Feeling overwhelmed can creep up on you when you’ve had a few days of putting out one fire after another. Or the feeling suddenly hits after streaming through news reports on this crisis. Either way, when I get overwhelmed, here are 7 lists I make to help me feel better.
- Gratitude list. Listing everything from having my favorite coffee (or plenty of toilet paper) to knowing my family members are staying safe makes me realize my life isn’t as bad as I thought.
- Three quick chores I can knock out. When I feel overwhelmed, I generally think I’m spinning my wheels. Choosing to make my bed (2 minutes), clear off a kitchen counter (3 minutes), and pay one bill (5 minutes) and bam–ten minutes later I feel productive and ready to see what else I can get done.
- Name 5 people I enjoy talking to on a post-it near my phone. Talking to that one person who makes me laugh lightens my load just enough to keep going. Calling up that old friend instead of punching the like button on a post can change everything about my day.
- Write down on my family calendar the 5 easiest meals I can make or order. No, these aren’t the healthiest meals, but the fastest ones. Pizza-Grilled Cheese-Canned Pasta–Burgers and fries get written into the calendar, and I’ve gained five days of freedom from supper planning and cooking. Some weeks the mental health is more important than the physical health.
- Ten fun things I can do in ten minutes of free time. No, I can’t binge watch a show when I’m overwhelmed, but I can watch cat videos, work on a puzzle, read, take a quick nap or a hot shower as a reward once or twice during a tough day. Writing those things on my To Do List will make me smile.
- The Everything List. Sometimes that feeling comes from having a running list filling up and spilling over in my brain. If I stop and write down every single thing I think I have to do, or think I want to do in a given day I realize how ridiculous I’m being and give myself a break.
- Write down the 1 Bible quote that makes me feel better right now on as many post-its as I have rooms and put one in every room. God has an encouraging word or promise for everything I’m feeling. Some days I have little time to pray or read my Bible, but I can read 1 verse, and ask God for that 1 verse, and that’s enough to see me through.
There you have it. Some practical. Some simple. Some supernatural. Try them, and tell me what works for you.