After divorce became inevitable, I was researching how to stop feeling so listless and depressed. I wanted to feel better, but I didn’t even know where to start. Everywhere I looked, I saw “self-care.” I wasn’t even sure what that really meant or how to go about it. Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned a ton about self-care and what it means and different ways of doing it. You can see my blog post here for a list of self-care ideas. Basically, self-care is doing things that nurture and take care of what you need. For me, I almost had to look at it as if I was my own mother, giving myself gifts of time, compassion, love and acceptance. For example, taking a bubble bath was something I did frequently when I felt really stressed. Something about the soothing, playfulness of bubbles and the great lavender scent helped calm me enough to get me through the next couple hours. And I was just trying to get by hour by hour at first. I wasn’t great at knowing I was stressed, but my eyes would shut down and everything would become so blurry that I couldn’t see. The eye doctor tested my eyes repeatedly and found nothing, and explained that stress could do that. Taking that bath was the only thing that helped my eyes get unblurry. So I gifted myself with the time to do that.
I felt overwhelmed very often back then. I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done. Then, I started making lists. The lists started out with things like, get dressed, get the children up, make the children breakfast, brush my daughter’s hair, brush my hair, etc. I was a little ashamed at first that the only things on my list were things that I had to do. They seemed so small and meaningless to me at the time. And yet, when I got to cross one off, I realized that I felt a little better! After time, I got to add more things to my list that seemed richer somehow. I was also learning that by putting things on my list, I didn’t have to remember everything. That was a big help because my brain wasn’t remembering so well. I was beating myself up for not remembering on top of everything else.
Lists also helped me learn about breaking projects into manageable pieces. I tend to get excited about something big, but I don’t always know where to start. So when I have to put a project into a list, I am forced to identify the parts of the whole and to prioritize what needs to happen first, second and so forth. In essence, by creating lists, I am forced to organize my mind clearly.
I originally created all my lists by hand, which I love! There was something so therapeutic about the act of writing by hand. I also love the crossing out by hand! Now, however, I’ve found that many lists I need to take with me and I use Trello. It’s free, has an app for my phone and also has a desktop version. That means my lists can go anywhere with me. I have a list of house projects and if I find myself at Home Depot, I take a peek at my list and see if I can knock out anything while there.
Hope that helps! Have a wonderful day! xoxo K