There’s an exercise we’ve used for years that helps when one or both of us are stressed. We call it a whiteboard session. Here’s how it works.
We sit at our whiteboard (or computer, pen+paper, etc) and go through these 3 steps:
1. Capture everything on both your minds.
Problems, commitments, questions, todos, frustrations, everything. Just write it all down. This process cultivates awareness of what’s on your mind (often stress can come from knowing there’s a lot of stuff but not being able to get your arms around it). Doing this with a spouse is a great way to increase communication (which is key for great marriages).
2. Organize the list.
Group like things, start to order/prioritize. Is anything urgent? Put that toward the top. Any dependencies? Put those things together. The process of both talking about how to organize is (again) a great way to communicate.
3. Decide how to handle the most pressing things.
Now let’s act. Which items need to get done next? Put them on your calendar or to-do list.
Capture + Organize + Decide
A bonus activity that can help is breaking step 1 into “What’s going well?” followed by “What’s not going well?” This can help by starting things on the positive.
The act of writing down what’s on your mind, being a little more present, and intentionally becoming aware + making meaning + taking action is liberating.