My Checklist for Bad Days

September 29, 2008

I’ve written a checklist for bad days because I often misattribute bad feelings to complex things when it is often something quite basic that is amiss. So when I run into trouble that I can’t get rid of or seems to return to me, I go through this checklist. And yes, I’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. My list is just a personal diagnostic. I begin in the order of the most primal.

  1. Love myself. NO! It’s not what you’re thinking. Without self love, even the most mundane can be problematic.
  2. Drink water. It’s better than caffeine.
  3. Eat food. If you want to feel more energetic and not suffer dramatic lows in your day, eat breakfast. I was not a fan of breakfast, but it’s as good as they say.
  4. Pee and poo. Maybe even whiz and crap.
  5. Sleep. Before I finished a round of psychotherapy for depression that saw my eventual ascendancy, I had the most erratic sleep hours. But during the course of going to therapy, and quite organically, I started to adopt an ever more regular sleep schedule.
  6. Shower. I think showering has more to give than just cleanliness. It probably plays a great role in mental health because it’s a source of exclusively private time.
  7. Go outside.
  8. Exercise. I don’t mean rabid gymage. Just walking is good enough. Something to give you the sense you’ve covered territory.
  9. See people.
  10. Talk at length.
  11. Learn something in depth. My health can probably be tied to my book reading.
  12. Improve myself.
  13. Help others improve themselves.

I go through these and discover things like, “Oh! I’m not feeling sad because of an argument with a loved one. It’s because I didn’t poop.” So figuring out the more ambiguous origins of problems can be very relieving. Didn’t think I could sneak a pun in there, did you?

What do people have on their own personal checklists? I’ve left out finding the love of my life and it’s more visceral counterpart, sex. Believe me: I’m working on it.