For a long time, I always created lists. Mostly I did so because I was really overwhelmed, and there were things I needed to get done with my limited time alone. When the kids were in school, it was often a rush to get to the stores and back, timing everything with their buses. When school was out, I didn’t have too much choice, as a rare trip out by myself on the weekend was pretty elusive, so my lists had to be complete in order to avoid not having time to get out by myself and missing out on the opportunity. Now, things are a bit different for me, as the kids are much older and do quite a bit themselves, but I still have things I want and need to do.
I used to be the person who always had a growing list on the fridge of all the things we were out of and what I needed to get. I would add to it as time went on, writing things down as I discarded or used them. Then, I would make my way to the store, immediately realizing I forgot the list…pretty much every time. Then, with the advent of the Alexa by Amazon, I then had the opportunity to have a digital list with me when I went to the store. I would forget to add to the list and well, cue vicious cycle. Today, with two essential workers in the house, I only need to ask for items, and if they are available, someone brings them home.
Recently, I restarted my lists again. Since there is a stay-at-home order in my state, I don’t exactly have a huge to-do list, but I do have one. They may be mundane and ordinary things, even repetitive, but they still need to be done. The making of lists have psychological benefits that can help us be more productive and even help quiet anxiety in positive ways. I do find that placing that check mark or crossing something off the list is very satisfying, even if it’s just “get laundry done”. I take the time to put items on the list that have a likelihood of not being completed that day, and I transfer them to the next day’s list for a sense of realism and continuity. Making sure that I recognize that not everything can be accomplished in a day is a good reminder of reality and taking breaks that benefit me, in spite of the list.
An example of something that has been moving from day to day on my list is finding fabric. With the advent of millions (at least it seems that way lol) of people making masks, I’m finding that I can’t find quality cotton fabric. Using items already at home are proving difficult to me, as I don’t have a lot of clothing that isn’t being used. So, I spend some time looking for it and am sure to log off if it gets aggravating. Something I’ve stopped putting on my list is “check to see if stimulus arrived” because, well, writing that down every single day for weeks is just aggravating that this point. By removing that, I don’t have to look at a tension filled list item every day, letting that go to the background a bit. Also, items that seem to recur every day I will stop putting on the list when they become routine. I think that’s a goal achieved to be honest. Allowing something important to become the norm and its not needing to be on the list has its own sense of accomplishment!
In a continuing effort branching off from my “cleaning of all the houses”, I am in the process of disengaging with negative people, places and things and moving in a better direction for my mental health. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy in these unique times. Don’t forget to add something fun, relaxing or otherwise beneficial to YOU every day too! Today I have “complete Italian lesson” on my list.