balance / life / Potential / self care

The Power of Having Something to Look Forward to… Getting out of the ‘Survival Mode’ Rut


Anticipation confers important evolutionary benefits to human beings. Specifically, expecting the forthcoming events allow active preparations in cognitive, affective, and behavioral strategies (Grupe et al., 2013).” Jan 9, 2018, National Library of Medicine

Yup. I read it… planning a vacation is not only an exciting venture but it is medically beneficial and vital to my wellbeing.

I will submit my flight to my health insurance…

…my hotel to my health saving account…

and send my request for sick days to my boss.

Though this social experiment would be interesting to experience, we can all agree, that the utter rejection of my requests would be a waste of time and energy… time and energy better spent on getting out of the rut of ‘survival mode’.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

“Survival mode is an adaptive response of the human body to help us survive danger and stress. Life can be busy and chaotic. Many of us are experts at being in โ€œsurvival modeโ€ in that we have learned to go through the motions in life and do what we need to do.” Jun 30, 2020, Psychology Today

But let’s be honest, if we can become Houdini,

magically merging schedules,

checking off to-do lists,

and troubleshooting life…

…then surely we have the power to set up a safety net, selfishly preparing for something special, out of the ordinary, in order to break up our mundane and demanding routines.

And so I did.

Photo by Gabriel Hohol on

Summer 2022,

From the South to the Great White North…

Canada here we come.

Yes, driving with three kids.

Sometimes you have to pick your battles ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hold up… You’re right. Just because you plan a vacation, it doesn’t change your current situation. So, change your attitude.

Be intentional. Switch your focus!

I was so frustrated that I had to spend my summer vacation working, to save money for my trip back home to Canada, that I forgot to enjoy the excitement of heading to the cottage on the lake… my kids having the opportunity to go to hockey school and the pampering my mum was planning for our stay.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project

“Anticipation is a key stage (for enjoying a happy event); by having something to look forward to, no matter what your circumstances, you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place.

In fact, sometimes the happiness in anticipation is greater than the happiness actually experienced in the momentโ€”thatโ€™s known as ‘rosy prospection.'”

Not only is attitude everything, but your perception of the bigger picture can help you cope with the challenges you face from day to day. Avoiding ‘surviving the day’ and realizing that life is greater than a single moment of grief, will help you maintain perspective and help you regain control.

Pace Yourself. Life is a journey, not a destination.

There is no fix-all. Whether it’s a holiday to the beach or a staycation with breakfast in bed, the purpose of having something to look forward to is not to live for one moment.

Actually, it’s to help us see the potential in every moment.

Potential and anticipation work side by side.

And the minute we begin to see life through the lens of opportunity and gratitude, the better our entire outlook becomes.

Today, I begin to prepare for our big trip. Funny enough, it makes laundry more exciting, the kids are simultaneously cleaning the car as they prepare a ‘lounge’ for the long trip, and I’m putting together a budget for all the cool excursions we will take!

It’s all about perspective, my love ๐Ÿ˜‰

xoxo Annie

4 thoughts on “The Power of Having Something to Look Forward to… Getting out of the ‘Survival Mode’ Rut

  1. You’ve shared some excellent advice here, Annie. Thank you for this. I’ve spent far too much of my life in survival mode. It keeps a person in a permanently stressed-out state and steals away happiness and joy, but I’m learning better now. You are quite right about anticipation lifting our mood and making the space we exist in more pleasant and positive. It’s always good to have something to look forward to in life. It gives us hope, too. It’ll be wonderful for you to get away to see your family in Canada. I hope you have the best time. I’m not going away this year, but I’m hoping to go for a day trip to my favourite place on the coast in Essex (where I live). I’m hoping my dear friend will come along with me. I’m looking forward to that and it makes me feel better even thinking about it. Thanks for sharing your wise thoughts. Ellie xxx ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ’

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love it! Thank you! It would be great to visit Essex. Any kind of new scenery is good for the soul, but I am sure it is beautiful! I couldn’t agree more… good company makes anything better. I went to visit my best friend in Atlanta and she was disappointed she couldn’t take me to the beach. I told her that it didn’t matter where we were going, knowing I was going to spend time with her was everything I needed to look forward to. I hope you have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜Š Annie xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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