In today’s world, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed. Everywhere you turn, there are urgent tasks to be completed. Your email inbox is full of people clamoring for your attention and resources. It’s no wonder that many people state they need a vacation, but don’t feel comfortable taking one because of the work that they know will pile up in their absence.
Sometimes when we finally do get quiet time, we are nervous because we aren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves. We often feel we are so needed by others that we have become numb to our own needs.
Believing you can do it all is downright dangerous. If you do your best to be there for everyone and do everything, chances are you won’t have the energy to show up for yourself. It is essential that you take the steps to bring yourself back into balance.
It can be downright difficult to figure out what you truly need. The following steps will help you to clear your mind and make decisions that will help bring you back into balance.
1. Assess your feelings. Take a few deep breaths. What are you experiencing that is making you feel out of balance or overwhelmed? What can you do to frame it differently, or to lessen the pressure? Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the problems we have, that it is difficult to focus on solutions.
2. Quiet your environment. On my busy days, I find that taking time to listen to a guided meditation can help me release feelings of stress and gain a more positive perspective.
3. Self-care. Create a regimen of self-care activities that can help you manage stress and recover quickly. For example, going for a run or scheduling a workout class can help you release endorphins, while connecting with nature through a hike or a walk can help you regain perspective.
You may decide to treat yourself to a few services on a biweekly or monthly basis, such as pedicures, massages, or facials, or go out for brunch or other excursions with friends. When you work hard, it’s important to take steps to bring your life into balance.
4. Let go. What can you let go of, just for this moment, or for this day? It is unfair to expect yourself to get everything done at the same time. In fact, by doing so, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Try focusing on one task, and breaking it down to the first small step. As you start to make progress, you will build confidence about tackling the later steps. If you feel stuck, you can also regain your momentum by switching to another task.
5. Delegate. I used to believe that things had to be done by me in order to be done well. Now, I understand that delegating is a sign of maturity and willingness to assess how things can be most effectively done.
Rather than stress out over a recent move that was done on short notice, I hired an organizer who blasted through all of my possessions in a matter of hours, helping me purge and donate items to charity. Build relationships with people you trust and respect who can help to lighten your load, so that you can shine at what you do best.
6. Press the easy button. Review your to-do list: is it realistic? Take one of the activities, and try to figure out a small first step. If you don’t find yourself motivated, ask yourself again why the task is important. Is this still something you are still invested in getting done?
If your answer is yes, what are you willing to do differently to make sure it gets done? Think about how you may be able to approach it from a different angle, perhaps by asking someone who is more experienced for guidance and feedback. If your answer is no, be honest with yourself. Sometimes priorities change, and that’s okay. Recognizing this can help move you into alignment with your true priorities.
I find that each of these tips is helpful to me at different times. As you start to practice them, you will learn which work best for you in various situations. As you find your best approach for dealing with being overwhelmed, you may want to share what you learn with friends and family so they know how to better support you.
As a speaker and coach, Dr. Portia Jackson helps individuals build lives of personal and professional authenticity. She uses lessons from her own journey as a survivor of chronic kidney disease to help others embrace their authentic selves, find balance, and address the perfectionism and limiting beliefs that can keep them from achieving their goals. Portia is slated to speak at G3 Women’s Conference, March 11-13, 2015. For tips from Dr. Portia Jackson on leading with authenticity, visit www.portiajackson.com.