Do the basics well.
Do them well and often enough to make them habitual.
Be on time for things
Be early if you can
Do the washing up
Put a wash on
Make a good packed lunch for the kids
Do a little exercise – even if this is walking an extra stop from the bus to work
Clean the kitchen worksurface
Eat a relatively healthy meal (even if you stuff a whole load of chocolate biscuits later on)
Hang that washing out to dry
Shave (legs, face, both)
Put down your phone for 10 minutes, and pick up a book
Help someone with directions, or their bags, or pick up something they’ve dropped
Turn off your phone at least 30 minutes before bed.
An hour if you can
Get to bed 15 minutes earlier
To do all of these? That would be *madness/*outstanding (*delete as appropriate).
Because you can’t do two unless you’ve done one.
Or three if you feel you can.
And who knows where that may lead.
But start with one.
You’ll find none of these magically transform you into a stress free skip down the road type person. But lots of small, regular, progressive steps does have a surprisingly large effect.
Incremental IS significant.
Often, when you fall into a low mood or an anxious state, the mistake when searching for that ‘magic, cure-all pill’, is the thinking that one thing will change all things.
Many people contact me in last minute desperation, in blind panic, asking ‘what’s the answer? What’s the short cut?’, expecting there to be this buy off the shelf potion carrying with it an enlightening response. And as much as I wished snake oil was actually a thing, when they don’t get that cure all answer, they depart, forever to search in different places for something that doesn’t exist anywhere, no matter how hard they look.
I get it – after all, when in that overwhelming state of stress we can become very black and white in our thinking, when the many important shades of grey get swiftly overlooked.
Conventional thinking is that yesterday I didn’t notice these feelings of stress, but today I feel the symptoms, so something must have happened between then and now.
But really, these feelings accumulate over a period of time (unless you have literally encountered a life threatening situation recently, and then that is an acute response to that experience).
When the therapist who created solution focused hypnotherapy was asked ‘what is the answer to a happy life’, his response was ‘do the washing up before you go to bed’.
Sounds trivial right?
It certainly does if you’re in that ‘black and white’ thinking state right now.
And of course, there are many MANY people in a poor state of health for a number of reasons that this statement clearly won’t help.
But the point of the remark for most of us is to control the controllables; the little things.
Do the small things well and often. Build on feelings of achievement, and then, in time, you’ll be able to tackle the bigger things that need to be addressed in a far better frame of mind – possibly even those things that you may not want to admit to yourself right now.
Do the basics, well.