Depression Toolkit #2: One thing at a time


My mind is a machine whirring without the cogs connecting in place. If you ask me what I’m thinking about I actually don’t know. But it is relentlessly busy. So I have been slowing down to see if I can do one thing at a time. Usually it is possible to make a meal or put on washing without multi-tasking other activities. Finish one job and then start the next. Slow down. Don’t even plan too far ahead, just do one thing at a time. Plan an activity, then do it. Not as difficult as I had thought. I can involve the children in an activity, and then leave them to it (so that’s not doing more than one thing – as long as they are suitably involved, which is getting easier as they get a little older and good at playing independently).

Taking out external responsibilities for a season has been enlightening, as I really have freed up an amount of time for just doing things slowly and savouring them and this has been rewarding. My husband is very much a one-thing-at-a-time person, but I feel lost if I don’t have plenty of thoughts and activities boiling over. I am wrong. This is not a healthy way to keep going, especially when I add in a hefty dose of ‘must do’. I used to get satisfaction from the orchestral complexity of all the tunes I was trying to conduct. Now I have blocked all the riffs and melodies (how much washing powder left? what’s for tea tomorrow? are there enough clean cardigans? which rooms need hoovering? are the vouchers still valid? did I lock the door? what cups with lids are clean? when am I next in town? is there enough hay? who haven’t I got back to lately? are the lego pieces muddled? is there an unnoticed answerphone message? did I open all the curtains? is there enough room in the brown bin? do I need to study that paperwork today? what was the Hebrew for that? can I fix that wooden thing? should I wake him yet? has her teacher realised yet? will I be ready for that event? what have I forgotten? what have I forgotten? have I forgotten something? what have I forgotten?)


One thing at a time. Only one. Most things do not need to be held mentally if I can check them readily. Most of my tasks are menial and do not matter if done in an irregular order. So for this season at least I can slow down.

There are seasons for everything, and not all are easy or simple.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


A time to scatter stones?

Might go and try that.


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