On Doing What You Can

Recently a therapist on TikTok (Yes, I’m getting all of my life advice from TikTok now) talked about how, if you’re feeling depressed and not wanting to do your nighttime prep routing of washing your face/brushing your teeth/moisturizing…then try to do what you can. She gave examples of keeping some of those disposable toothbrushes that don’t take water or toothpaste, or face wipes/makeup removing clothes next to your bed so that when you crawl into bed you can do something.

I mean, obviously neither of these solutions are great for the environment but her point was: Most tasks that need to/should be done are not all or nothing. Most have in-between options that you can do if you can’t do everything.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and how doing something is better than doing nothing. I have face wipes for that very reason. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but when I’m feeling shitty – it’s a kind gift to myself to be able to wash my face without getting up and going to the bathroom and turning on the water and getting out the soap and a towel and…

You get it.

There are so many things in my life I just don’t do because I can’t do it all the way. Sometimes I blame the perfectionist in me. I’ve zapped most of her to bits over the years (she’s a very difficult person to indulge while also suffering from depression) but she still tends to be there saying, If you can’t do it all the way…what’s the point?

She got in my way a lot in the years when I was obsessing over counting calories and running miles to achieve a specific weight. If I ate one cookie? I would just binge the rest of the day because if I couldn’t be perfect, then I’d be a glutton. Nowadays I can eat a cookie and then still have a salad for dinner. It’s a whole new world.

ANYWAY…my point is, I’ve been looking at a lot of places in my life I can do this. My husband really likes to hang out and watch movies/TV at night. The problem is, I rarely feel like sitting down and investing in a whole TV show or a whole movie so I just do my own thing every night while he watches his shows. But last night I thought, I mean…I could sit down for part of a show. So when I finished the task I was working on, I just got out a seltzer water and sat on the couch and watched his show with him. I drank my seltzer and then when I was done I went and walked my Mom’s dog. I didn’t make a big production of: LET US SIT DOWN AND WATCH SOMETHING TOGETHER! But I also didn’t just avoid him while he watched his thing. I did what I could.

I used to try to set aside “play” time with my dog and sometimes I’ll see him try to incite me to chase him and I’ll think, I’m in the middle of something, and leave him alone. But lately? When I’m walking through the house if I see his ball? I’ll just throw it for him. It doesn’t have to be some sort of 15-minute window of time I set aside, I can just do it when I see the ball and think about it. It is better than nothing.

I’ve always kinda approached “cooking” with this mentality. I hate cooking. Well, I hate most parts of cooking. So a long time ago I just started finding easy skillet meals or one-pot dishes that require scissors to open bags or can-openers and not much else. None of my kids are going to tell their kids how great I was in the kitchen, but I cook something every night and if they don’t want to eat it? They don’t. BUT I HAVE AT LEAST COOKED SOMETHING.

I think it’s a shifting mindset that has been very beneficial to me. I’m still working on it. Today I’m going to try to apply it to my fitness life. If I don’t know if I have time for a big workout video or a long walk…or if I just don’t feel like putting on workout clothes…why can’t I do a 10-minute workout in my pajamas in my house? I’ll keep you posted if I find a good doing what I can improvisation for my fitness life.

Do you have any areas in your life where you apply the DO WHAT YOU CAN method to achieving tasks?

5 thoughts on “On Doing What You Can”

  1. I love this idea. In terms of fitness, the MadFit videos on YouTube have worked great for me during quarantine. They are as short as 3 minutes long and some days that is all I can handle. The dance party ones are actually fun.

  2. I really like Bodyfit by Amy. Lots of different length ones. There’s a 12 minute core strength one I think. So accessible. She also adapts for low impact / high impact and says helpful things like “Do what feels right for you today”. I’m currently pregnant and earlier in pregnancy I used one video in particular of hers. It repeated the set twice and sometimes I’d only do it once through and that was enough. Now I can only waddle though so I go on a walk around my local park and do as many laps as I can.

  3. This whole post resonates with me SO much!!!! It was good for me to read and be reminded. Thank you!!!
    Julie A

  4. It’s Swistle’s idea of “drops in a bucket”. Doing small things that you can handle is better than doing nothing at all. I definitely can only handle small chunks of time right now with my anxiety so high.

  5. You should read the book “Finish.” I’m reading it now and this is pretty much exactly what it’s about! It’s a pretty humorous book too so a fun, easy read.

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