May 12, 2019

The Magic List we Don’t Know we Need.


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A post shared by RACHEL 〰️ business mentor. (@rachelbell) on

Some days I forget.

I forget to eat, drink water, take a break, and look up from the screen.

I forget to take care of myself.

I forget about myself amidst whirring meetings and to-do lists and “oh that one dinner I need to go to.”

I forget that the only way that I will solve problems, help others, and help myself is if I oil my gears and nourish my body.

It seems like a simple task: food, water, sleep, exercise. But, it is one of my greatest challenges.

I find myself more often than not with a depleted battery symbol blinking in my brain and no batteries in sight.

I break down.

In not much time, I resolve that the only way through my breakdown is to keep going, to keep working, and yes, to keep forgetting.

And before I know it, I am wallowing in a dark cave of “how the f*ck do I keep moving forward when nothing is working?” An angry email and rejection letter light up my phone and drag me deeper into the cave. I am discouraged, beat up, and exhausted.

I sit there with a blank stare while I roll around on the floor like a four-year-old trying to understand an instruction manual written in Beowulf Old English.

It is right about then that I need to remember where the escape hatch is on the back of the cave, but I rarely do—until I found this list.

I was shamelessly scrolling through Instagram when I found this put-me-back-together list created by Rachel Bell.

This list keeps me moving forward on some of the toughest days. It keeps me from waking up deeply entrenched in my breakdown cave, and I want to shout it from the mountaintops so everyone can get their hands on it.

I can’t get to the top of a mountain, but this will do.


Base Needs:

>> Did you sleep well last night?

>> Are you hydrated?

>> Have you breathed deeply?

>> Have you been eating foods that support your cognition?

>> When’s the last time you connected with someone who loves you?

>> Take a cold shower for 45 seconds.



>> Is this problem outside or inside your control? 

>> What do you feel?

>> What do you want to feel instead?

>> What do you believe is stopping you from having that feeling now? 



>> Ask yourself: “Who or what am I blaming? Am I playing the victim?”

>> Ask yourself: “What lesson is life trying to teach me?”

>> Imagine yourself 10 years in the future. The ultimate, mature, wise, experienced, and “knowing” version of you. This is your higher self. Ask them what they would do if they were in your position. Write it down.


Action Therapy:

>> Complete one small task that you’ve been putting off or avoiding.

>> Reward yourself with self-care and learning. This will give you a dose of grounded perspective.



“Above all else…Remember that the breakdown always comes right before the breakTHROUGH.” ~ Rachel Bell 




author: Michelle Gean

Image: @Rachelbell

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Ena Garrido Aug 2, 2019 2:34pm

I love this! this week I’ve been coming back to those clarification questions. Things really can keep moving if we remember to focus on what we can control….

Linda Lewis May 13, 2019 7:23am

I appreciate all the suggestions except the 45 second cold shower! I prefer a hot bath w/ baking soda–so relaxing. But in Nepal or places and times w/ no hot water, yes, a 45 second shower is better than not showering or bathing at all–and is so “refreshing”! Brrrrrrr!

Alexandra May 12, 2019 9:09am

Yes!! Thank you for this. Sometimes I feel like my wheels are just spinning on ice. This is helpful for grounding myself and resetting when I feel lost or overwhelmed.

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Michelle Gean

Michelle Gean relishes the tapping noise her keyboard makes when writing or editing for Elephant Journal. As an engineer turned writer, she finds refuge in both numbers and words. When asked where she is from, she generally stares off, slightly confused and unable to answer that question. With family spread across the world, she has finally found her home in Boulder, CO. To connect with her or follow more of her life’s wanderings, leave a comment in the section above or follow her on Instagram.