Tag Archives: To do

Winter Survival Guide (38) ~ Circumvent ‘breakdown’ by ‘breaking it down’…

This time of year, as nostalgic, fun and relaxing as it is ‘supposed’ to be, can often bring with it stress and an ever lengthening ‘to do’ list.

It is so important to be aware of where you are at with your mental health, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series, and in more in depth articles throughout my blog.

There are expectations that we place upon ourselves and that family, friends and society places upon us. Expectations that might be completely unrealistic and out of our grasp and that leave us feeling worn out, stressed, worried and even at ‘breaking point’ at times.

Look back over some of my previous posts, or search my blog for posts on ‘mental health’ related topics.

For this post, I’ll try to keep it simple: Break it down to avoid breaking down. 

I don’t know about you, but by the time I’ve got things organised for one week, I’m at the end of the week and needing to start all over again. Your tasks might be work oriented, or to do with keeping up with commitments, events and nurturing your friendships and relationships.

Today, ‘life as it happens to be’ sees me looking at a countertop of dishes needing washed and put away, recycling bags needing emptied, bins to be put out and clutter to be tidied away, food shopping to be done, and other household tasks to attend to, over and above all of the other things I want to do with my days and my life.

I often encourage myself and other people to break things down into smaller, more manageable ‘chunks’ to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. At this time of year there may be more things popping up in our diaries and calendars, and it can be hard to get around at times and to keep up with it all, which can lead to stress and anxiety or the exacerbation of existing conditions.

Some people are natural organisers, but even if you are not, you can work at finding a system that works for you to enable you to do what needs to be done, and thereby feeling more relaxed to take the ‘time out’ that you also need.

I have a lot of blog posts on mental health, organising, strategizing, and the different tools, techniques, ‘games’ and systems I use to make the load a bit lighter for myself mentally and emotionally and to even find the fun in being productive.

I need to keep reminding myself of these things, and that includes in attending to my list of ‘to do’s’ today.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and ‘frazzled’ or don’t know where to start, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your health and wellbeing is far more important than living up to certain expectations that may be unrealistic, and to getting everything done a certain way. Take your time, break it down, put on some calming music and just take the next step. Don’t try to do things all at once and try to make it fun. Ask for help when you need it, and give yourself some kindness and encouragement. Search and browse through my other posts on mental health and getting and staying organised and hopefully you’ll feel less overwhelmed, find something that helps you and reminds you that you’re not alone.

And remember – break it down to avoid breaking down! 🙂

close up photography of notebook near pens
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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Winter Survival Guide (18) ~ Plan Ahead.

It’s 12th November 2019 as I write this. We’ve already heard it so many times now: “I can’t believe it’s November already!”. People tend to say things like this a lot, commenting on ‘how fast’ the year has flown in. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but we’re undeniably bedded in now in the latter part of the calendar year, and before we know it people will be saying “I can’t believe it’s 2020!”.

This means that ‘before we know it’ we’ll be in the midst of the Christmas, festive, holiday, New Year (and other, depending on what this time of year means to you) season.

It’s a good ‘survival’ tip to plan ahead a bit so that things don’t unexpectedly creep up on you and you find that anxiety is knocking on the door of your heart.

Let me break this down a little, just to give us all a bit of perspective, and help us to visually see what and where we might gain from a little bit of forward planning. Keeping it simple, here is a visual representation of the next few weeks ahead:

November 2019:

Tues: 12th November (today), 19th, 26th

Wed: 13th Nov, 20th, 27th

Thur: 14th Nov, 21st, 28th

Fri: 15th Nov, 22nd, 29th

Sat: 16th Nov, 23rd, 30th.

Sun: 17th Nov, 24th

Mon: 18th Nov, 25th

 

December 2019:

Sun: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th

Mon: 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

Tue: 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st

Wed: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

Thur: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th

Fri: 6th, 13th, 20th , 27th

Sat: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

 

January 2020:

Wed: 1st.

 

Maybe you float through your days, and planning isn’t much of a priority, but personally as someone who has anxiety (and who also incidentally can be a bit forgetful), planning is pretty essential for me, and I like to break things down into smaller more manageable ‘chunks’. Together with the fact that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I like to make the most of the time I have and to do things well, and encourage other people, so that’s another reason I need a bit of an idea of what’s ahead of me, and what I need and want to do, as well as how this fits in with the needs and expectations of others, and my general obligations.

I’m not sure what the next few weeks ahead look like for you, but here are some of the things that I personally will need to factor in and begin thinking about and preparing for:

Work:

  • Finish up work projects (I’m usually ahead of schedule as I am just now, so I can relax with this one, considering nothing new or major lands on my plate) and tie up any loose ends before the office closes for Christmas.
  • Complete my personal work review which is just something I do for myself and is not a requirement, as it helps me to see just how much I have been involved with, what I have learned, and how to go forwards. Sometimes we fail to realise or appreciate just how much we have accomplished in a year, and it’s good to review that at the end of the year.
  • Support colleagues / team with anything we collaboratively need to accomplish / tie up.
  • Take annual leave that I have remaining from mid-December.

 

Social:

  • End of November, early Christmas work lunch out with colleagues.
  • Mini reunion with friends visiting from another part of the country, but just for the day.
  • Christmas dinner out (mid December) with a couple of close friends.
  • Catch-ups, exchanging gifts and doing some fun Christmassy things with various friends before we head our separate ways for the holidays.

 

Charity:

  • Plan and carry out some acts of kindness to help those less fortunate, and encourage others with ways we can all help.

 

Personal Devotions, Church and Fellowship:

  • Only six more Sundays before Christmas, so it would be nice to spend some time in advance really preparing myself spiritually, thanking God and reflecting upon the year gone by, and prayerfully looking at what is ahead. The Centre of Christmas and of Life for me Is Christ, so it is important that He Is my Focus throughout this whole season, filled as it is with distractions aplenty.
  • Connect with friends, encourage others who are struggling this season, and participate in the many beautiful events celebrating Christ, as He leads me.

 

Prepare for Birthdays, Christmas Presents, gifts for God-children, friends’ kids, and prepare / recycle things to create Environmentally Friendly Packaging:

Pack and plan for a short holiday to see Christmas markets in Europe – finances, clothes, etc. all to be prepared.

Hospitality and Home:

  • Decorate, have people over for festive fun.

Pack and prepare for visiting family.

Reach out to support friends who are grieving or struggling this year.

Other bits and bobs: plan some crafts, use up coupons before their expiry dates, send things in the post on time, and create a photo book of memories for 2019.

red ceramic mug on white mat beside notebook
Photo by Anna Sommer on Pexels.com

 

 

 

“Just one more thing…”

brown monkey photo
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

When I was a kid, one of my dad’s favourite programmes was ‘Columbo’ – an American TV series about an LA-PD homicide detective, played by Peter Falk. Columbo came across as a scruffy, and somewhat absent minded detective, who asked a lot of seemingly random questions. He almost always could be seen with unkempt hair, a cigar in hand and wearing a tan-coloured mac / raincoat.

Detective Columbo in almost all of his cases seemed to the suspects of the murder as posing little or no threat. Until at some seemingly random point usually half way through the proceedings of the investigation when he came to talk about something else, just as he was leaving the room, he’d put one finger to his head, pause, return and say “Just one more thing….”. He’d then ask a question relating to a small, seemingly incidental and yet vital piece of the puzzle of solving the mystery of the murder, the murderer would come up with some answer or another and appear to put our dear bumbling Columbo off the scent. But Columbo’s ‘just one more thing’ that he puzzled over, inevitably always lead to a successful prosecution of the real murderer, and Columbo, despite his haphazard, scruffy and non-threatening, sometimes bumbling demeanour, never failed to solve a case.

Now, this post isn’t anything to do with detectives, ‘who done its’, or TV crime shows. It isn’t really anything to do with Columbo either, except for his famous catchphrase that he used in each and every episode, to the satisfaction of his viewers, even those of us who were just little at the time, watching on with our families. I just thought I’d take a trip down memory lane with any of you who remember one of the most lovable TV detectives.

For those of you who don’t, and don’t have any idea who Columbo is, don’t worry. All you need to remember is his catchphrase ‘Just one more thing’. Not in terms of solving mysteries, but in terms of getting things done.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can feel a bit overwhelmed by how much I have to manage and get done in my day to day life. If I let it, things can become unnecessarily stressful. However, taking a leaf out of Columbo’s book can be good for all of us.

“Just one more thing”. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, relax, just think of that one more thing that needs done and work on that. Just one small thing at a time. Without a doubt it will help us to put aside a lot of the stress that we unnecessarily give ourselves, and we don’t need to be detectives to figure that one out! 🙂