More Alike Than Different Podcast- Episode 6
Reduce the Overwhelm by Making Lists
Overwhelmed- Make a LIST!
Refer to Episode 5 if you have a Circus of thoughts and mountain of things to tackle. This episode is intended to help you after you've completed your Circus of Thoughts PDF from Episode 5. You can still use the information from this episode even if you did not listen to the Circus of thoughts episode. But, I think you will get more out of this episode if you have already worked and classified your circus of thoughts.
How do you reduce the Overwhelm? First, I would like to remind you to try to form some daily habits or routines that help you focus and set intention. You could pray, meditate, journal, do yoga, or any other kind of activity the centers and grounds you. To increase calmness, you have to slow down intentionally. I am still working on what my best routine is for me. So, please know it may take you some time to find what brings peace, calmness, and joy to you.
Another way to reduce overwhelm is to organize the stressors. We talked about this in episode 5 (Circus of Thoughts episode). You need to classify, organize, and name your priorities. This will also help.
One of the greatest tools for me is making lists! I have lists upon lists for just about everything. I get so much satisfaction striking through a completed task or using a simple check mark. It’s like a dopamine hit to the brain. It gives me momentum and a sense of peace too. Now, I don’t just use lists for tasks or actions I need to complete. I also use lists to categorize and organize specific bits of information. I would like you to think about making a list of your child’s doctors and specialists with contact information. I have a spreadsheet looking list that has all of the contact information for specialists, pediatrician, pharmacy, durable medical providers, nursing agencies, specific hospitals and departments. You might be saying, what it she talking about? I have all of that information in my phone. I’m telling you there is power and a sense of peace when you have this information categorized in a simple document. Having and making these lists is going to help you in the future.
Another type of lists I make are medical lists. For example, I make a list of current medications, allergies, previous surgeries (with dates). I have a list with my son’s allergies on the refrigerator. Do I know my child's allergies by heart, absolutely, but it helps guests, babysitters, nurses, and whomever comes into your house have a sense of peace that there is an easy reference if they need it. It’s kind of like packing an extra pair of clothes for your potty-trained child. You might not need it, but it gives you some sense of peace and security knowing it is there. I know you are wondering why I made a list of his previous surgeries with dates. I make lists to help automate future tasks. What I mean is I know that when I have to fill out my child’s yearly updated medical forms for every specialist, insurance, state funded disability program that they often ask the same questions. Almost all of these forms ask for a list of previous surgeries.
Now, I will tell you I have 2 different medical binders for my child. I actually probably have more. But, I have 2 distinct ones. I have a traveling medical binder. It’s more like a small accordion file with pockets on the front where I keep pens, small pad of paper, and post-it notes. I keep current after visit summaries, doctors/specialist recommendations. Everything is current about his medical plans and protocols. I also keep updated Child Resumes to hand out at visits. (Check out episode 4 on how to create a Child Resume). I like to keep a list with all of the answers to usual questions of these medical forms. This not only saves time filling out documents. But in most cases I write- "see attached list". So, I am able to focus on the needs of my child. If you live a bit of a distance from your local children’s hospital, you will understand you develop a routine of bathrooming, eating, and all of that when you go to visits. I don’t have to worry about remembering when he went to what visit, when this happened, what all of his current medications are with dosages. I can actually focus on the task at hand. This can help with in home visits from your local early intervention case manager, nursing companies, and many other interactions that you may need that information. The medical field is getting better at cataloging and sharing medical information between your child’s medical team. But, if you go to different hospitals, there is still a delay in access to information.
Lists reduce your mental load. They give you a visual that instills peace and calmness. Lists help you get focused and make better decisions. Remember there are many kinds of lists. There are informational lists, to do lists, step by step lists, or inventory lists. Basically, the lists go on and on.
Take the time today to make 1 list. What is one of your categories that would bring some peace just by making a list? It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can hand write one, put it in your phone, or type it up digitally. Whatever works for you! Do it and reduce your overwhelm and bring a bit more peace to your life.