Like many people, there are days when I feel off or don’t feel like myself. Sometimes I wake up feeling that way, and other times that feeling hits me at some random point during the day. Regardless, the moment that feeling hits is a familiar one. It’s almost as if there’s a missing piece to a puzzle, or as if I’ve forgotten an answer to a question I’ve known my whole life. When this happens, one of the first things I do is think about what I’ve done that day, or what I’m planning to do. And that starts by consulting my list.
I like to separate the things I do out by frequency; that is, how often I do them. They can be fun things, like watching movies, going for a walk or working on a puzzle. They can also be things that feel a little more like work, like keeping track of my spending or taking my vitamins. But my “list,” as I call it, are things that are part of my routine. They’re things I do on a daily basis, and they’re usually linked to my mental wellness.
There are things I like to do every day that make up my wellness routine, and when I don’t do them I can feel a little off. Items on this list include things like meditation, journaling, and exercising. I don’t always have time for everything, but taking the time for even one or two of these activities has a huge impact on my wellness.
I used to think that every item on this list had to be a whole big thing, but I’ve learned that’s not always the case. For instance, I’ve noticed that stretching, even when I’m not exercising, can make my body feel a little better. When my body feels better, I feel better, and I can more readily handle what comes my way.
That’s not to say that doing these things solve all my problems. I didn’t think I’d feel good about myself unless I accomplished all the items on my list I think of as “daily tasks.” This approach wasn’t helpful, and reinforced the pressure I put on myself. That pressure would extend to even the most mundane of tasks, which isn’t healthy. Mental health is not always cause and effect, a lesson that’s taken me a long time to learn.
The list has evolved over time, and has been longer and shorter in some instances. It doesn’t exist in any real way, but as a running list in my head. Every day, I try to check a few items off this list. That way, even if my day wasn’t great, I had a few moments for me. It might not seem like much, but knowing that you’ve had a few wins during the day can help you into the next.
Our day-to-day lives are busy. The list of tasks usually piles up, and it can often feel like we’re jumping thing to the next. But we all deserve to have our own list of things that are just for us, or fill up our cup. I hope you’ve been able to recognize yours and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll notice them in your daily life. And when something doesn’t feel right, or you’re a little off, you can go down the list have a moment for yourself. You deserve it!