Just One Thing
Life can be stressful for many different reasons. Right now, COVID-19 is at the top of the list for most. Between home quarantining, mask-wearing, remote schooling, lack of social life, and reduced workflow, my anxiety levels skyrocket on some days. I do my best to manage it by taking “me time,” watching TV Series, and getting good sleep. Some days life’s burdens can weigh heavier on my shoulders. Some days feel so overwhelming with no way out that even everyday tasks feel impossibly heavy, like cooking or cleaning. One day I was staring at a tall pile of old food magazines on my kitchen counter. I knew I had to bite the bullet and go through them and pull any recipes I’d like to keep, which I normally love to do, but today, it felt like a 10-mile trek in the snow—barefoot and uphill! But then a little voice in my head said, “Just go through one. You can handle one for today. The rest can wait.” This new thinking has been my saving grace ever since. Who knew a stack of old magazines would be the inspiration for change!
I’m a manifesting generator (Human Design), which means that I tend to have many balls in the air. I’m a multi-tasker, always “doing” something, rarely sitting still. I like to take care of my family, enjoy home reno projects, and manage my own business—this way of life sort of defines my purpose. So when I’m having a dark day (or two or five), the balls I’m juggling suddenly feel very heavy. My anxiety can cause me to want to shut down—do nothing—which goes against every fiber of my being. I’m someone who has a thirst for life and learning. When that is suppressed by stress and anxiety, it’s like I don’t know who I am. But my new “just one thing” approach is helping. It helps to keep my mind from judging myself or feeling sad about my lack of interest.
When it comes to keeping my house clean, here’s an example of how I applied “just one thing.” I noticed that all the bathrooms needed cleaning. With everyone home, these rooms are getting a lot more use than normal (right!). The thought of having to hose down two and a half bathrooms was too much for me that day. So instead, I just cleaned the toilets and saved the rest for another day. It was my “just one thing.” I felt like I accomplished something even though I knew the jobs’ not complete, but at least I was moving forward versus shutting down.
And I think that’s a common feeling we’re all having during this pandemic—a sense that we must stop and wait. Everything is on pause until it’s safe to move on again. We humans need to move on, progress, create, and flourish, and this pandemic lifestyle can feel soul-crushing at times. Every night I dream of traveling, of getting away and exploring new things. Then I wake up like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day chained to the same day over and over again. I try to make the best of this bad situation, but sometimes there’s a perfect storm of incidents, and like a droid, I shut down. It’s a form of situational depression. Luckily on days like that, “just one thing” saves me a little.
Sometimes it only takes a small accomplishment to lift spirits.
Cooking is one of my love languages. It’s how I show I care about my family. But since quarantine, it has become more of a job. Some days I just don’t want the responsibility. So I’ll re-heat leftovers or order a pizza. But my “just one thing” might be making a simple salad or cooking a vegetable. This helps with my love language issue. If my business becomes overwhelming with to-do’s, I choose one thing off the list and save the rest for later, or even another day, depending on my energy. By doing at least one thing, I can accept that everything didn’t get done. And that’s OK. And as someone who likes to check off lists, this is huge!
So if you find yourself overwhelmed with work, cooking, cleaning, schooling, caring for a loved one, or a personal matter, give yourself permission to shut down and restore. But if you’re like me and need some feeling of “doing,” try doing “just one thing” to make this all feel a bit lighter to move through. Instead of doing all the laundry, just do one load. Instead of hitting up three stores, just go to one. Not up for cooking a full meal, order out but make a simple dessert. Need to de-clutter a closet, just do one shelf. Need to work on a project, complete the next step, and then stop. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.
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