There’s a reason I’m doing three Ways at once. I have a massive load of things on my plate at the moment and doing three posts in one go means that a) I get three things done at once and b) I have to make myself OBEY my own advice, otherwise the massive load of things on my plate will negatively affect my wellbeing and my Table of Wellbeing will collapse.
And we wouldn’t want that.
So, I need some Ways to Wellbeing and I’m currently at No 41.
#41 Make lists when you’ve got a lot on your plate
My plate includes having a very difficult book I have to write before Christmas, and this week coming up which involves a meeting with a national charity, a presentation to a children’s book showcase, a Scary Thing and my daughter getting married.
But THAT is not the kind of list I need to make. That’s a stressful list and gets me nowhere. The kind of list the gets me somewhere would be a list of things I need to do to achieve those activities. For example:
- Buy train ticket for the meeting/showcase/Scary Thing
- Prepare meeting notes
- Print presentation; take postcards, badges, quizzes
- Prepare for the Scary Thing
- Iron clothes I’ll be wearing for the above days
- Lay out clothes for the wedding
- Print and practise reading for the wedding
- (Obviously this list is a LOT longer in reality)
And I have some sub-lists, such as:
Buttonholes for wedding
- Buy wires and wax tape (done)
- Pick hawthorn berries
- Cut eucalytpus
- Buy thistles and gypsophila
- Part-make button-holes on Thursday morning; leave in oasis
Lists can look daunting but they never look as daunting as they feel in my head before I write them down. Once they are written down they become tasks to tick off. They make my brain tidy. Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about forgetting things.
I use a free App called Wunderlist, which makes a satisfying ping sound when I tick off a task.
#42 Identify Your Stress Triggers
There are two aspects to this: know yourself and know your diary. You have to know what kinds of things are likely to test your strength and wellbeing. Is it public speaking, travelling, a family occasion, not getting enough food, not getting enough sleep? And then look ahead in your diary so that you know when you have a likely stressful time coming up. Then you can take extra steps to look after yourself. You may not be able to get lots of sleep but you can get the best you can; you can eat the best food you can (and take cereal bars or dried fruit or nuts with you to keep you going); you can build in breaks if you look ahead. For example, on the day when I have the meeting, presentation and Scary Thing, I’ve made sure my train gets into London early so I can go and have a coffee and sandwich in peace.
Clearly, my daughter getting married has got lots of potential stress in it but making lists, making sure I have enough food and sleep, going for a run when I can, breathing properly and focusing on what I can control – and leaving aside what I can’t – will help me enjoy a fantastic day. Which brings me to…
#43 Focus on what you can control and ignore what you can’t
The hardest thing of all but the most important of all my 52 Ways to Wellbeing, I believe. I am certainly getting better at it but I do have to give myself a bit of a talking to sometimes! I’m a worrier and prone to anxiety and over-sensitivity; I’m also a perfectionist. Those factors are a recipe for worrying about the wrong things.
So, thinking about my daughter’s wedding, here’s what I can control: my reading, my outfit, my smile, my best efforts to speak to as many people as possible. And ignore what I can’t: everything else. It will be a perfect day, and I say that as a perfectionist.
And the Scary Thing? I’ll tell you one day!
For all the previous Ways to Wellbeing, put “52 Ways” in the search box at the top of this page.