My Therapist Said to Try a Consistent Activity Level, and I Don’t Know How

OMG, friends. Bless my darling heart. I went to see my therapist yesterday, she said to try something called a “Consistent Activity Level,” and I don’t know how.

Yesterday, it made sense.

I’m at the part of mental health recovery where the medication is probably working again. So, WOOHOO! But also, CAUTION.

BEWARE. ACHTUNG. Because I am starting to feel better. I have a working brain on occasion. I can complete WHOLE THOUGHTS and remember why I went to the kitchen, like, 50% of the time. It only took me three trips to remember to bring my tea back to my desk this afternoon, and that’s WAY less than infinite trips which is the number I was making while the meds were withholding their love. And all of this is wonderful — it really is — except for the fact I fall so easily and quickly into the NOW I AM BETTER, I MUST DO ALL THE THINGS trap. 

There’ve been weeks now — 5? 6? — when I’ve been wholly unproductive. So when the brain starts to come back online, I’m all, “TIME TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME.” And I get cracking on my to do list. TIME TO CHECK BOXES! TIME TO GO THROUGH EMAILS! TIME TO RESPOND TO TEXTS! TIME TO SCHEDULE ALL THE APPOINTMENTS! 

I take my wonky brain with its fits and starts and sputtering, and I jam that sucker into drive, hit the gas, and peal out into the fast lane on the Highway of Acheivement. I drive it long, and I drive it hard. (That’s what they said.) I drive it until it’s running on fumes. I give it no breaks. I give it no rest. And I am shocked — STUNNED — every time it breaks down on the side of the freeway and refuses to keep going once it’s out of gas.

So I sat in the behavioral psychologist’s office yesterday, and I confessed that it’s going well — my brain is getting better — but I’m pushing it too far, too fast, and I probably need to figure out a way to knock it off. At least treat my mental machine a little more gently. Give it time to be “getting better” without forcing it to maximum throttle. I confessed that I’ve spent several days lately, working 12 hours at a time, trying to give people stuff I feel I owe them, trying to erase the unproductivity of the last several weeks, and trying to make amends for falling off the face of the planet. And then, of course, the days following my manic bursts of accomplishment, I pass out. I use all the energy I have, and my body and my brain force me to rest whether I like it or not. (Hint: I don’t like it.)

The therapist looked across the office at me and said, “OK. We’re going to address several things eventually — like the words “owe” and “amends” — but for now we’re going to focus on just one. Have you heard of the Consistent Activity Level?”

And, I mean, I know what those words mean. I’ve just never thought of how they might a) go together, and b) be applied to me.

What she said next now seems basic, so you’ll have to bear with my incredulity since I’m sure you’re going to be all, “Um, yeah. Duh, Beth.” But it actually blew my mind. She said, “On the days when you feel full of energy — like your brain is fully functional — what if, instead of doing 10 out of 10 things on your To Do list, you do 6 out of 10 things? And what if, on the days you’re exhausted, instead of doing 0/10 things, you do 3 or 4?” 

Then she drew a wave graph to illustrate.

What if, instead of vacillating back and forth between extremes…

…like DO EVERYTHING inevitably followed by the NOW I CAN’T MOVE crash, you slowed the waves…

…to a more gentle roll? 

WUT?

Honestly, friends. This concept has never once, in all my 46 years, occurred to me. My plan has been the Erratic Activity Level, by which I mean, on the days I feel full of energy and like my brain is fully functional, I MUST MAXIMIZE THE SHIT OUT OF IT and DO EVERYTHING because God Knows when I’m going to have an opportunity like this again. I treat those high energy days like they are COMBAT and I am being deployed by air drop into the hostile zone to TAKE DOWN ANYTHING THAT MOVES. Swear to the Lord God Almighty, it’s like I’m being shoved out of the helicopter too close to the ground to fully deploy my parachute, hitting the ground too hard, and then being yelled at to GO, GO, GO, running parallel to the earth while enemy fire strafes me. Then on the days I’m exhausted, I ALSO try to DO EVERYTHING because I’m paralyzed by the twin fears that a)  I’ll Get Behind and Never Catch Up and b) I’m a Lazy, Worthless Excuse for a Human Being if I can’t Accomplish Simple Tasks I’m certain Everyone Else Can Manage. So on high energy days, I accomplish 47 out of 10 tasks. And on exhaustion days I accomplish either 0 out of 10 tasks, for which I berate myself with guilt, or 26 out of 10 tasks, but all of them poorly. And the result is, no matter what, I am MORE exhausted by the end of ALL days than when I started. 

More exhausted by doing Way Too Many Things on the high energy days.

More exhausted by Feeling Consuming Guilt for doing nothing on the exhausted days.

Or more exhausted by doing Way Too Many Things when I was already operating on an energy deficit.

All roads lead to more exhausted, in other words.

Which, for those of you who need the answers provided (**raises hand**), is NOT A HEALTHY WAY TO LIVE LIFE. 

You can see, then, why this whole “Consistent Activity Level” concept is causing a mental nuclear explosion. There’s a mushroom cloud lifting off my scalp as we speak. 

What is this “DO NOT USE ALL THE ENERGY YOU HAVE” idea?

What is this “SAVE SOME FOR LATER” notion?

What is this “Do SOME things but not EVERYthing and Call It a Day” approach?

I have literally never — not even one day in my adult life — felt full of energy without feeling obligated to spend every scrap of it. I mean, I have absolutely had days when I didn’t spend all my energy, but I also badmouthed myself for being “lazy” and “not using my time wisely.”

GOOD GRIEF, Self. COULD YOU BE SILLIER RIGHT NOW? I mean, I’m going to try to be kind and gentle to myself, even though this feels like very entry-level adulting information, but I really feel quite ridiculous that this is such a revelation.

Here’s the thing, though…

I met with my therapist yesterday. My mind was blown. I had an enormous “AH HA” moment. I came home ready to implement the poop out of a “Consistent Activity Level.” And now I’m sitting here at my desk staring out my window WITH NO IDEA WHAT TO DO TO JEAN-LUC PICARD THIS SHIT.

How? How, dear friends? How does one Make It So with a Consistent Activity Level?

How do I identify 10 things and pick 6 when there are 548 things on the To Do List? 

I’ve been thinking about this all day, and, frankly, I’m stumped. 

So far, I’ve assembled a Daily To Do List.

And I’ve begun a Running To Do List which is my compilation of ever-changing tasks.

My current idea is I’ll work on always doing my Daily Tasks because they’re just an expansion of the coping skills my therapist and I agreed are a Good Start for treating myself kindly. And I’ll do… some stuff… on the Running Task List every day without trying to do everything. Like, I’ll purposefully leave some of it undone like not doing everything is my literal job. 

I’m currently convinced it’s impossible to have a Consistent Activity Level and meet the needs of my family, my job, and myself. I’m currently convinced this will result in Stuff that Needs Doing Never Getting Done. I’m also currently convinced I have to try this Radical Concept anyway because the way I’ve done things so long, well, sucks. 

In conclusion, I’m going to attempt to have a Consistent Activity Level even though I feel like it’s a graduate level exercise and I have an elementary school education in this field. WISH ME LUCK, please. And if any of you have tried — or tried and accomplished (which seems like a miracle)— a Consistent Activity Level, PLEASE SHARE. Especially if you have any How To tips. ‘Cause I’m all ears, friends.

Yours truly, and waving in the dark,

 

 

 

P.S. I AM working on being kinder to myself than this post indicates, and on not doing all the things. It appears to be the work of a lifetime. You can read more about finding our way to kindness and gentleness here, and here, and here, and here. And a million other places on this blog. I’m working on it, folks. I swear.

P.P.S. Did you know I run a small number of retreats each year? I do! One of my very, very favorite things to do is hang out with members of our incredible, worldwide community and offer rest and respite from our regular lives. I would LOVE to have you join me. 

{HINT: A number of previous March retreat participants have asked for that as their gift for Christmas. #GiftIdea! If you need more info, always feel free to contact our retreat registrar, Maggie Peterson, at petersonm1@spu.edu. ❤️}

Click here for general retreat information

Or, if you want to head straight to the registration pages, you can register via my farm website, CAIRNS FARM:

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
20 comments
  1. Concerning brushing your teeth as if you were an actual adult:

    When I was in my 20s and hadn’t yet made irrevocably permanent decisions, I never left my apartment without brushing. When my first child was born that stopped. Often I’ll be in bed realizing I can’t actually remember the last time I brushed, but by that point in the day I’m waaaaaay to tired to care.
    I’ve concluded that brushing your teeth is actually a child’s chore. Grownups chew gum. Yes there’s always the possibility that you will loose all your teeth. Then you will officially have one less thing to feel guilty about not taking care of properly. See? Win-win!

    I’ve also discovered the huge benefits of a “done” list. So when I get to the end of a day and haven’t accomplished anything on the “to-do” list, and can’t actually remember what I did all day, I can look at my “done” list and see that I spent a significant amount of time de-cat-peeing the upstairs hallway which was important enough to bump most of the to do list items.

    Also, accomplishing a nap counts as a thing. It makes me a better mom. In fact all the things I do to take care of myself count. If I don’t walk as close to every day as possible I start to feel like I’m drowning. I don’t have to go far or fast. But I have to go. It always helps. And not a lot of things truly always help.

  2. This is beautiful.

    A couple of years ago I created a to do list that has worked wonders for me. I have a list of weekly to-dos that I just have to do once per week. Some are serious (“trim kid #1’s fingernails”) and some are more mental health (“watch Colbert”) and I have rotating chores (“clean the drying rack”).

    But the thing that really revolutionized my manic need to do all of the things, was to create two more categories – a “sometimes” section of things that get added to my weekly list sometimes, but not every week (“vacuum car”, “make banana bread”, “eat cookie dough”). And then, the masterpiece, things I just do once and then delete them forever (“write poem about fairy farts”, “organize closet”, “watch Rocky Horror Picture Show”). This way when I think of something that I really want to do or feel I should do, instead of doing it immediately or worrying that I’ll forget it, it goes on the list and I can forget about it, knowing I’ll get to it eventually.

    Then each Sunday night (my chosen night for this), I go through my list and move all of the weekly things plus some of the sometimes and one-time things into my list for the week.

    I think it’s super fun. And nerdy. And not for everyone. But it’s been extremely helpful for me.

  3. This is not “a graduate level exercise” — this is the postiest of post-doctoral attempts at Proper Adulting! Because you’ve hit the nail on the head: “God Knows when I’m going to have an opportunity like this again.” It is the thought that terrifies — and drives! — us all (to distraction).

    I remain terrible at this, but… I got sick five years ago with strep throat (because I’m 16 going on 17, apparently), and I never got better. In fact, I got sicker and sicker. And then I got diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and have continued to get sicker. Going from working 80 hours a week, looking after my elderly and ailing father, raising two small boys (and, honestly, my dang hubs!), running a charity, and and and — to finding myself housebound 90-plus percent of the time, and often unable to speak clearly (gah!) or sustain any kind of cognitive or emotional exertion (GAH!) has been a biiiiig hit to my routine and self-image and self-esteem and all that jazz.

    But what I’ve learned is this: Write it down. Plot out your day, in measurable chunks, and see how it feels. Like, 7am wake up and stretch; 7:15 pee, brush teeth, wash face; 7:30 make latte and sit and drink latte… Schedule work and be deliberate about prioritizing. Schedule breaks. Do it the day before, when you haven’t had a chance to panic yet when you look at the kitchen counter just covered in dishes. Doing some well is better than doing all poorly. Instead of a to-do list with: dishes, laundry, groceries, bills; try: 10am unload dishwasher, 10:15 rest, 10:45 load dishwasher, 11:00 rest. YOU HAVE TO DO IT BECAUSE IT’S ON THE LIST, DAMN IT!

    Look, this is hard as hell. And it feels really forced and weird and But Why?! for a while. But it gives you times to respect, and an end in sight to work, and also a clear view of exactly what you’ve been doing all day. Because you need to heal as much as anything else. So when I say “rest,” I don’t mean “do online banking but at least you’re sitting so it barely counts as work.” I mean feet up, eyes closed, possibly reclined, maybe draw the curtains (or sit in a sunny spot on the couch), quiet music playing. No TV, no reading, no computer — REST. (For patients with ME, it’s called ART: Aggressive Rest Therapy.)

    If I don’t do this, I cause permanent deterioration of my body, including my brain. This is the only way to slow the progression of my ME (it’s called “pacing,” because we couldn’t find a more boring term), and there’s no other treatment. I do this for my children and my husband, because ME can leave you unable to tolerate any physical stimulus (light, sound, touch, smell), unable to feed or bathe yourself, but still entirely trapped within your own mind. (Sounds a little like depression at its worst…) So I look after myself so I can live enough to be with them. You can do likewise. YOU’RE DOING IT FOR THEM! When I can’t motivate myself to make good choices on my own behalf, I do find it easier to do it for them.

    I’ll leave you with this little gem: Being still isn’t doing nothing; being still means being busy healing. Besides, IT’S ON THE LIST. xoxo

  4. I always, always push myself completely to the wall when I find those days of time + energy + motivation, and it comes back to bite me, too.

    I’ve been experimenting with how I make my lists and set expectations for myself. I have one master to-do list in my notebook (this is a work example) that is divided into categories, and then I use a star to mark the highest priority or time-critical items. This is a work in progress, because at first I was starring All The Things…not helpful. I use fine-tipped markers in pretty colors to make my categories easy and pleasant to see. And I leave space to add new things to each category, with a goal of re-writing the list completely (eliminating the completed stuff) every 2-3 months.

    The critical new step is: every evening, I take ONE post-it note, one of the next sizes up from regular that is maybe 2x as wide, and I flip it long-ways and make the next day’s list. I write the next day at the top, and then choose one “big” thing, two “medium” things, and three “small” things from my master list. So it might look like this:

    THURSDAY
    ⭐️ Draft newsletter article

    ✨ Complete expense report
    ✨ Look up time off policy for Jen

    email Brandi about coffee
    approve time sheets
    send Vicky kit links

    Then – and this is important – I close my master to-do list completely and put my daily sticky note next to my computer for the next day, and don’t look at the master again until the end of the day, when I (deliciously) cross things off and sometimes add new things, then make the next day’s list. For a while, “make tomorrow’s list” was always on the list while I built the habit.

    I am starting to play with how this can translate to home stuff, because it’s really helping with the overwhelm at work, and also gives me permission to call it a day if I’ve had a high-energy day and plowed right through. And of course sometimes an item or several go on the list again the next day, but ‍♀️ no big deal.

    I’m so grateful for you, Beth – for your honesty and vulnerability and grace. Thanks for being wholly you, and being here. ❤️

    1. Not sure where that ‍♀️ came from

  5. This post–and the comments–are fascinating. I actually do a pretty good job at not expecting more of myself than I have to give, though I do get really frustrated with myself when i flat-out waste time on stupid phone games. But what you describe is how my sisters operate, so I think it’s a youngest-child thing that lets me go easier on myself. I also live with people with mental health issues, and I need to think seriously about what Treen wrote above–that after a crisis, I can’t expect a return to what I thought of as normal.

    I know a woman who does not do things on Sundays. It doesn’t matter if the rest of her weekend is packed or empty–she won’t accept any Sunday invitations. It’s not a religious thing, just her acknowledging that she needs one day 100% people-free, and that she has to prioritize that over everything else. I’ve always been impressed by that.

  6. Ahh…the list! I am a list maker because I love marking things OFF of lists – sometimes I even make lists after the fact just so I can slash thru each item with vengeance. I took a Franklin Covey class many years ago and what sticks with me to this day is to prioritize my list. Not just which task to do first but what is most important? Family: Kids? Spouse? Parents? (Seems to change daily) House: Laundry? Bathroom? Dusting? (It’s never ever dusting!) Hygiene: Shower? Wash face? Brush teeth? (Almost always it’s brush teeth) While I seldom get everything done, I usually manage to get SOMETHING done and if my kids are still alive and haven’t pee’d in public, I count it as a win!

  7. OMG!! This is a thing!? Mind blown!! You mean I don’t owe every second of my life to other people, and to do lists!?! And the to do lists that make baby to do lists all on their own, and then their is a next generation…. all in one day! Ohhhh I feel the guilt. How do other humans actually relax? Hmmmm, I’m going to have to think about this.

  8. I have had to make myself a “basic to-do list” and then add levels to it. Mine starts with: have you eaten anything today? do you have a clean coffee cup and clean underwear? have you showered in the last 3 days? If I’m having a really good day I “level up” and might do a load of laundry, wash dishes, AND shower. I try very hard not to schedule anything else, especially things requiring that I leave the house, more than three days a week. My list is pretty extreme, but I no longer have a family at home or am able to work (health/disability limits), so this is workable for me and keeps me from that downward spiral. Work on the very basic and allow yourself trophy points for every level-up instead of guilt for not doing all the things.

  9. I don’t know if this helps, but my 8-year-old daughter–who has been struggling with many things, including ADHD, negative self-talk, anxiety, etc.–suggested to me last night that we make her a “Being Good” chart and that she earns a point for each thing she does (like clearing the dinner table when it’s her turn, or getting dressed on her own each morning). Then she earns a reward with X many points.

    She also requested the chart be decorated with spirals and hearts, and that each time she gets a point, that it’s a picture of a kitty saying something like “You’re awesome!” or “Purr-fect job!” I’m in favor of all the kitties as decor for your list, is what I’m saying. Kitties who remind you that you’re awesome.

    (P.S. For additional affirmation ideas, check out Kate Allan’s You Can Do All Things book or tumblr page. She’s an amazing artist and her animals all have really positive things to tell you. It’s not really about doing All the Things–it’s about reminding yourself that you are enough. I got the book for myself and now my kiddos look through it when they’re feeling down too. Rainbow unicorns are good for the soul. Waving in the dark to you, my friend.

  10. This completely resonates with me! I have to actively manage unpredictable energy also. Reading “The Power of Habit” helped me form an awareness that habits are hard for me to form. But, they are scaffolding when I am overwhelmed, so I need them, despite the fact that the nature of my soil grows them poorly. Some of my “habits”, I cook one thing a day, sometimes that is just hard boiled eggs. Anything counts. I walk almost daily. Some days it’s 1/4 mile and some days it’s four. The habit is the constant. The output is not. Your funny, honest, unique voice is a thing of beauty!!!

    1. Yes, Shanna! I do something very similar. It also helps me to break the day into chunks, then put a single task into each one. Like you, I have things that I’ve committed to do, but I adjust the magnitude of what that means based on how I’m feeling. I also use touchstones in my day to acknowledge what I’ve accomplished. For example, my cup of tea in the morning is my first touchstone, it means: I’ve gotten out of bed, I’ve likely woken my children and got them going, I’m nourishing myself.

      I still sometimes get discouraged by my less productive times and I still sometimes push too much when I’m feeling well, but overall I feel more steady. This was something that I had to learn as an adult too. A physical therapist helped me. She said I needed to stop practicing pain and that my health and well being would benefit more from consistency than the up and down cycles I was using.

  11. First of all, you live in Newberg! I’m in Connecticut now, but I grew up in itty bitty Lafayette up the road (my sister still lives there), so I totally know all those places. Yay Oregon!

    Reading this post and your other post about your mental health crisis from last month is reading a version of my own life. Today is Day 863 since June 13, 2017. It was my husband who hit the wall. There has definitely been “recovery” just for him to be functional again (he slept for 8 weeks after his crash). BUT … we don’t figure he’ll ever get back to the way he was before. He broke. Things are now different.

    You can glue a broken object back together, and it may look the same as before, but the structure is now different and it should be handled differently or it will break again. Our culture/society doesn’t seem to get it that the brain CHANGES with an extreme mental health incident, so expectations and behaviors need to change as well – both the person who experienced the incident and the people around them. It totally sucks, and accepting this is HARD. We’re still working on acceptance, and modifying our life to accommodate his changed activity level, and cutting things that don’t matter so he has energy for the things that do.

    How our family is developing a Consistent Activity Level:
    1. Some chores just don’t get done. Clean laundry stays piled on our couch for a week or more, until we get around to putting it away. Yeah, it makes the living room a mess, but at least everyone is in clean clothes. The minimum has been met – it doesn’t matter where the laundry IS as long as it’s clean. Next step solution: teaching the kids to do the laundry. Our kids are just now getting to the age that they can do it themselves.

    2. Hubby’s therapist recently “prescribed” the wonder of minimalism for our family. If we don’t use it or need it, get it out of the house entirely. Currently in process. I’m delighted to get rid of unnecessary things, and it’s also helpful that I can say, “Trish said we have to.” My kids listen to Dad’s therapist a lot better than they listen to me, of course.

    3. We cut or modified a lot of work-intensive things. We don’t make pizza anymore, we buy it. We did no berry picking or jam making or canning this past summer. We’ve requested a work crew from our church to help split our firewood for the winter.

    4. When an opportunity opens for a guys night out for him, girls lunch out for me (for example), we ignore the chores and have the fun. We have learned in the past 2 years that hobbies are necessary, socializing with friends is necessary. Yes, it uses up energy that could be “better” spent on being productive somehow, but it also makes the “productive” energy stretch a little further later.

    These are the things moving us in a good direction. Best wishes, prayers, and good vibes to do the things that you need to do for your health and life.

    1. Good for you! Wishing your family all the best. ❤️

  12. I adore that you used Jean-Luc Picard as a verb! That is my favorite new best thing!

  13. I’m coming out of a Really Dark Place right now. Climbing. Seeing more than just glimpses of sun here and there now. The light filters thru like it’s coming through the canopy of leaves and I’m basking in those little patches and braving the darker ones knowing there’s another light patch just ahead… Hoping.

    Beth, I’ll tell you because you’re one of those who’s let me know I’m not alone in all this, by putting your words out there and letting us have a glimpse of your day to day- Another year like last year will be it for me. I can’t climb out like this again. Losing four significant people in my life in just six months’ time… It was too much and I’m just… tired.
    But setting that aside, because right now there’re patches of light and the leaves are making the sun look all golden and green and beautiful and I can believe that even with winter coming, we’ll stay cozy and warm and be ok for one more year.

    And there was a bright patch just now, when I read “Brush your teeth like you’re an actual grown up” and I laughed way harder than I should have at that.
    That bright patch will carry me through to the next one, and there will be another after that… And we will go on.

    Take care of you, Friend. Be kind to that darling sweet Lady who brings so much joy just by being.

    Mary

  14. Oh how I feel you. This summer I had a “chat” with my 14 yo explaining that the little things make Mom’s life SO much easier, like when you finish the jug of tea – START A NEW ONE BREWING. Her reply? “You’re just always on top of things, I don’t want to mess you up.” Hmm. Slap in the face to me about well DUH they never “see” tea needing made b/c I usually holler in “I’ll be there in a sec to finish it!”

    That’s just one example. But I did request that she JUST ASK if she’s unsure. She’s 14 so it is a work in progress, but one worth doing. This is after I had made a “chore chart” (haven’t we all) and said if you help out, keep track and I’ll pay up. That lasted a week. I had a chat with the 16 yo and asked why he wasn’t doing them. “Well it’s optional, right? You said IF we do them, we get paid, and I’m okay without making a dollar for brewing tea.” ARGH – I give options, not directions. So I said ok, I NEED HELP. PLEASE do some of these things so I’m not doing ALL the things. And he helped.

    Lessons to me: doing all the things all the time leads to others expecting me to – so they don’t do them. Asking for help is ok and actually gets me help, and SPECIFY what I want help with to ensure it gets done. I *try* to now ask for help when I need it, and I love giving options (do you want to vacuum or put dirty dishes in the dishwasher?). I ignore the eye rolling/sighing (from teens and myself), and repeat this: Even if it’s not done the way I would do it, it is DONE and that’s what matters.

    Work in progress girl. But I keep trying. And, like Melissa, I think “what would I tell my bff?” Then I end up humming “Just keep swimming” in Dori’s voice from Finding Nemo and guess what? I keep swimming. 🙂 ♥

  15. Me yes hello I am here. I also tell myself how lazy and failure-y I am when there are things left to be done. I’m a teacher. There are always things to be done. Last year I decided to not do teacher work outside of school hours. I said, “If it doesn’t get done at school, it doesn’t get done.” And for the most part (pobody’s nerfect) I stuck to it for the school year and GUESS WHAT. None of my students died.

    (Last year I also took three weeks off of school to do another awesome job God invited me to do and literally had stress nightmares that my students were literally dying without me.)

    This year I’m an administrator at my school and am trying the same rule. No school work outside of school hours. I also quit one of my side jobs and just yesterday was doing my other side job and thought, “Okay so I CAN do this side job but what if I didn’t? What if I only had… ONE worky job and then my other jobs could be being a better friend?”

    So I am totally with ya. It’s hard. It’s hard. It’s hard. Because we are really good at doing stuff and because if we let other people do stuff they aren’t going to do it how we like it! But that’s okay. I’m learning to be gentler with myself and other people, to prioritize my big giant running to do list and to actually live days not using up all my energy.

    We can do it! We can live the abundant (not abundantly full of tasks) lives we were made for. I believe in us.

  16. Sometimes when it is difficult to be kind to myself, I imagine that I have to give the advice to my best friend. I’m much kinder to her.
    I wonder if that would work? If it was your best friend’s list of ‘must-dos’, how would you resolve her dilemma of which 6/10 things to do?
    Sometimes I resort to such mind-trickery and sometimes it even works. Failing this, could you have your actual friends help to shorten the list for you?

  17. I kind of wonder if, as you purposely leave things undone, you will find out that some things that you thought were “musts” actually aren’t? I’m also curious whether if you stop doing things for your family that are musts, others who have more capacity will pick them up? I hope you’ll report back on this experiment.

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