1. Get out of your brain (best done alone): Cry, howl, rant, rave, throw things, kick things, and maybe even swear. Write down the unfairness of it all— the pain, the fear —and then burn or shred what you write. This will help you empty the contents of your emotional brain so you can begin to move forward.
2. Go for a run or walk: Exercise helps everything: your body, your mind and your soul. Appreciate the wonders of nature around you. Time in nature is healing.
3. Deal with the basics: Make soups for dinner. They are good for a second meal. Ask family members to help out by taking over dinner responsibilities. No matter the results of their attempts, eat with gratitude and thank them profusely for their support and love. Arrange for other domestic task support.
4. Simplify: Make a list all of your commitments to others. What has to stop? You can’t do it all now. And then, start taking the steps to disconnect yourself from those obligations. It’s hard to face this, but time doesn’t stretch, nor does our energy under stressful times. In the future, you can recommit if you want to.
5. Deal with today: It is critical to use your external executive functioning tools at this point. Use your whiteboard and your day planning sheet to keep track of the essentials. The rest can wait. Crossing things off the list will give your brain a dopamine hit and will help with focus, perseverance, and motivation.
6. Reach out: Use your network to find the help you need.
7. Give to yourself: Journal, practice yoga, and make sure you get to sleep. Find someone who has walked a similar path and then use him or her as a mentor.
8. Practice Letting Go: As we strive to live each day fully, spend a little time sorting through your “treasures”. Which ones will your family value? Which would they consider “junk” to be gotten rid of? Recycle the latter. It will lighten the load.
9. Lean into your faith: Little by little our paths will become clear and we will find the strength, the courage and the commitment to fulfill our life’s purpose.
10. And don’t forget this one: Receive and give as many hugs as you can each day.
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.