Stress has the tendency to make me extraordinarily forgetful. If I’m in the middle of planning an event (or several) I could be wandering around town with a bunch of strings tied to my fingers and have no recollection of how those strings got there or why they were put there.
Oh look, strings tied to my fingers! Now why did they… hmm.
The mental noise that comes along with trying to herd together an office, an event, a household – a life, really – can be a lot and I’ve had to learn to do two things to keep myself from becoming an untethered trainwreck. First, I’ve had to get in the habit of tracking my thoughts in a centralized location. I used to journal to kinda keep track of thoughts and feelings, but lately it has come to serve a more functional purpose: to serve as an aide-memoire with the laundry list of life.
But secondly, and maybe more importantly, I’ve had to be more forgiving of myself in forgetful moments. I used to beat myself up endlessly if I forgot something, compounding the problem through further stressing me out. Instead, I’ll accept that I’ve forgotten something and become more diligent at documenting what must be done. There are periods of time in life where it becomes endless process BS that can get overwhelming, with endless distractions to pull your eye away. It’s easy to get distracted and become forgetful. Hell, sometimes it feels better to be forgetful.
We’re fallible, though, and we make mistakes. We err. We forget. Instead of beating ourselves up, we need to forgive ourselves and rededicate ourselves to not making that mistake again – to being better.
I feel like this is missing in high-pressure situations frequently – where we feel so many people breathing down our backs and seeing a rapidly diminishing clock. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and feel even increased pressure and watch the clock go by yet faster! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. And the prophecy ends up being told at a very early stage of the game – when we make the decision to either feel the pressure and make the situation worse or to instead let go a little and breathe.
I’ve begun to breathe more recently. It has made quite the difference. I am still forgetful frequently, but I’m operating on such a wide bandwidth that I forgive myself the forgotten names, the mislaid items, and the missed deadlines. I’ll remember the names, find the items, and get the damned things done. Just let me have a breath.