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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

Would you do it again?

Some weeks are just extra: work is crazy, unexpected responsibilities pop up, cars break down, people die, deadlines are looming, sleep gets cut short, projects fail, and every night after work is full of things to do.


And for good measure, some birthdays are thrown into the mix


Your body is screaming for rest and your brain is ready to shut down or explode.


Sound familiar? 

You get to the weekend and you aren’t sure whether you should just collapse on the couch or try to start doing all the things that you didn’t have time or energy for during the week.


You want to do both but the exhaustion of the week is clouding your ability to think straight. 

Just the recent and raw memory of the overwhelming week is overwhelming.


That’s what this week was for me. I really, really want to blame it on the full moon but a cursory search of the  literature does not show any actual scientific evidence for moon effect on behavior.


Yes, I actually searched for it. So much for that.


But there is a strategy that is amazingly effective when you find yourself spinning from a week like this.  As I was doing it this morning (and feeling myself calm down) I thought that I should share it with you. It takes less than 5 minutes and yet creates safety and control in your mind.


List all the things that were very difficult or stressful this week, all the things you had to do. These can be activities like going right from work to a funeral or they can be emotional stressors like a difficult interaction with a coworker and the mental aggravation that can persist long after.


Once you have your list (mine had 9 items), rate each on a 0-10 scale how likely you would be to do it again and why.

What surprised me is that all of my items, save one, were a 10/10. I would do it again. Even the one that was an 8/10 I would do again but delay it to a less stressful time which gave me some awareness of how to best support myself in the future.


By rating each item, you are able to see why the stress may have been worth it. You are able to focus on the positive aspects of each event and realize your control over your experiences. You eliminate being a victim to your life.


Let me give you an example of one of my more benign stressors.

My daughter’s dog needed to come home from college for the weekend to get vaccines. This required a 2 hour drive to get the dog and turn right around to drive the 2 hours back home. Then we got her to the 8 am vet appointment and got to drive back down to school, get some takeout with my daughter and drive home again. 

As an isolated event, this wouldn’t have been too much but as life would have it, it wasn’t an isolated event. It was jammed in with a lot of other events that had us driving all over and not getting a lot of down time. 


And most of us, when faced with the next stressor, use the last one against ourselves. “It will be that much harder because I spent all weekend in the car.”


But when the “0/10 would you do it again?” strategy is applied, the narrative changes.


I rated this a 10/10 and my reasons are as follows. 

  • I want to support my daughter and doing this for her relieved her of the stress of doing it, especially when she is so close to the end of her semester.

  • I wanted to support my husband, he would have done it if I had asked but I didn’t want him to do it alone either. It was better going together.

  • I certainly don’t want the dog to have any health issues and the vaccine couldn’t be put off since it was the second of two and time sensitive.

  • Prioritizing my family is important to me. My house didn’t get cleaned but my priorities were honored.


Was it tiring? Yes.

Could I have gotten a lot of other things done if I didn’t do this? Yes.


But when I was telling myself that, the overwhelm grew. Realizing that I would do it all again didn’t make me less tired but it 100% resolved the overwhelm.


This week was a lot and having repetitive weeks like this would not be sustainable. The key however, is to decrease the stressful stories that our brains come up with so that all we really have to solve for is the physical exhaustion that can result.


If we can let go of the stress by changing the narrative, then getting the physical rest we need is not an uphill battle. We need to calm our nervous systems if we watnt to calm our bodies so they can be restored. We calm our nervous system by releasing stress.


Then, solving for physical fatigue is easy. Sleep. Eat clean. Drink water. Move/exercise. Get outside.


That’s it.


And if you come up with things that rate low on the 0/10 scale, then maybe make a decision to pause before doing it again. If you can’t find reasons why it’s important to you, then let it go.


You don’t have to do all the things, just the ones that are worth it.



P.S. Next Thursday, May 2nd is our next Community Coaching for Nurses event. We will be deconstructing self-care into something actually useful. I hope you can join. Click here to register and I will see you on Thursday at 7pm EST on zoom.

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