​At the end of every day, I either jot down or run through a mental checklist.  The things on my final personal Q & A of the day are listed below, but not in any intended order of priority except for the very first one listed below.  That first one is jotting down my short hot priority list for the next day (limited to a doable maximum of 5 things). I like to get that little to do list done before breathing deeply and recalling the day at hand – its gifts, its teachings and all those things that gives us an attitude of gratitude. So here it is:

  • ​I write down a short “hot” list of must do priorities for the next day – ONLY a list though – it’s not the time to overthink or worry about tomorrow’s priorities, but rather to just get a head start on it a bit. I find that one benefit of doing this the night before is that I often wake up with new ideas about how to best tackle things on my day’s priority list.
  • ​I create a list of at least 5 or more things that occured during the day or evening for which I am grateful (an unexpected phone call that brightened my day, a fun laugh shared, unexpected extra time to exercise, read, be creative or whatever). I also go through my permanently, always grateful for list — our family (2 and 4-legged), good health, a home, food on the table and the list goes on – so very many blessings to count.
  • ​I think about how I may have helped others today or somehow brought a smile to someone’s day  — even if with just attentive listening, doing them a favor of some kind, helping them brainstorm solutions needed, a hug (most all of which are virtual these days, of course!), etc. AND – more importantly! If I have to think more than a few seconds to recall how I tried or did help someone out, well—not good and I re-commit to doing a much better tomorrow at looking for ways I can help others (and doing it!).
  • ​I acknowledge and quietly celebrate those priorities I got done and checked off my to do list. Of course, if I did a good job with only including realistically doable priorities on my short hot list the night before, I will have completed all of them, right!? And, I also give myself an imaginary extra pat-on-the-ol’-back for completing these priorities in spite of all the unplanned twists and turns of my day. This can some times even include things that I didn’t have on my list of to do’s for the day.
  • ​I reflect for a few moments about I learned today due to unexpected obstacles or hickups encountered (e.g. how to better avoid them next time, lessons learned, how to better react – or not! – to them next time, etc.)
  • ​I remember once again with appreciation all the folks who brightened my day (with a visit or call, a smile, a compassionate ear, and all the zillion other ways the people crossing our paths can give a bounce to our step, renewed energy to our tired bones) Yes this is a bit redundant (see above), but when it comes to genuine gratitude reminding myself (often) of life’s blessings is a redundantly healthy thing to do.
  • ​And finally – my prayer/meditation moments while taking long, slow, deep breaths, making sure I am truly relaxing literally every inch of my tired body from my head to my toes. Once I have a fully relaxed body (easier some nights than others!), I can give my full atention to concentrating solely on my slooooow, deep breathing. Doing that brings me calmly into the present moment and away from any overactive thoughts trying to grab my attention….slow, deep, focused breathing………..??????

Soooo in wrapping up, please know that this little ritual truly doesn’t take near as long as this lengthy post may make it seem.  It is a gift to myself as it takes me to a peaceful spot and beats the heck out of winding up the day with an overload of things running wildly around in my head.  

What about your end of the day decompressing “tools?” Do they work or need some tweaking perhaps? And, if you want to share some of the things that do work well for you, please let me hear from you in the comment section below. Thanks!

About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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  1. The first one- making a list for tomorrow- I have found super helpful (when I do it!). Somehow the mind works on it overnight and there is some magic that happens- ideas to get those things completed better/faster or better prioritized

    1. That’s true for me, too, Janet – in fact it’s happened lots of times. And, it really is amazing and helpful when it does. Thanks for visiting the blog and adding your 2 cents worth and I hope it’s the first time of many that you do just that!

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