Mental Health Monday – Overwhelmed?


I don’t know about you, but at the very end of Passover and Easter, I crash mentally. There is still so much to do, but it’s not scheduled between multiple church visits per day and cooking from scratch for Passover most nights, I still have to continue with life. And until this coming Thursday, everyone in the house is working, and we’re trying to save money by not eating out, even cheap fast food, which isn’t so cheap anymore.

I have returned to my lists (especially for today and the rest of this week), and on days like today, I needed a very specific list to make sure I hit every place I needed without too many, if any, U-turns.

The first thing I would recommend is a multi-level list when you’re beginning to get overwhelmed:

Draw a horizontal line across the middle of a piece of any-size paper, and then draw two columns from the top to that middle line.

Like this:

Fig. 1

The left is for the must-do’s, the right is for the would-like-to-do’s, and the bottom is for everything else. I’d also draw a line on the bottom right for a running shopping list.

I’ll give you an example for today and tomorrow.


  • Grocery Shopping (for tonight’s dinner)
  • 4pm – Two kids to work/8pm pick up
  • Mail Taxes
  • Email Continuing Ed Coordinator


  • Pay printer
  • Email to confirm tomorrow’s meeting
  • Mail box for spouse
  • Balance checkbook
  • Text friend
  • Attend telephone Rosary
  • Make list for Saturday’s retreat
  • Prepare report for tomorrow’s evening meeting

This is what my list looked like before I left the house:

  1. *Email Continuing Ed Coordinator to confirm last class for Thursday, ask about fall session
  2. Email to confirm tomorrow’s meeting
  3. Email VP of Interfaith group to confirm Thursday’s meeting & my leaving time
  4. Text sister
  5. Text friend
  6. Remember umbrella
  7. Mail store to return postage paid package
  8. Also, at the mail store – pay continuing ed invoice for printing
  9. *USPO – mail taxes certified/return receipt, check po box
  10. Bagel shop – buy half dozen bagels, plus breakfast
  11. McD for $1 Diet Coke
  12. *Fresh Market grocery store – $20 meal deal for tonight’s dinner + banana bread for breakfast/snack
  13. Check email for responses
  14. *Cook dinner
  15. 6:45pm Rosary Call
  16. Write and publish Mental Health Monday
  17. Write and print 2 submissions for Memoir Group
  18. Write a few words for Camp Nano

The shopping section included groceries, bagels, and paper towels.

The most important thing to remember is that when you’re overwhelmed, the list gives you an overview, which is one step in reducing anxiety. Will you get it all done? Maybe. Let yourself do what you can. Asterisk which of these can’t be put off. If you look at my list above, you’ll see only 4 asterisks out of 16. That’s it. If nothing but those four things get done, that’s a win.

What happens if I don’t text my sister and my friend?

I text them tomorrow.

If I forget my umbrella?

I get a little wet. Truth be told, I brought my umbrella, and left it in the car anyway.

What if I don’t publish Mental Health Monday on Monday?

I publish it on Tuesday.

It is all good. I know it’s not easy to simply say, “it’s all good,” but sometimes telling yourself that is enough.

In the end, I did manage to accomplish: #s 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18 are yet to be determined. I know I won’t get to 17 & 18 and I will do #3 when I finish this.

And at the end of the day, my page looks like this:

Fig. 2

I crossed off (from all four sections) the items I’ve completed. I have things left to do tomorrow and throughout the week and that will form my new list. What needs to get done will get done.

(Thursday is the next very, busy day, and it will definitely also get a list.)

Enjoy your week, and try to think of ways to lessen your anxiety. I know it’s easy to say it, and hard to do, but each day is a new opportunity to move forward in yourself.

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