that would let me just roll with whatever happened without the need to plan and give everything a structure. I have a body that needs rest, yet I give it basically none. If I’m laying in bed or sitting on the sofa, my mind is usually doing some serious mental admin, or I’m on my phone doing blog things or reading news or having a minor internal panic about work. This is probably why I’m so bad at watching TV series- I can’t stop life planning for long enough to concentrate.

I don’t really do relaxing, as my teeth grinding habit confirms. I don’t like days where I wake up with no purpose, they make me feel antsy and unnerved or like I’m wasting my life or time or throwing away my youth or something. It’s nor Saturday morning and if you’re reading this in a timely manner, I’m currently on my way to Brixton for a photo and then going straight to Brighton to immediately go to a birthday lunch because busy is best and all that….right?

I feel like I could never fully let go of  that fear of missing out and if I did manage to become okay with not having a degree of control or structure over all of my time, I would probably take up worrying that my ‘chill’ time wasn’t being ‘chilled correctly’, and the vicious circle would be complete.

I mean, there’s quite a lot of good that comes out of being a planner. For one thing, you do get the best out of time, because you make sure you plan it that way. It also means that you rarely come unstuck for something to do. I might sound like an insufferable person right now but my mental backlog of things I could do on days where plans fall through (yes this is real) is really long. And I swear I’m not unspontaneous and I don’t throw huge adult tantrums if I have to abandon a plan, because as long as SOMETHING is happening, then it’s fine.

By the way, this doesn’t mean I haven’t become a total mid-twenties grandma because I so have. I just even plan my grandma weekends in. Someone help me.

It’s probably unhealthy to a degree to have this ‘ WHAT CAN I DO NEXT THOUGH?’ brain that never stops mentally filling out a diary. It’s surely good for our mental health to have some ‘screw everything today my only plan is cheese’ time every so often? Maybe meditation is the way forward. Maybe mindfulness will help to slow things down. Maybe just forcing the thoughts and the plans to stop for a few days at a time is necessary.

Maybe maybe maybe. But also maybe it’s just the way millions of us are wired and actually it’s fine to completely mentally burn yourself out all the time.

5 thoughts on “Brain burnout- the curse of being a planner

  1. Oh this is a brilliant ramble Lauren! I am getting there are being better at the NO PLANS thing, I like those days! I like those snatched hours!
    BUT… i could still get better at them!


  2. Such a fantastically relatable post, I felt like I was reading something I myself had written. I’m terrible and not planning and I always have that niggling feeling in my head that I’m wasting time if I stop still for more than a minute…like in a queue. I guess some of us are just wired this way because I meditate daily but apart from those 15 minutes in the morning where I sit still I am always on the go. I even sleep walk! I get so jealous of people who can just sit and do nothing all day, HOOOOW?!


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