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Why Can't I Relax? (OR Why Do I Feel Guilty If I Don't Stay Busy?) with a FREE Printable!!

Strategies to stop stressing your to do list and start enjoying your life.
Stock image used with permission from NikxStock.deviantART.com
I don't remember the first time I noticed this problem of mine, but honestly it's been getting worse the longer I actually pay attention to it.  I'm not saying that I don't have fun- I do go out with the girls, go to dinner with my DH, and take in a few sports events, etc.  My problem is that even when I make plans to do something, my To-Do list is lurking in the back of my mind, screaming at me, "Why Aren't You Marking Off Things!!"

I'm not sure what to call it, actually.  It's a mix of ADHD, OCD, and crazy(?).  It's really not a fun situation to be in.

Maybe it was the way I was raised (a little bit country, and by a widower where us girls had more responsibility at 10 than most kids now a days have at 20), or maybe it's just the way that I'm wired.  Either way, I just have this uncontrollable need to be DOING SOMETHING!!

I have had numerous conversations with myself about this.  Maybe if my DH did more around the house?  Maybe if I downsized my stuff?  Maybe if I didn't have the fur babies to clean up after?  But, ultimately, the entire issue isn't about any of them.  (I'm pretty sure I was just as bad with one cat, less stuff, and when I was single. LOL) 


So, by now, you either can relate, or think, "This woman is seriously off her rocker."  Hopefully, you can relate but only on a sane small way.  
If you see even a tiny bit of yourself in my issue, here are a few ways that I have learned to deal with the stress of it all.

1.  Block out between 30-60 minutes to do something that you normally view as "wasting time". 
 Honestly, I have to force myself to watch a show on television, read a book, or just calm down.  Even going out to dinner used to make me anxious!  I would sit at the table being very impatient, going over all the things I could have done if we just would have stayed in for the evening.  I'm sure I made a wonderful date. LOL  Actually, I've found that even when relaxing, if I multi-task it seems to help me keep my mind off my to-do list.  Lately it's been watching Hulu and doing my adult coloring books.  It's funny how worrying about watch color should go where in the little details keeps you sooooo focused on that task.  But it works, so that's what I do.

2.  Make a to-do list, but only prioritize and put the top 5- 10 in your daily planner.
I use two planners.  It's about the only way I can forcefully control me stress levels on what needs done in a 24-hour period.  In my big desk planner, I make a to-do list every single night.  I just write down every thing I can possibly see that needs done the next day.  Sometimes it's just silly little things, like, "find black thread", but it's getting it all out and down on paper so that the feeling of forgetting to do something isn't nagging at me.  I then take this "Master" to-do list and prioritize it down into a list I feel comfortable can be completed in the time I have the next day.  I highlight those on the master list, and then transfer them into my Filofax so I don't look at the big list and stress that it's not all done.
Some days I cross off everything I've put in my Filofax and really, really, really want to get out that big list and do just ONE MORE thing.... but it's like potato chips.  I know full well I'm not doing to do ONE and then STOP!  So, I just make myself either relax or catch up on blog reading, email, etc.  It's still technically doing something, but I'm easily distracted by Facebook (I think we all are) so I count that as "down time".

3. Realize that just because YOU see all these things that need done does NOT mean anyone else does.
This is the hardest one for me.  I seem to have this almost super-human ability to notice every tiny little issue; which honestly helps me out at work with quality issues, but at home, a place that I would love to be able to sit and relax once in a while, it's almost a cruel form of torture.  It's not that I want to be able to overlook it all, or that I want my DH to see it the way I do, but sometimes I have to forcefully remind myself that my slight OCD about things isn't his.  He just isn't going to see things that I do all the time.  (There's more emotion on this, but honestly, that's it's own post entirely.)
I just do what absolutely needs to be done, which the subject of contention today is the water bowls for the animals.  We have the fountain kind, just because I find stagnant water to be disturbingly gross, and picture swamps and marshes, etc. (Are you starting to see my drama issue here?)  I honestly don't understand how he cannot hear that horrible, gurgling, slurping noise it makes!!  So, for the sake of being cheap frugal, and not letting the motors burn up and have to replace them, I do it.  (But not happily!)  
You see, this is the one I have the hardest time with.  It annoys me at the least, and infuriates me at the worst.  To the point of long drawn out arguments!!  But honestly, he's never going to see it; I'm never going to stop seeing it, so I have to pick my battles.  Do the things that you know are necessary, and move on.  Oh, and try not to keep score.... walk around singing, "Let It Go" if you have to.  :)

I hope this helps you find ways to deal with your own situation.  It can be truly stressful to be unable to relax at least once in a while.  We as humans need some way to decompress, or else we end up tired, crazy, or a little of both. :)  

Need a to-do list to get you started?  

Here is one similar to what I use... I usually doodle my own as I go.  The key is the list of 5 must-do's (box in upper left) and the bottom box I keep handy to jot down appointments or other important things that really HAVE to go into my planner.  The rest is blank space to just dump all of my thoughts out onto.  I hope you enjoy!! 

Click on the image or here for the PDF file, or here for the JPEG.


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