How often do you find yourself forgetting an important date? Perhaps a birthday, anniversary, important milestone, job interview, or medical appointment?
Within relationships, acknowledging important dates in loved one’s lives has special significance. It shows that you are thinking about them and that you care.
Celebrating special dates with a loved one can be a truly meaningful experience. It can help the other person feel loved and appreciated.
One barrier that can make it difficult to remember important dates is a lack of an organizational system. While keeping track of data in your head is an option, I find that it is easy to miss something. Plus having too much information circulating among other various bits of information that I need to remember can feel overwhelming.
While there are many great organizational tools that can be used to remember important events here is a list of ones to try. To increase the success of these tools, it is recommended that you keep an updated record of important dates. If needed, enlist the help of family and friends! Writing down new information immediately within your chosen format helps keep information up-to-date.
Choose which tools work with your lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Calendars: Try Google calendars, a family calendar, or wall calendars for a visual tool
- Phone Contacts: Add notes of important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries to your phone contacts
- Planners: Daily planners can be a great tool to keep everything organized in one place
- Social Media Sites with reminder features (e.g. Facebook)
- Phone Apps: There are tons of apps, many which are free that can be helpful with reminders such as birthdays
- Alarm Features: Alarms are great to combine with visual tools such as calendars, with reminders leading up to and on the day of the event
While some people anticipate important dates with excitement, others may experience a sense of dread, anxiety, or depression. Medical appointments can bring the fear of unknowns. Job interviews can be anxiety-provoking and may bring disappointment. Important dates can bring up triggers. Even dates that “should” feel happy such as important achievements or birthdays may be experienced with depression or discomfort when you are in the “spotlight”.
If you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms prior to important dates, I encourage you to reach out to a therapist.
- Feelings of sadness that continue to persist
- Lacking excitement of sense of pleasure in celebrating important dates
- Desire to avoid contact with people, including family and friends
- Experiencing anxious distress leading up to important dates
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulties sleeping
- Feeling tired and fatigued as a special day approaches
- Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulties concentrating or ruminating thoughts
- Possible thoughts of self-harm or suicide as the day approaches
- A final thought to keep in mind is to consider how you or others enjoy celebrating (or not celebrating) their special dates, while managing expectations. What would be meaningful?
- Perhaps a special message of appreciation, a thoughtful gift, spending some quality time doing something fun, or doing something nice for someone? Maybe keeping things simple if a more formal celebration creates discomfort? For the recipient, keeping a positive mindset, being able to reflect, and take some time for self-love is so important.
I encourage you to schedule in time for yourself this year. After all, what better time to celebrate you, than on your special day!
Why not do something special for yourself? You deserve to make your mental health a priority.
Written by: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
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