If you're the more relaxed type, you could probably give me lessons, but since I'm trying to learn this take-it-easy stuff the hard way, you get to hear my version of How I'm Looking for Zen.
It's not that I can't say no to people (*Oklahoma song running through head*). It's that I don't want to say no to myself.
This can happen to anyone. I've met SAHMs, WAHMs, full-time employed moms, single people, and category-defying wonder women who can't sleep because as soon as their heads hit the pillow, their brains start generating to-do lists. I've heard horror stories from people whose workaholism literally killed them (as in some Japanese people in the documentary Happy). It doesn't really matter whether you're trying to please your overbearing boss or the most demanding boss of all (you!). Too much stress is not good.
I'm not dead yet (*Monty Python movie running through head*). But I have noticed some pain in my neck and shoulders, not to mention an increased level of anxiety that makes me certain that my children are going to get kidnapped on their way to school or that flesh-eating monsters from Mongolia are living in the walls of my house.
Here's what's helping me so far:
- Since there's no such thing as "good enough", I get to set my own "good enough". Right now, that means I do one thing for my site/blog, one thing for the house, one thing for my kids, and one thing for me (usually exercise) per day. Anything else is extra and just for fun.
- I remind myself about my accomplishments, with no "yeah, but"s attached.
- I take lots of deep breaths and do some stretches or yoga poses often, even if it's only for three minutes each time. Relaxing a little is better than not at all.
- I've read enough self-help books to know that "shoulds" are usually not very helpful. But now I'm learning that their synonyms are just as harmful (have to, need to, going to, could have).
- Remembering that I can't change the past, even the past of an hour ago, and that regret doesn't change anything except to make me feel worse. So if I start thinking about the hour-ago or week-ago past, I try to catch myself and move on.
- Finding out what doesn't help or makes me feel worse (spending hours on Facebook, trying to save the world), and limiting the time I spend on those activities.
How do you keep your to-do lists from taking over your life?