Does your brain ever feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, the things you think you need to do, and the things you’ve forgotten that you need to do? Us too. Our solution: write it down.

If there’s one thing that Sunday nights are renowned for, it’s the apprehension of your Monday morning alarm and what the week ahead holds. You might have deadlines that you’re worried you won’t meet or an event that you don’t really want to go to. The weekend is your bubble which is pardoned of weekday-related stress, but Sunday night can feel like the biggest, sharpest needle preparing to pierce a hole. It can feel overwhelming, but it needn’t be. Something as simple as a list can make everything feel so much better – and is a very good excuse to buy a new notebook (as if we needed one). Right now, that might sound silly, but here’s how it can help.

Putting pen to paper, it’s as simple as that. Writing things down can help to curate your thoughts in an orderly fashion. Do you ever picture your brain and see a huge, infinite tangled scribble that represent your thinking? What if, one by one you could untangle them and rearrange them into something that makes sense and looks easier to tackle? That’s exactly what list-making does. Whether you’re simply writing down any thoughts you want to make present or are making a to-do list, seeing them in front of you can make them feel a lot less scary. Ticking them off as you work your way through them can also give you a sense of achievement. You can even make them look fun:

It’s known that writing lists can help various aspects of our lives. Apart from organising our thoughts, it’s recognised to reduce anxiety as well as boosting your brain power and improving your focus. Using lists will help you through your tasks swiftly and offer accomplishment, which in the long run can boost self-esteem. You can even write down things you’ve done that weren’t on your list originally, just to show yourself that you’ve actually completed more than you had initially planned.

Where do we start? Well, grab your favourite notebook (using one you love will make the whole thing so much more enjoyable) and a pen that feels nice to write with. Start with your thoughts – once you’ve engaged with them, then the to-do’s will feel more clear. Write down how you feel, why you feel like that and what you want to do to to increase or decrease it. It’s all about making an achievable plan. It doesn’t need to be done straight away, but writing down that you want to do it is the first step in the right direction.

Once you’ve got all your thoughts off your chest, make a start on your task list for the week. Highlight your top 3 priorities, so you know what you need to do first. Then scribble down everything else. Perhaps give yourself some leeway and indicate the least important that could be carried over to the next week if you don’t get round to them. Writing lists is about working out what you can achieve. There’s no point in listing 20 things to do when you’ve realistically only got time for 12, you’ll just make yourself feel worse in the long run. Tailor it to yourself, your needs, your priorities and your speed, and you’ll get there in the end.

This Sunday evening, grab your notebook and your pen and write down everything your mind is thinking. Even if it’s a simple reminder to just breathe (we all need this once in a while). You’ll be surprised how this activity that we more than likely do regularly can make such a difference when we think about it in a little more depth. Take time for yourself, enjoy your time by yourself and believe that you can confront whatever this week throws at you. We believe in you too!

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight studies and encourage conversation. They are for informational purposes only. Although this article features advice from professionals, we are not medically trained to offer any further advice, and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied on for specific medical advice. If you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and/or depression, please reach out to a medical practitioner for help. If you need extra help, Mind CharityThe Mental Health Foundation and Samaritans all offer immediate help at any time.

Feature image: from Pexels