Have you ever sat down, exhausted, and wondered WHY you were doing what you were doing?
- Why am I going to work day after day when I hate it?
- Why am I rushing round stressfully trying to get things done?
- Why am I distressing myself over (whatever)?
If you are seriously asking yourself WHY, then that may be a very good thing.
When everything swirls around in your head, it seems overwhelming.
Writing things down reduces the overwhelm.
When you see something on paper, it becomes more manageable.
Take out a piece of paper and make 3 columns.
Write at the top what is so stressful.
Brainstorm the following questions:
Step 1 (column 1)
Why are you doing it? (WHY)
I need the money
I’d feel guilty if I didn’t
I’ve always done it
Step 2 (column 2)
Is there some way to change what I am doing? (WHAT to change)
Do it at a different time of day?
Combine it with another task?
Ask someone else to do it?
Step 3 (column 3)
Is there something that would help you to change? (HOW to change)
Asking a friend to help?
Finding a new way to do it?
In the past few weeks, I have spoken to several people with this problem – although it looks different for each person.
Margaret visits her aunt with dementia every week. She hates doing it because it seems pointless. Auntie often doesn’t know who Mags is, and when she does, she is often hostile.
Jenny hates her job at the moment, and finds it a real pain to drag herself in every morning.
Tony rushes home from work to drive his 3 children to their various activities, organise tea, pick them up, shop, and stay sane.
Step one for all three was to WRITE DOWN why they were doing it.
For Margaret, the reason was guilt. For Jenny it was money, and for Tony it was that he didn’t want his kids to miss out just because he was doing it alone.
Step 2 was to work out what to change about what they were doing. Again, WRITING IT DOWN was very important.
Margaret felt that her attitude needed changing. Auntie had helped her so much when she was younger. If the experience could be better, maybe she would enjoy it more.
Jenny felt that she didn’t have the support of her boss. If she could get her boss to understand her problems more, then things might be better.
Tony thought he needed to talk to his kids and explain his problems and ask what they wanted. He also recognised that he needed some help.
Step 3 was to brainstorm how to make that change. Once more, writing it down was important.
Margaret was already considering The Family Memory Project with her Auntie, so she will try that when she visits, see if it helps.
Jenny decided to ask for a meeting with her boss, wrote down what she needed to discuss and explain, and depending on the outcome, make decisions from there.
Tony set aside 20 minutes for a family conference, and decided to give the kids more responsibility in decision making about their activities. He also decided to ask their friends’ mothers to do some of the pick-ups and drop-offs in exchange for doing the same for them. He bought a huge calendar planner and will write everything down.
All three said that writing the problem down helped them to find ways to solve their problems.
Isn’t writing a wonderful thing?