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By Cristina Stanger, Self-Advocacy Liaison, WRFN
*This article was originally published in the Family Pulse Newsletter November 2021*
Even before the pandemic, I’ve always found the future and unknowns very daunting. I can imagine a thousand different possibilities of how things can play out. I am prone to worry and catastrophizing. When it feels like everything could go wrong, or there is an imminent issue I need to address for myself or my children, or all the things I need to get done seem like too much to handle - it can be paralyzing. I’m working on keeping my worries in check.
One thing I am learning to do is to pause, and take a moment to identify something that went better than expected, or that has improved, or that I did well. In short: celebrate the small stuff. This is not yet a natural thought pattern for me, so I have to be quite intentional in my approach. Maybe I phoned a business and asked a question that I needed answered. Maybe I took the dog on a longer walk today. Maybe I reinforced a healthier new habit. Maybe it’s as simple as, I remembered to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. When I stop and congratulate myself, life feels a little more positive.
I am also experimenting with the concept of a “done list”; the opposite of a to-do list (which can feel never ending), a done list helps me reflect on my day, and notice the things I’ve achieved. This can be very grounding, bringing me back to the present moment without worrying about all the things that did not yet get done. A done list is, once again, an acknowledgement of the small stuff, which can add up in an uplifting way.
So please join me and take a moment to pause, and congratulate yourself on something you did today. Pat yourself on the back. Well done you. I’ve found these small, internal celebrations can go a long way to counteract the overwhelm and negativity I sometimes feel, and I hope, in some way, it might be helpful to you as well.