My clients keep saying they’re excited about the new school year and all the activities they and their kids have…
BUT they feel OVERWHELMED!
“I am stressed out. I feel like I am not doing anything well. I am failing at being a good mom, good wife, good teacher, good friend…”
We can all relate to these statements.
Yet, it is possible to manage the stress and overwhelm.
If we don’t, the overwhelm just becomes an indulgent emotion and we end up not doing anything.
“Overwhelm is an indulgent emotion,” means your brain is telling you it’s important to feel overwhelmed and complain about being too busy, when in reality it’s just keeping you stuck.
We procrastinate and find busy work because busy work doesn’t require focus. But it also doesn’t bring fulfillment.
So, here are six steps you can practice to conquer the overwhelm and enjoy life.
1. When you plan your week, schedule your DAILY personal time first. Yes, you read that correctly. Although it sounds counter intuitive, this is what’s going to propel you forward.
When you schedule your DAILY personal time, you will be more productive in your other commitments and responsibilities because your brain has its needed rest time to look forward to.
If you don’t schedule your personal time, you’ll do mindless tasks to avoid the hard tasks and never get to the personal time.
You know what personal time is …taking a bath, reading a book, gardening, going for a walk, sipping tea on the porch with your husband, practicing the violin, painting, quilting,…
2. Practice constraint. That’s hard. We think busy is a badge of honor. It’s not. And it doesn’t bring sanity. Learn to say, “no,” to activities and social invitations when in the long run they compromise your serenity and your commitments to yourself and your family.
3. Recognize you are not a victim of your schedule. You are choosing what you do whether you are aware of it or not. Put your activities on your weekly calendar so you know they all have their place. You are then free to be present and enjoy the moment.
You won’t be worrying about the laundry when you are doing puzzles with the kids, or worrying about spending more time with the kids when you are doing laundry.
When you don’t plan, there is no room for spontaneity because your brain will always be looping on what’s not getting done.
4. Be aware of your thoughts and challenge them when necessary.
“I have too much to do, this is so hard, this requires focus, this is tedious.” Separate the big projects into separate tasks, put them each on your calendar for the week so you can focus on one task at a time. When everything has its place and time, you are free to be present in the moment.
As well, find a thought that will generate passion and desire for accomplishing that tedious or challenging task. If it’s preparing a lesson plan for the class you are teaching, think about about your students and the gift you are giving them through the lesson you prepare.
“I don’t know how to do this, I am not good enough” When you have these thoughts, your brain immediately kicks into gear to prove them true. Practice saying, “I am figuring this out.”
“I am failing at everything. I am not a good wife, I am not a good mother, I am not a good teacher, I am not a good boss…” Really? Is this true? If you are thinking this, you all the more need to schedule your personal time. If you don’t schedule time for yourself, you’ll never be able to show up for your kids, your husband, your students, your employees, your friends.
5. Honor your commitments to yourself and to others.
6. Remember this quote: “God’s strength behind you, His concern for you, His love within you, and His arms beneath you are more than sufficient for the job ahead of you.” –William Arthur Ward
With the infinite number of demands put on us and activities available to us, I recognize replacing overwhelm with fulfillment, satisfaction and enjoyment in life is not easy.
But it is doable. I hope you’ll commit to doing so. You are worth it!
Peace and grace,