You may ask why on earth you would want to escape your to-do list. This after all the trouble you went through to set it up in the first place.
But perhaps some of your days like some of my days and the to-do list just complicates life more.
Your start your day by being already twenty minutes behind schedule and not even out of bed yet. Why on earth is there a snooze button on the clock? You wish silently that the snooze button, like the idiotic genius that invented it, needs to disappear from the surface of the earth.
Your body pumps out a blast of oh-damn-I’m-late adrenaline, and you hit the ground tearing through your bedroom. Your phone is pinging away with messages of mothers of your children’s friends informing each other to remember a school project. And your twice exceptional child again did not tell you about the project that needs to be done TODAY! Your brain starts to sizzle about how to patch together you child’s project.
Facebook, twitter and the TV’s blare form the backdrop of another day of other people’s lives, bad news and discord, poisoning the morning with gloom and doom before you make it to the shower.
As your brain tries to process the morning thus far, you bring to mind your to-do list for today: Meetings. Tax forms to fill out. Carpool duty for the kids. A dreaded appointment with the dentist.
Then the run in with the dratted person at department of home affairs yesterday intrudes your thoughts. Your mind twists through the heated exchange a few times. You are livid yet again. And yet another item gets added to your to-do list.
You child starts to scream blue murder just as your start washing your hair in the shower. You rush through you ablutions just to find a bloody hand of said child that decided to start breakfast because he is absolutely STARVING and you are late. Your heart rate speeds up, and anxiety jolts through your body like a double-espresso aftershock.
Showered, dressed, and already agitated, bleeding stopped and starvation in your family prevented, you load everyone in the car and start on your carpool route. Your mind is frazzled and distracted. Your inner world roils like the first tremors before an earthquake. You drop some of the kids at one school, stop at the last school and open the boot of your car and say: “Goodbye love, enjoy your day” waiting for the air peck on your cheek. When no kiss is forthcoming you notice the weird looks of the other parents dropping their kids at school. And then you realize that the last child was not in the car at all because his dad had to drop him off him at school for some earlier activity. (And yes, this really happened to me!)
By injecting so much adrenaline and anxiety into your life, your body and mind become addicted to the interruptions, negativity and daily drama of daily life. This addiction keeps you stuck in a pattern of knee-jerk mindless reactions to thoughts and events, instead of letting you to consciously create what you want and need from your day.
By the time that evening arrives, you are too worn out to enjoy some relaxing activities with your family. Instead, you don’t want to think a second longer and you crave some mind-numbing hours of TV or surfing the net, not noticing that you overindulge on food and snacks that you do not even taste before you fall into bed utterly exhausted. Just to repeat the endless to-do list again tomorrow and the day after…
Can you see yourself in this scenario?
Although this might not be your exact daily life, after all you and your family are unique, you’ve likely experienced some form of it in the past. Stress. Worry. Being constantly distracted and agitated. Negative thinking. Emotional exhaustion. Physical exhaustion. Mindlessness. All of these play a greater role in our lives than we care to admit.
Peaceful and joyful beginnings to our days are rare. Our to-do lists keep on growing and for that matter, we feel mostly far from calm, centered, and present. And it takes a toll on our happiness and mental health.
You’ve heard the buzz about “mindfulness” and it appears that wherever you turn these days, mindfulness is there—or people want it to be there but you’re not certain what it is or how to apply it to your life.
But how would mindful living help you to escape your daily to-do list? Being mindful helps you to become aware of when you're on autopilot, allow you to break free from the autopilot trance and let take a moment to change what you're doing, thereby sparing you later regret.
Living mindfully allows you to stay in touch with your goals, hopes and dreams. By noticing the moment, mindfulness prevents you from reacting hastily and doing what you usually do in a stressful situation without thinking about it -- like grabbing a king-size candy bar.
Like you I felt like my to-do list was running my life. Experiencing the benefits of mindfulness in my own life and seeing the incredible science behind it, I would love to guide you step-by- step into the nuts and bolts of the daily practice of mindful living. I would love to join you in this journey, exploring how mindfulness and compassion and can help address chronic stress, overwork and burnout.
Over the next eight weeks I will share the latest research and best practices for introducing and integrating mindfulness into your work and life.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.