The to-don’t list.

A list for anyone overwhelmed and stressed.

A list for those of us who worry too much about what we cannot control.

A list for the over-thinkers and the do-gooders.

(A list for me).

1. Don’t play it safe.

Wear the bright red lippy, the yellow dress, the dungarees you think make you look like an overgrown toddler. Clothes are for fun.

2. Don’t compare.

You are beautiful and your life is good. Count blessings, dance in the kitchen. Silence the voice of comparison, it will make your life smaller.

3. Don’t hide.

Let somebody in. The mask will become harder to remove the longer your wear it. Allow yourself to be supported if you need support. One day the friend you lean on now will come to you with their pain because you were honest.

4. Don’t spend time with people who drain your energy.

You are not obligated to fix or help everyone, especially those who repeatedly ask for and then ignore your advice. Vampires of the soul have no place at your table.

5. Don’t forget what you love.

Parenting and busyness can crowd out the knowledge of who you were before life got so full. Make a list. Take time to do the things that make you come alive. Read, dance, crochet, run, be a life model. Be whoever you are.

6. Don’t buy clothes in a smaller size in the hope you will slim into them.

Life is too short to be uncomfortable. Embrace every last inch of your wonderful body.  Loving you is the most attractive thing you can do.

7. Don’t regret.

Firstly, whatever it is has already happened and secondly one day it may well make a hilarious story, or useful cautionary tale.

8. Don’t berate yourself.

If you wouldn’t talk to your pet or friend with those words, don’t use them on yourself. You are too precious and deserve better.

9. Don’t ignore your mental health or your emotions

Both deserve your attention and care. Both are trying to give you important information about the core of who you are.

10. Don’t eat smiley faces or dinosaur shapes for tea all the time.

You deserve good food on your favourite plate sometimes too.

11. Don’t be silent when it hurts.

Vulnerability might feel weird but it is far preferable to sliding further and further into the quicksand of despair. If you need help – ask.

12. Don’t put everyone else first.

It might seem like the easier option, to spend your days trying to please all the other people in your world while ignoring yourself. But it will plant a seed of bitterness and resentment that will grow to make your heart sour. You, and what you want, matters.


Every now and again put down the to-do list and read this list of all the things you don’t have to do.

You got this.

Big love X


Hi, I’m Elli.

I’m a Mother, writer, amateur photographer, tea drinker and over-thinker and I need this list.

I have spent much of the last seven years (since my diagnosis with depression and anxiety) figuring out how to live a life where I am not always stressed about all the things on my to-do list, a life where I prioritise my mental health. It has been a bumpy road but a good journey. I have and continue to learn a great deal.

I have compiled a a week of emails which you can receive from me (for free) full of the things that have helped me most. Each email also comes with an audio download so you can listen to me reading the email to you if you wish. Sign up for these emails in the box below. Join me, as together we learn how to live.


  • Deborah Johnson
    Posted at 15:29h, 29 August Reply

    I love your posts Elli. They really help and encourage me.
    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.
    Debbie J

    • ElliJohnson
      Posted at 15:30h, 29 August Reply

      Thanks Deborah, I appreciate your words xx

  • Jenn Tanaka
    Posted at 20:35h, 01 September Reply

    Such wonderful reminders for us to leave behind the worries and cares of this world and to embrace who God made us to be and what He wants us to experience! I want to post this next to my desk to view EVERY DAY! =)

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